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Starting slowly again after Jason's birth. I got a message from Tom that he and Bill finally played for first in A's over at New York Sports Club in East Brunswick. Tom won in straight games 9 and 11. Hope to get them the trophies soon, but maybe by the start of the next tournament. No dates yet. Actually was updating my son's pictures and thought oh yeah racquetball. I used to play that. Just kidding.
05/06/05 Abe Pollak takes 3rd in three
Anyway both guys came to play with Abe taking game 1. Followed by a dominating game by Joel in game 2. In the tie-breaker they both were taking "Bill" time-outs.
Think the tie-breaker was a more defensive game and Abe won the match off an unforced error from Joel with a risky kill shot from deep in the court. I couldn't see a couple of short serves and blatantly missed some serves I was in clear view of. Leigh Marshall was watching and knocked on the glass to double check some calls.
Abe reminded me that last night was it for the finals, but Tom was still in Florida, so they have until Monday to wrap things up. Tuesday is our league party. My wife's due date is 5/10/05 and she'll be induced next weekend if nothing happens. Bill was there last night and has more trips planned, so the pendulum is over Tom. Never thought I'll give out a first place trophy by default. Wrap it up guys.
04/27/05 Determined Holerca takes 1st in B's
Anyway back to the game and sorry for the preamble. So I was talking with the guys and I'm waiting and waiting for Alex to come off the court with game 2 pocketed. After several minutes and rallies. I decide to take a peek in time to see Alex hit one of his attrition shots when Nick was very deep and I see Nick go down to the ground in a lot of pain. So much pain that I go out and get my wife thinking she might be needed. After my wife, nine months pregnant, gave Nick a lot of advice he probably did not want to hear. Nick wrapped up his foot, put ice on it, and was ready to resume play at 14-14 with Alex serving.
Nick returns the serve and gets the critical side-out. Nick served and during the rally I believe Alex failed to return a shot that jammed him off the back wall? I'm very sketchy with the details. Nick limped off the court and with a bag of ice on his foot accepted first place. Congratulations guys! Happy I was around to witness such a dramatic finish. Nick asked who I bet on to win, I didn't make a bet with anyone and I was so busy with everything...I honestly didn't even give it a thought. I spent most of the day in a fog and it felt like I haven't seen the club in years.
Nick better take care of yourself and I still owe you an orange Gatorade. A lot of people are going to be gunning to beat you next go around and you need to walk down the aisle when you're married in June. Ignacio already said just to put his name on the next B's trophy. Of course there's also Silas who's damn hungry for one as well.
04/22/05 Awesome A Semi-Final A. Pollak vs. Sjaastad
There was also a party going on in the basketball courts so there was a lot of students around and the same repetitive music going on. I had maxed out my guests since some unexpected people showed up. Thanks to some guy I know and Chris Jacquet I was able to get everyone in for the finals.
Marv Schuldiner was watching the game and being kind of a line judge for me. He was positioned to cover the left side of the court. Anyway Marv had the idea to track unforced errors. An unforced error defined by CBS Sportsline as a miss hit while under no pressure from your opponent. Anyway so started to tick off errors and this is far from accurate. Game 1 Abe 0 errors. Bill 7 errors. Game 2 Abe 7 errors. Bill 8 errors. Game 3 Abe=1 and Bill=7. Eventually Joel and Tom finished their match and were spectators. Tom adding his own color commentary on shot selection and started to preach a little--just kidding Tom.
Anyway Abe game out of the gate and took game 1 15-11. His serves to Bill's backhand were working. Game 2 Abe ran another lead and I believe had match point on a couple of occasions, but Bill fought his way back and closed out game 2 15-14.
Game 3 it was neck and neck for a while with a lot more conservative play from both players, but still considerable errors. A lot of back wall setups were given to Abe by Bill and maybe Abe could have been more aggressive on putting them away, especially according to Tom. Also a good number of shots went to Bill's wheelhouse (forehand about waist high or lower.) Everyone looked at me like I had two heads because I didn't know what a "wheelhouse" was. Hey it's a baseball term, not racquetball. Anyway learn something new everyday.
