Thursday, January 22, 2015

O SCORES, WHERE ART THOU?



Boasters League round 3~~

If I was Captain Kirk, I’d be sending out a probe into the expanse to search for any signs completed squash matches. And Mr. Spock would be looking into his tricorder, or whatever that device of his is, and be explaining, “indicators negative at this time…” Typically, the second half of the season does see a small drop matches being played, but this is almost reaching critical levels. To give you an idea, the current league leaders – “Space Geckos” – have 70 points. By the third round in the first half of the season, six teams had at least 70 points.

So. Everybody needs to start pushing and make a huge effort to get back on track. We are already 3 weeks in and only have 6 weeks to go, and by March 4 you will be wondering where the time went. I suppose one of the biggest surprises so far on the standing are the “Butter Nutz” who find themselves in 5th position and will be even lower by the end of week 4 since they have the ‘bye’.

Closest match of round 3 goes to Joey Gaylord (“Wardogs”) and Alan Howard (“The Nicker Ballers”). Literally nothing separated the two as the match came down to the final rally in the third game. With the look of relief on both the players’ faces as they walked off, it was impossible to tell who had actually won. Joey – it turned out – had taken the 3rd 15-14.

Paul Van Tol (“Nick at Night”) kept one step ahead of Jay Poplawski (“Space Geckos”) and played a few too many short angles to take the 2-1 victory; DJ Boyd (“Butter Nutz”) managed to snag a game off the veteran Tom Fabbri (“Winky-Dinks”) before succumbing 1-2; and Robert Welch (“Winky-Dinks”)  proved a little too steady for Glen Milligan (“Butter Nutz”) in his 2-1 triumph.

With New Years and the Dividend out of the way, there are no more excuses for Wednesday night absences. You cannot wait any longer to get playing otherwise you will run out of time. Your team is relying on you. What I’d like to hear from everybody in a couple of weeks should be similar to Engineer Scotty… “I can’t push it any harder, I’m goin’ to blow!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

CARS V RACQUETS



Boasters League round 2~~

Its Auto Show week in Detroit and one would think when driving into the DAC parking structure and not finding an open spot until level 5, that the club would be stuffed full of members climbing over each other to use the athletic facilities and courts. However, it has been a relatively quiet week on both fronts, and the league last night was no exception. The allure of what’s new on four wheels has been too good to pass up. Cars – 1. Racquets – 0.

Few matches were completed last night. And the most bonus points any team picked up was only 9. Five teams picked up more than that last week. “Space Geckos” have extended their lead on top of the standings ever so slightly, but with not many matches completed across the board, I wouldn’t be reading terribly much into that. The first couple of weeks have been rather slack, it is taking time for people to get their motors running and get back into the swing of things.

Of the matches that were played yesterday, many of them were worthy of mentioning. Josh Slominski (“Space Geckos”) took on Mike LoVasco (“Butter Nutz”) and we witnessed a very high quality game. Mike scrambles very well and extends the rallies beyond what his opponents expect (or certainly want). Josh, however, was up to the task and consistently hit a fine width and length. That was the difference: long, hard rallies, ending with an excellent tight rail or crosscourt. Josh 2, Mike 1.

Rivals JC Tibbitts (“Winky-Dinks”) and John Mann (“Vivio’s”) were once again at it. John has had JC’s number when their match has meaning – i.e. a league or box match. After splitting the first two games, and determined to break the trend (or ‘curse’?!) JC found an extra gear in the third. He moved John around just enough to end the streak, but it certainly wasn’t easy. Breathing heavily, JC took the match 2-1.

Also gulping for air after the match (and dripping in sweat!) was Han Peng (“Foss Nation”) who almost snatched a win from Jeff Gierlach (“The Nicker Ballers”) but he fell a couple of points short to go down 2-1. John Hanley (“Mongoose”) had his work cut out for him against Dino Ricci (“Nick at Night”) as he tried to get his first win against him in his third attempt. Unfortunately, today wasn’t the day; Dino took the match 2-1 but admitted afterwards it was a tough contest.

Round 3 is also the “Meet the Candidates” night for the DAC elections. Matches are only scheduled from 4.30pm – 7pm, the rest of you will be self-scheduled. So make sure you get with your opponent (and in many cases, your week 1 and 2 opponents as well), and get on court.

Monday, January 12, 2015

FARRIS CUP TURNAROUND



Farris Cup 2015

The DAC team hardly needed any motivation to perform well in the 11th Annual Farris Cup against the Birmingham Athletic Club. Just about all of us know how the previous four attempts have ended... very, very badly. It wasn’t only our representatives themselves that were quietly  hunting for blood, but our other members and supporters also anxious to spoon feed the BAC a truck load of their bitter medicine they have been drenching us in.

Home court advantage is very helpful. When one feels comfortable in the surroundings, inspired by friends and family, it can fire you up and help you push extra hard for the team. It was terrific to see a large contingent of members come down and support the players. It was a great atmosphere, and we thank you for that!

