Sunday, May 17, 2015

24 Hour Squashathon...... done

     When the junior committee first talked about doing a 24 hour squashathon, I thought ok, cool idea but is it really that hard?  After all, some of our tournaments already feel like that.  As I was nursing my sore back and legs from watching Graeme play opponent after opponent I realized just how long 24 hours can be.  Was I expected to sit here for 24 hours???  If you think of all the things you can do in 24 hours, I bet no one had playing squash with 32 people on their list.  I really don't know where to begin with this post so I'll start with Friday night....


The highest bidder for the foot
massage is.... Victoria
   Graeme kicked off his 24 hours at 4:00pm playing long time club supporter Nick Dimitrijevic.  When I showed up at 4:30, I was a little concerned at the amount of sweat that Graeme already had going.  At his first break at 7:00, a foot bath and foot massage (that was auctioned off to the highest bidder) was required.  Unfortunately, the juniors also started out with loads of energy, as many were already on the court at 4:00 playing 3/4 court (more on that later).  To add to the Friday night activities, Dave ran a handicap tournament for the juniors.  With most of the juniors playing, it ran a little longer than planned.  However, the final was worth the wait as Kabir and Maxi overcame their handicaps (scores) to meet each other in a very entertaining final.  Kabir continued his strong play (no Al, it has nothing to do with you "mentorship") and defeated a much-improved Maxi Bistrev.
     Thanks to the many people who hung around late into the evening and created a very festive atmosphere.

Saturday Wee Hours

Carol and Emily dancing the
night away
   When I say morning, I mean after midnight.  A surprising number of people were still around and the juniors were still going.  I thought we were clear when we said they were to play in shifts and not continuous.  Victoria, Erika and Tara busted out the tunes and the festivities continued on.  We finally had to tell Carol that the event ended at midnight and we were all going home just to get her to stop dancing.
     However, as people left, things began slowing down.  It was perfect timing for the the Chatham crew to show and liven things up :).  The next thing you know I was in a game of 3/4 quarter with 10 people at 2 am.  Now the problem became that the juniors were now tiring but we still needed to have some of them on the court in the wee hours of the morning.  We insisted that some of the juniors got some rest and forced some of them to stay on.  As the nighttime crawled by the energy level slowly dropped causing me to maybe fall asleep in a quiet, dark corner of the building.  Mary Pat, Victoria, Erika and Tara kept the show rolling by getting the juniors out of bed and on the court and seeing the Chatham guys off around 5am.

Andrew & Erika DallaBona
   A squash event just wouldn't be a squash event without the DallaBona's showing up in some kind of crazy attire.  I often wonder where they find these things.  Andrew and Erika dressed up as Fred Flinstone and Wilma.  While I didn't see Fred play, I hope he didn't use a stone racquet but the way Andrew plays, it might have helped.  
     I am not a morning person and it amazed me to see how many people that were willing to come out and play Graeme at what I consider a horrid time slot.  Your participation really helped us and got us through a difficult time.  A special thank you to the Chatham group who really went out of their way to help us out.

Saturday Morning

     By the time I returned to the fold at 6am, energy was at an all-time low.  The women were tired, the juniors were barely moving and setting a record for complaints in a 24-hr period.  Then came in the Moceri's.  At first I thought that John was having some intestinal issues until I realized he was going to keep Graeme going with his "fart app" (no endorsement here).  Little did John know but Graeme had his own version of the app, only this one actually created an odour.  The energy level slowly began to rise as people began to filter into the club.  I just feel bad for that poor member who showed up at 6am thinking he would be the first into the club and get a nice quiet workout.  There was nothing quiet about 6am.
    And so began the club waking up and as people started filtering in, everyone's mood lightened (except for the kids sleeping on the doubles court that had to leave because of a 9am scheduled match).  Graeme began hitting nicks again (not that many really) and the juniors began to repopulate the courts.  Before you knew it, we were starting the Adult/Junior doubles tournament and heading into our last few matches against Graeme.