Ultimately Bill advanced to the finals with (11), 14, and 7. It was a great game to watch and took about an hour and a half to complete. In the third game, I had to start cracking down on durations of timeouts since it was clearly being abused. Tom corrected me that there's only two timeouts in a tie-breaker. I need a less crowded ref sheet.
I had told Ignacio Esteban that one game to watch was Joel Greengarten vs. Tom Baldinger. In league play, it was a three game battle with one point separating them in the end. I didn't get to see any of the match since I was ref'ing Abe and Bill, but in comparison it was over pretty quick. Tom commented that Joel wasn't into game 1 and lost 15-5. Second game Tom pressed the advantage and won a close second game 15-14. Baldinger advanced 5 and 14.
Bill is going on vacation today, so 1st place finals will need to wait a week. Already gave Bill hell a couple of times this week, so I hope he has a nice and safe vacation. We'll see if my baby can wait in the womb until his expected due date 5/10/05. Got the feeling he's coming sooner despite my 5/18 prediction.
04/20/05 C's Complete! Ajay Singh takes first place!
For First in C's, it was a battle between two power players Ajay Singh (undefeated) and Miten Bhat. I was refereeing another match when I heard the sounds coming out of the court. All I can say the ball was under distress. From my glances at the match it wasn't finesse, positioning, or even shot selection that won the match. It was a pure power game and who could move forward and retrieve a variety of shots coming off the back wall more often. Ajay Singh (at right) took first (14), 9, and 2. Miten Bhat (middle) took 2nd. Congratulations guys, hope you enjoyed the league.
04/20/05 Alex Rtischev advances to another B Final!
Alex complained about some long time out Vishal was taking and I agreed and warned Vishal. Vishal was complaining about being dehydrated Also Vishal extended one time out by asking a couple of times how long do I get after the thirty seconds had passed. I told him he took enough for two timeouts. Couple of times Vishal caught the ball during a rally citing a hinder. It took a while for it to register and form a ruling. More than once I fell apart as a ref which caused some arguments between Alex and Vishal and some bad calls. Well having Abe and Nick offering their $0.02 wasn't helping, but that was my fault.
During the second game, Alex hammered out a 14-0 lead. I thought Vishal was recovering during this game and trying to wear Alex out for the tie-breaker. I saw Alex holding his side a couple of times, so Vishal was tired and dehydrated. Alex was still running but playing in pain I'm sure.
So both fighters came back for a third game. There were a couple of side outs and everything was going well until match point when Vishal caught the ball again after hitting it and having Alex hit it back citing another hinder. He said he called hinder, but Alex and I did not hear him. They both walked off the court asking for a ruling. I went to the water fountain to clear my head and awarded the match point to Alex under rule 3.13.(c).9 failure to return in rallies. If it was a hinder, play needs to stop (not hitting the ball) and a call would need to be made immediately. The tendency for an overwhelming amount of players is to hit the ball around or over. It's kind of playing chess and saying Checkmate after clearing the board. Basically need to put all the pieces back from memory and then see if it was a checkmate, much better is to yell hinder and not hit the ball. Still might not be a hinder, but at least your not playing a defensive shot, not hurting your opponent, or taking a bad swing.
Vishal might be moving to Texas, so he said his goodbyes after the match. Good luck in the job Vishal.
04/14/05 Anti-climatic Nine Hundredth Game.
The guy who invented racquetball probably rolled over in his grave there were so many hinders during the first two games. Both players altered their shots either going to the ceiling or taking a pinch, but I really thought it was going to be a back donut fest. As a ref', I couldn't do anything since they kept taking the shots instead of holding up for a hinder call. Sometimes I get lulled into doing the same thing other times my eyes are on the ball and I need to assume the path is clear.
I felt pretty bad for Claudio, similar thing happened to him at the last Cook tournament. Leagues and Tournaments are tough on all aspects of the body: mental, physical, and emotional. Only one of the three could leave permanent life changing effects. So make sure to warm-up, stretch, and keep your body in top shape especially at this stage of the game. Stretching after you play is essential. You need a racquet, goggles, and a ball to play racquetball to keep playing you need to stretch and go through a proper warm up each and every time. Sometimes I don't practice what I preach and start a game cold, but 99.9% of the time the game doesn't mean anything and I can work my way into the game until I get warmed up. Dangerous to a degree, but better than swinging at full-power dead-cold.