Josh Gershonowicz and Robert Moll
We started off the day superbly. I wasn’t sure who I was watching in the first match of the day, but it looked like Tom MacEachern. Typically, Tom is recognized more for his strong hitting than his finesse. But his controlled half-paced length set up perfectly his controlled, soft-paced drops and Derrick Glencer couldn’t figure out a way to counter it,  and the more he tried, the more stressed he looked, the more errors ensued. Tom ‘caressed’ his way to a 3-0 win. Next door, Josh Gershonowicz was giving Robert Moll the business. Rallies were long and both of them hustled well, but it was clear the work affected Robert a lot more. He simply couldn’t keep up the intensity and Josh also walked off the court with a 3-0 victory.

The DAC would only take one more 3-0 singles win for the day. Chris Van Tol won the first game against Jeff Gembis (who was representing the BAC on this day) and was leading 8-6 in the second when Jeff tweaked his hamstring and had to retire. No one likes to win that way, and we hope Jeff gets back to health quickly.

Jason Currie had his work cut out against the devious Marc Lakin. Marc is very experienced and can read the play well, pushing the ball corner to corner. Jason had to rely on some powerful strokes to make it difficult for Marc to control his shots and it was a tactic that paid off. Leading 2 games to 1 and 9-7 in the 4th, Jason hammered 2 consecutive serves into the side wall nick. There was nothing Marc could do but watch them roll.

Claude Mencotti and Brien Baker
I had warned Brien Baker about his opponent - Claude Mencotti. Another highly experienced player, Claude is as clever as they come. Last year, he pushed Derek Aguirre all the way before succumbing in 4 games. I told Brien to use his angles. He loves to boast, so I encouraged him to boast away. The first 2 games were over in a flash, and Brien even said afterwards, “I wouldn’t have wanted to play me either”. Meaning that he had the ball on a string and could not hit an error even if he tried. But Claude clawed (!?!) his way back and started to hit tighter and move up. He took the third and had Brien suddenly doubting himself. The fourth went point for point for the first half, until Brien found his stride once again and cleaned up the rest.

Comeback of the day went to Scott Langenburg. Scott won the 3.5 club championship final in 5 games after being 0-2 down and he would repeat that feat against John Kello on this day. Once again finding himself 2 games down, Scott changed his game plan going into the third and with improved length he started to take better advantage of the front corners. Suddenly, John found himself playing from behind and struggled to reach many of the short angles that were now coming his way. It was a great 3-2 win for the DAC!

The closest match of the day was between Sante Fratarcangeli and Mark Miller. Usually, Sante would be making headlines for his eye-opening threads, but today he was all business. Mark, however, steamrolled him in the first and it looked like it wasn’t to be Sante’s day. But with all the matches and hard work Sante has been putting in, he’s learned to mentally toughen up and when the second game had started, the battle was on! Watching the end of the 5th game, both players still looked fit. Solid hitting from both was only interrupted by the occasional unforced error - mainly from Mark’s racquet. At that stage of the match, such errors are hugely costly. Sante remained steady and earned the fifth 11-8.

Teams Captains: Tom Walbridge and Peter Logan
There were many results to rave as well: Jay Bonahoom; John Mann; Ryan Covell; Peter Logan - all of them consistent and disciplined enough to clinch 3-1 victories. With the 11 singles victories in the bag, the DAC team managed to do the improbable - win back the Farris Cup! A decisive triumph in every sense of the word, and one that the DAC should cherish and enjoy. We didn’t win all the matches, of course, and although we can be proud of our achievement, let’s not get too carried away. We do need to take our hats off to the BAC. They have had our number for 4 years straight and we can expect a closer outing in 2016.

Nevertheless, it is nice - if not a little wickedly satisfying - to rub some salt into the wound. The DAC also won 2 of the 3 doubles matches on the day, something that we haven’t done since 2004. John Dunwoody and Bob Burton avenged their 2014 loss with a well thought out 3-1 victory and Bill Oddo and Rich Stimson proved too strong for Nick and Tom Post. We almost pulled out all 3 of them, but Jon Uffelman is one tough nut to crack. Partnered with Kurt Streng, they beat Kirk Haggarty and Mike Eugenio 3-1 (15-14 in the 4th)... we would have liked to have seen a 5th!

The final score line of 13 matches to 4 is convincing. It could have been a lot closer, but it was excellent and encouraging to see (for a change) that our players were actually winning the very tough, tight matches. The BAC were very gracious and admirable in defeat. We look forward to their challenge in 2016 when they will host the event next January. Make plans to come out and support the DAC team that day so that they think we still have the home court advantage!