Saturday Afternoon

      For the Adult/Junior Doubles Tournament, adults and juniors were randomly paired with each other and playing a one match knockout to the finals.  The rallies were long and the matches were incredibly close.  Many matches went the distance and in the end, the team of Marcy Porter/A-a-ron Nagy defeated Arthur Nagy/Amin Khan.
 DJ Thor was spinning the tunes to help Graeme and the juniors to the finish line.  Or maybe Victoria really hired DJ Thor because she didn't feel like taking Maisy to dance and instead had Maisy dance at the club (see photos).  Whatever the case, the excitement was building as Graeme was approaching the end of his 24 hours.  And what could be better than getting to play with his wife in one of the last time slots of the day.  Oh, and Kathy Moceri too.   Hmmmm......
   David Bshouty decided that he would contribute to the cause by riding a stationary bike next to the court for the last 4 hours of the event all while collecting donations.  Thanks Dave!  With all this going on,
     At 3:59:50, the countdown began and Graeme completed his 24 hours with his best shot of the day (literally), a cross court nick that Nick Matthew wouldn't have got.

Thank you's

     In the end it was great to see the support for Graeme and his junior program.  The amount of people that supported in one way or another (not just this event) really shows the community-mindedness (is that a word?  I teach math) of the squash club.  I know that our juniors are very appreciative and it is great to see the way that they interact with all the squash members because that is really what it is all about, creating solid citizens.
"It is done, can't wait to do it again!"
     Of course this event couldn't have happened without Victoria who organized a lot of this.  Without her we all agree that Graeme would be lost.  Thanks to Erika DallaBona (a new addition to the team) who arranged for our food, Graeme's food, music, keeping things on track, highlighting, and for the personal entertainment.   Thanks to Tara Jankuloski and Mary Pat Scarfone (she just refuses to take my name and I blame it on Dave) who kept the juniors on track throughout the 24 hours and assisted wherever possible.
    After watching a ton of squash this weekend, I am positive that I saw significant improvements in some of our players over the 24 hours.  Which makes me think about how many balls do you actually hit in a 24 hour event (great math question.... Phil/Matt).  Even Graeme was busting out some new shots that I had never seen.  I really think that we may be onto something here and I could have swore I heard him talking about making this a monthly event........
     Here is a folder that contains pictures from this event.  It is public so please upload any photos you have here, although you may need a gmail account.  If you don't you can email me.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Save the Date- Golf

      Because so many people are inquiring, the date for the Second Annual WSF-Junior Golf outing has been set.  Plus, I heard that a certain team is planning practice sessions all summer to retain their lucky year one title.
      I hate to disappoint all of you that were looking forward to golfing again in arctic temperatures but the date has been moved up significantly.  This year's outing will take place on Sunday, September 20th.   And I have been able to secure a shotgun start.  Mark it on your calendars.  Details to follow.

Club Championships 2015

Last Saturday saw the conclusion of the 2015 WSF Club Championships.  Over 60 entries were received across all the events as memebrs battled it out to be crowned Club Champion in their respective Divisions.

A Event:

The final saw the past 2 winners, David Mill and Mark Eugeni battling it out.  The first 2 games were shared but David then took the next 2 to record a 3-1 win.  Mark is the most successful player in terms of Club Championships won and beating him is never easy.  It was a shame more people were not around to watch this high quality match.

B Event:

There were lots of Juniors present in the B draw all looking to make there mark this year.  Barry Leavitt was the top seed with Doug Fields looking to make a charge from the bottom of the draw.  As always seeding meant nothing and the early round saw lots of upsets.  Toby Scott battled through to the semi finals where he would face Kabir Bhangoo and Barry Leavitt and Anis Khan made up the other semi final which was a repeat of the final 2 years ago.  Anis defeated Barry before Kabir held his nerve to put an end to Toby's impressive run 3-1.
  Kabir started well in the final before Anis's experience carried him through to a close 3-1 victory.  Congratulations to Anis!