04/12/05 Tournament Action!
Now we get to tonight and we start off with a C's semi-final between Ajay Singh and T-Jay Hu. Ajay fighting a fever advanced with 3 and 9. T-Jay played his first game cold and it showed. Afterward, I gave him some pointers for next time. I ref'ed the match and Ajay was more than happy to return T-Jay's setups with power and take advantage of his position problems.
Started the A Quarter-Finals tonight with Abe Pollak vs. Joe Delgado. I wanted to come out strong for this one and I did taking game one 15-12, but I started to rush game 2 and totally lost it in game 3. Overall some good rallies, but I started to steer away from my game plan and I started to choke. Anyway Abe advanced (12), 5, and 2.
Back to B's, tonight started with Alex Rtishchev and Ron Jacoby. Tom Baldinger did me a favor and ref'ed game 1 while I was finishing up with Abe. When I took over Ron admitted playing Alex's attrition game and could not get a bead on most shots. Alex played an exhaustive defensive game and it worked. From what I observed Ron was starting to get mad and stared hammering the ball while Alex just kept it in play. Seems like Ron did his homework since he was shading to the right side under Alex's serves. Overall good game, Alex advanced 9 and 8 to face Vishal Goyal in the semi finals.
On the bottom part of the C draw, we had Ani Marathe vs. Miten Bhat. These guys are pretty heated and about six or so points into game one they came by and asked for a referee. I was already ref'ing Alex and Ron, so I asked Abe Pollak to ref and he was gracious enough to help. Miten Bhat advanced 8 and 11 to face Ajay Singh for the finals.
To round out the A quarter finals we had Tom Baldinger dispatched George Weickert in straight games 3 and 2. Joel Greengarten did the same for Alan Kramer 5 and 7. So we have another barn burner between Joel and Tom. Joel was pretty amp'ed up to face Tom Baldinger again. Tuesday 8 PM.
Lot of stuff tonight, hopefully I got it all. Thanks to Abe and Tom for helping me ref' some matches. Really came through for me tonight.
04/11/05 Miten Bhat advances to C's Semi Finals!
04/07/05 B's Semi Finals Shaping Up!
On the other side of the draw, we had Nick Holerca and Art Ernst. I didn't get to see any of the match, but Nick advanced 3 and 7. One point difference than Vishal's match interesting.
Busch's B Champs (Alex Rtishchev and Claudio Ortiz) are in the middle of the draw and face some serious competition. So can they advance to the quarters and advance again in the semis to make another repeat final? Will newcomer Ron Jacoby shutdown Alex's chances? Lastly will Silas "McEnroe" Clark advance to his first finals and stop his collection of third place medals? Lots of questions, we'll find out early next week. Rest up and enjoy the tournament.
04/07/05 Qualifier Round Complete!
04/01/05 No fooling. Schedule is posted!
04/01/05 No Action last night?
03/30/05 The Glue is Dry.
Last night we started off with Ron Wong's double header and he came out swinging taking both of his remaining opponents to three games. First Ron Jacoby winning with (12), 4, 8. This win put the pressure on Claudio Ortiz to keep his third seed and he did with a win over Wong (9), 11, and 7. Wong playing strong first games, but easing up on the 2nd and 3rd. Keep the pressure up in the tournament Ron.
In A's, we had another double header for Tom Baldinger. He basically left Alan Kramer waiting around for about forty minutes, but Alan was a sport and played. Tom was able to close 9 and 8. That match set the stage for one of the strongest battles I've seen for 2nd seed. Joel Greengarten came to prove me wrong and attacked Tom and claimed game 1. Tom was able to close game 2 but almost the same score. Then it was a nail biting tie-breaker as they exchanged about four side outs at 10-10. Both players played defensively and Tom was able to close off an unforced error. (12), 11, 10.
Lastly in C's, Miten Bhat takes 2nd seed with a win over Abhinav Lal 6 and 2. Outside of league action, Alex Rtischev and I played and it was one of those days I should have stayed home. Alex won in straight games 6 and 4. It was a good game and Alex really hammered my backhand, but didn't explore any other serves. I warned him about wearing out a serve and Joel and Tom offered to me to keep the ball to the ceiling rather than give away tempo to Alex. So hopefully we both walked away with something. Good luck in the tournament.