Thursday, January 8, 2015

ALL OFF TO AN EQUAL START



Boasters League round 1~~

New Year. New Teams. New Start. New Hopes. Same standings leader… “Space Geckos” have somehow ended up with the first week honors and sit pretty in bold red lettering atop the standings. Albeit by only 3 points, but one wouldn’t argue it’s nice to see one’s self on top of the pile. The fact that all the other teams are very close behind is – after one round – immaterial. However, it is rather strange to see “Butter Nutz” all the way down in 6th position. I don’t expect that to last long.

The evening started off extremely slow. I wondered if anybody had received the e-mail about the start of the league, but sure enough things picked up significantly and we did end up with an acceptable amount of matches for a first week of play. All the teams picked up at least 7 bonus points, with “Nick at Night” collecting a week’s best 12.

A couple of new faces for the second half saw the return of Robert Welch (“Wink-Dinks”). Robert was extremely active in the squash program until he left for the fantasy land of San Francisco for a couple of years before he decided that Detroit’s weather and scenery were too good not to enjoy and he returned. His comeback match was a triumphant 2-1 victory over the wily Drew Creamer (“Nick at Night”), and he then pulled out his throw-back weapon of the 1950’s – a wooden Grays’s Cambridge squash racquet  - complete with the original gut string – that should be in a museum. It certainly turned heads.

Foss Nation” and “Wardogs” had 5 matches with a 2-1 score line, “Foss Nation” won 4 of them – this time. I think all players are acutely aware that such results could very easily be reversed. Marc Topacio (“Space Geckos”) was bumped up 3 spots for the second half. He proved that he deserved the advancement with a tough 2-1 win over Anthony Kalorgeridis (“Vivio’s”).

As is always the case, all teams already have a handful of matches they can make up. And, as always, I suggest you all start to organize them now. March will be here before you realize.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

SQUASH SHOTS XVII



The “Mickies” Awards for 2014

Roll out the red carpet! It’s that time of year to celebrate and recognize those who have craved the fame, deservedly put themselves into the spotlight (or not), and done their utmost to stand out amongst their peers for all the finger-pointing and snickering they’ll receive for days – if not weeks – to come! What motivates these individuals to reach the stratosphere of “Kim-Kardashian-esque” notoriety is beyond me, but let’s all be thankful that at least we aren’t actually gawking at Kim Kardashian herself! Stand up and appreciate the 2014 “Mickies”!


The “Don’t Mess With the Zohan” award goes to… Jon Dengel!

Mike McCuish found himself on the receiving end of a blitz attack! Ninja like and out of nowhere, through pure instinct, Jon Dengel lashed out at Mike during their Holiday Tournament match – since he was getting pasted – and gave Mike a reminder of who the real ‘man’ on court really was. So quick and calculated was the strike that even Mike’s goggles didn’t provide any protection. Mike, however, laughed it off, took it in stride (and the face)  and he still took the match. Jon, on the other hand, has been seen spending a lot of time muttering to himself while he treats the side of his racquet with a sharpening stone… something about a “re-match”?
 

The “Saturday Night Fever” award goes to… Matt DiDio! 

All I can say is “Oh. My. God.” Platform boots and all. I stand up and applaud simply based on effort if nothing else. One wouldn’t even recognize who the Travolta wannabe is! Matt has outdone himself this year for his (turning-into-a-tradition) Halloween get-up. It looks like he has the hip shaking moves down pretty well, and for the first time ever he has actually listened to his squash pro and has his racquet up! If only that ‘belly-dancing’ rhythmic movement he generates with his torso so naturally would translate to his back and front corner lunges. His playing partner that day – behind the killer clown mask  - is none other than Manny Tancer… I have no idea what Manny is trying to portray here, but it’s just… wrong!


The “Star Spangled Banner” award goes to… the April 2014 Cross Border Team!

“Oh, say! can you see by the dawn's early light...”  Stand up and be proud America! If it has the US colors on it, no matter how horribly ugly the garment, you will wear it with dignity! Nothing screams “patriotism” more than a sleeveless shirt more befitting Jim-Bob from southern Mississippi who lives in his caravan on the edge of a swamp shacking up with his half-sister-in-law-cousin Mary-Sue. Of course add on Sante’s Rocky Balboa shorts in the mix and it looks like someone swallowed a flag and puked it up over everybody. I’m surprised no one actually mistook him for a flag and accidentally strung him up at the top of a flag pole. Classy. Very classy.


The “Sweet Dreams” award goes to… Bob Rogers! 

Why is Bob smiling so fiercely? Is it possible for anyone to be any happier? Is it because he’s comfortable leaning against Mark Monaghan shoulder and dreaming of all the good times the two have been having? Or will have?  Like Bob, Mark is also renowned for putting his body on the line during a squash match with his reckless diving. Maybe Bob thinks he has found his perfect match? Mark spends more time laying on the court floor than standing on it and Bob spends much of his time jumping into the walls. Maybe they’ll start a bounce-house business together? Ah! The possibilities… either way we wish the pair a great future…



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