C Event:

Trevor Charles was the favorite for this event and he made comfortable progress through to the final.   In the bottom half Sam Habib and Hannah Guthrie made it through to the semi final.  This match was probably the match of the tournament as Hannah played some of her best squash to push Sam all the way.  Sam eventually won 3-2 but Hannah should be proud of her efforts and she now looks like a genuine A player.  In the Final Trevor's  court awareness clever ball placement was the difference as he took the spoils to be crowned C Champion.

Woman's Event:

It was great to see so many entires in the Woman's event this year and I hope this division continues to grow.  Two of our up and coming juniors battled through to the final.  Mackenzie Elliott and Hannah Guthrie then played a match of the highest order which attracted various compliments from audience members and passers by.  Hannah won in 4 tight games but both should be proud of the progress they have made this year and the way they played the game with minimal interference and few lets.

40+ Event:

A competitive field started the event with many players having a genuine chance of going all the way.      In the end the top 2 seeds Al Valente and Dave Guthrie battled through to meet in the final.  In a one sided affair Dave Guthrie took the spoils although Mike Wilbur mentioned he had beaten Rod Larson (Dave defeated Rod 3-2 in the semi finals) 3-1 last time they played so he has a real claim to the title. Well done Dave!

Junior Event:

Number 1 seed Aaaron Nagy dropped out with injury before the event started which was a shame and we wish him all the best with his recovery.  The quality of squash throughout was a joy to watch and I get so much satisfaction watching these guys develop and grow on the squash court.  Kabir Bhangoo and Niki Bistrev fought through to the final and what a final it was!  In easily the best performance from Niki this year he really took the game to Kabir playing at a pace I have been pushing him to adopt for a long time!  Indeed it took Kabir by surprise and he found himself 2-0 down before mounting a superb come back to tie things up 2-2.  In the 5th Niki got off to a great start and held onto take the match 3-2.  Again the game was played in a fantastic spirit with few interruptions and both players playing through interference and playing the ball which is great to see.

A Doubles:

Mark Eugeni and Mike McKitterick took on Paul Gebrael and Nik Dimitrijevic in the final.  The current holders took the first before Paul and Nik fought back to square things up.  The next 2 were close all the way through but Mark and Mike found the winners when they needed them and ran out 3-1 winner to retain last years title.

Mixed Doubles:

After a few withdrawals we had one semi final between Dan Petoran and Grace Kim against Adam and Renka Gesing.  The Gesing's showed there greater experience to progress to a final against Doug Fields and Deb McMahon.  Doug and Deb won 3-0 but Adam and Renka put up a good fight in all games and Adam told me he was happy they competed!

The rest of the doubles events are still to be completed.

Friday, May 1, 2015

24 Hour Squashathon

      You may, or may not, have heard about the upcoming Junior Squash Fundraiser.  Beginning Friday, May 15th at 4:00 pm (or 16:00 as Graeme would say), Graeme will be playing squash for 24 straight hours.  You can sign up here to book in your time slot (1/2 hour).  We are asking you make a donation for your 1/2 hour time.   We do need to fill all the slots so any of you night owls that feel like playing squash at 3 am, please sign up.
     While Graeme is on court, our juniors will also be attempting to have players on the court for 24 hours, however, they will be doing it in shifts.  The juniors are going out and getting their own pledges.
      On Saturday morning, the juniors not playing will be conducting a car wash out in the parking lot.  
     To make this a more club social and festive atmosphere, there will something going on for the entire 24 hours, including music, food, rounds of lightning squash, and a doubles tournament.  Here is a list of the events.  
     The doubles tournament will be run Calcutta style.  Sign up sheet is here.  If you wish to play, you sign up as an individual ($5/player) and you will bid on what junior you would like to play with.  Should you win the tournament, you will be half of the total purse.
     To date the funds raised to assist our juniors has been a tremendous success.  Your continued support of this program will be instrumental in supporting the continuation and expansion of our existing programs.  As well, half of the proceeds from this event will be committed to a family involved in our program who have recently experienced a significant loss.