03/29/05 Ajay Singh stakes out 1st Seed in C's.
03/25/05 Miten Bhat moves to 2nd Seed in C's!
03/25/05 Awesome Night of Racquetball!
In A's, we had an excellent first game between Bill Sjaastad and George Weickert. George had a game plan to keep Bill off balance and it was working, but only so many crazy shots can work in a match and Bill was able to adjust his game and win 15-13 after a very long time out. Second game, there was a change in George that I can only describe as a faded color picture. He lost his game plan and his body language and attitude changed for the worst and it reflected in his game. Bill pulled out some of his own paddleball tactics and closed 13 and 3. Bill's rotation is done and he unequivocally has first seed .
The best for last, Abe Pollak and Joel Greengarten resumed their interrupted match last night. Abe had a couple of advantages he had won game 1 and also had first serve in game two. Game two was a defensive struggle and I lost track of all time watching ceiling return after ceiling return. Joel was patient and took his kills when the chance came. There were a couple of time outs and I wasn't keeping track of the score too well and thought it was over on more than one occasion, but Joel pulls a tiebreaker 15-10. Third game, already after 9:00, was another struggle with Joel winning 11-9. So Joel advances to third seed (12), 10, 9. In the locker room, Joel said he's out to prove me wrong and take second seed. I laughed and told him, "I know how to stoke the flames Joel." So hopefully Monday Tom Baldinger and Joel Greengarten decide who gets the coveted second seed in A's.
03/24/05 League USA might change program for RB!
03/24/05 Ron Jacoby in the Hunt for 3rd seed in B's.
03/23/05 Seeding, seeding, and more seeding.
In A's, Joel Greengarten def. Dave Pollak 15-3; 15-8. Joel passed Dave Pollak and has a good chance of taking 3rd, but it's going to come down to his incomplete match with Abe. Joel's down a game against Abe, can he force it to a tie-breaker? We'll find out Thursday.
In B's, Nick Holerca def. Ron Wong 9-15; 15-13; 11-6. Nick also received a forfeit win against Josh Lavender, so he squeezes ahead of Vishal by one win. Vishal thought he could forfeit a match and still stay #1. Now he can only afford to lose one match. Ron Wong def. Josh Lavender 15-3; 15-4. Wong has been playing a lot better and there's a chance to unseat Art Ernst for 8th.
In C's, Abhinav Lal def. Marv Schuldiner 15-9; 15-9. Abhinav has two challenging matches left, but can Ajay Singh who is still injured play against the nimble Abhinav? Can Abhinav return Ajay's drive serve? It'll be interesting.
03/21/05 Draw sheet by Numbers Posted.
03/18/05 Spring Break Summary.
Every win counts there's still plenty of movement possible to be had before the tournament. The Tournament Software I ran B's through made an interesting and fair draw and it's better than anything I would have been able to come up with. So we'll just need to play it all out and see what happens. Good luck.
03/11/05 Secret Seeding Predictions.
03/11/05 Push before Spring Break.
Next we had the new and improved Silas "McEnroe" Clark trounce #2 Claudio Ortiz in straight games 9 and 7. Think Claudio was a little surprised and I said after the match, "Yep Silas is brand new right out of the box."
In A's, we had a kind of hurried game with Alan Kramer dispatching George Weickert in straight games 3 and 3. I didn't even get a chance to watch any of it. It's all part of George's master plan to go into the tournament the underdog.
Also in A's we had one of the matches I was most anticipating, Bill Sjaastad vs. Tom Baldinger. Bill broke a string on his Wilson so he played with his old Spalding racquet. I think Joel Greengarten and I were watching some of the game and I said what's that on his racquet a "Z" or an "S?" Anyway Bill walked away with 9 and 14! Wish I had caught more of it, but I had my own problems last night.
I knew going in I was going to face a tough opponent, Joel Greengarten, and I had a whole bunch of excuses to protect my ego, but when it came down to it. I could not get anything going. Dave Pollak made a comment in the locker room that my head wasn't on my game and he was right, but regardless I needed to play and overcome some stuff. Anyway my opponent can really put the ball away and has an excellent forehand. Joel won 6 and 3.
To the students hope you have a fun and safe break!
03/09/05 Trophies in the House. Literally.
Last night, I refereed a C's match between Ajay Singh and Ani Marathe. Good thing I refereed, I think both players were really pumped up and if they had to settle disagreements on their own, there would have been trouble. Both players kept the ball high, as typical C players do, and a lot of possible hinders were attempted, but I felt most of the them were either too far or bad movement choices. Maybe I had some bad calls, but I've gotten used to it. Ajay Singh won 8 and 12. He also twisted his ankle and kept playing the second game, so great match guys. Pretty damn sure, we just determined the top two seeds in C's. Alex was left waiting for Chris Jacquet.
03/03/05 Ron Jacoby Takes Double Header.
Anyway enough preamble, Ron and Silas came to play last night and what a battle they had. They split the first two games by the exact same score 15-10. I caught the tail end of the tie-breaker. Come to think of it, I wasn't involved in the coin toss for the third game. Anyway the match became a nail biter at 10 to 10, remember it's win by one. Hell it was 10-10 for about five turnovers! I remember two points in particular, Silas was receiving and shot a perfect pinch-kill from 38', it had to be textbook at six inches off the floor. Then during a rally it was Ron's turn with a setup pinch in the front court. Then Silas plays the odds again and hits another 6" kill right in front of Ron. Normally I would say risky shot selection, but when it works there's nothing to say.
I forgot how it ended, but I think it ended kind of anticlimactic with Ron walking away 10, (10), and 10! At one point, Ron Wong was watching and Silas said, "I'm going to win Ron." or something. I was like "Damn!" I don't know which Ron Silas was addressing, but a good display of determination. Alex was a little surprised that Silas went three games when he could only lose in two.
In the A's, it was Alan Kramer vs. Bill Sjaastad. Bill had been warming up for a while and I think Alan was a little cold in the first game losing 15-0. In the second game, Alan warmed up but Bill closed out the match 0 and 6. Think the match up in the A's is going to be Bill Sjaastad and Tom Baldinger. I hope I can watch that one. Bill was kind of intimidated by Tom's Head Sponsorship until I told him it was an entry-level "paid" one, sorry Tom. Bill at one point was Spalding sponsored, so I'll need to talk to him more about his career.
Now Back to Ron Jacoby's second match against Chris Jacquet. It was a marathon match with Chris hitting some good kills and Ron hitting smart shots. I didn't catch a lot of the game, but Chris is definitely under pressure in his first B's league. He admitted he needs to play more than once a week. I agree. Ron kept on walking in straight games 10 and 11.
Lastly, we had Vishal Goyal and Ron Wong. Vishal continues his undefeated streak and takes Wong in straight games 3 and 7. Ron is playing Silas tonight, so I'll find out what happened over the weekend and maybe Silas will write me about who was referring to last night.
Outside of league action, we had Ignacio "Nacho" Esteban enter the rankings against serious veteran Leigh Marshall. Think Ignacio ran out of gas his second game and lost 11 and 0. I joked around with Leigh saying "Glad your playing someone else besides me." He got all uptight and was like what do you mean by that? Another web games was between Alex Rtishchev and myself. He wanted more tools for the shed and I wanted revenge for him bursting one of my bubbles. I almost had him in straight games. It was a lot of fun and I was able to remember enough to give Alex some feedback. Delgado won 9, (14), and 9.
03/03/05 Ortiz splits Double Header. Dr. V'
03/02/05 Trophies are on the way.
03/02/05 Semi-Super Tuesday
We had B's #1 Alex Rtishchev vs. #1 Intramural Inter. Champ Ron Wong with Alex winning in straight games 11 and 13. Saw Ron going for a drink of water saying how he hates racquetball. That's not good for the sport, so will offer him from games to tool up or something. There's a lot of strong players in the league and some people are getting more exposure and stronger still. So hang in there Ron. Oh yeah, we have a sleeper in the ELO rankings, Alex Rtishchev climbed up to the #4 spot ahead of inactive Dave Evans. Congrats!
Another Ron, Ron Torres, quit the league yesterday morning saying it's taking too much time at night. He had four league games left and only one of them was at 7:30. I tried to convince him to stay, but nothing worked.
Lastly the main event was in the A's between Joel Greengarten and George Weickert. I was worried about Joel. As of last night, he didn't pay, hasn't played, so I sent him an email. He said he was still in the league and last night he paid his $10 and went three games for a win against George. Doubts about you have been erased Joel.
George played an insane second game. At one point, he dived left for a shot, then crawled along the floor to get another shot to the right. Then Joel tried to jam him and George recovered again from the floor to win the rally. A damn shame I didn't have my camera. In the last game, George couldn't keep the same intensity and lost. 12; (11); 1.
02/25/05 Thursday. Schuldiner Splits Double Header
In B's, we had a three game match between Ernst and Jacquet. Art took his time and dismantled Chris' warp field, in other words Chris could not get a rhythm going and keep his intensity up. Art even went to a treadmill or something in-between games. Chris definitely had advantages in age, endurance, and speed, so Art either played a smart game or stumbled upon Chris' weaknesses by accident. Ernst def. Jacquet 10-15; 15-14; 11-6. George who was supposed to play Alan Kramer played with Chris afterward and messed with him the same way. Racquetball is 80 to 90% mental after all.
Lastly I gave a lesson and played a game with a woman novice, Tanya, she had tennis lessons and stuff, so a lot of bad habits to break or suppress. We went over the rules and played a soft game explaining some of the shots, rules, and some position tactics. Anyway hope she comes back and plays more often. We could use more women players in our group. Think they often get intimidated by the guys hard hitting and stuff. If they only knew how utterly useless most of those hard shots are. Next time, I might introduce some mechanics and try to get her to stay in center court more often during a rally.
02/25/05 Wednesday. Holerca in the mix for 1st seed.
MCT-Right (Mike) hurt his knee during a fun game and has to withdraw from the league. Mike will be back, but will need time to heal up and recover. As of right now, we have eight people in the hunt for A's.
02/25/05 Tuesday. Alex and Vishal could not finish.
Ani Marathe, undefeated and definitely one to watch in C's, made Gulyas roll doubles on the match to win 6 and 6. Ajay, also undefeated, was watching a little of the match and admitted being a little nervous of Ani. So it should be an interesting match and may decide first seed in C's.
Ajay Singh has made great progress in a short time and really exposes his weaknesses to a lot of stress. He also has a devastating serve for a up and coming player. Singh def. Ron Torres 15-3; 15-3. Ron has to give up a lot of his sidewall serves that give his opponents too much time to react. In doubles, Ron overuses those severs to where I'm standing and really puts me in harms way. I can't get him to stop it either. Bah.
In B's, it was a surprising three game match between #2 Claudio Ortiz and newcomer Art Ernst. Claudio Ortiz def. Art Ernst 11-15; 15-8; 11-5. So as it has been said in the past, there's a lot of competition in B's.
02/22/05 Monday. Josh Lavender drops 70's Stick.
02/19/05 Friday. Joe Charette on the Attack!
I know Joe can play a lot better and I also know it's tough to beat friends and other people, but it's just a game. I don't think I know anyone that wants to win against an opponent that is letting her/him win. The win doesn't mean anything then, for me it's also different when playing for fun and playing a league or tournament game. I'm now playing to win when it's on paper, because I want to win and I want a battle. My opponents can do whatever they want. It's ultimately not about them.
In C's, we had Ani Marathe vs. T-Jay Hu. On paper, looks like T-Jay did not properly warm up before his first game. Marathe walked away with straight games 3 and 13. Ani asked about a rollout and if it was good? I said it's very good without a squeak, so Ani conceded two points to T-Jay for bad calls in the second game.
02/19/05 Thursday. Delgado shuts up his Critics!
On Thursday, I won against A's #3, Dave Pollak in three games. (8), 11, and 8. We had a pretty good crowd watching at some point. I think every match that I've played with Dave had a score discrepancy or a bad call that seriously affected my performance from that point onward, not this time. Maybe one or two shots were out of control, but I kept recovering my focus. It was a heated match and Dave was trying everything to get me off my game. From calling close roll outs skips, to illegally stamping his feet on my backhand setup that I still put away with a pinch kill. After I made the shot, I said, "What trying to distract me Dave?" In my head I said "Ha, I don't think so!!!!!" I did get lucky, but after taking four match points to win luck had less and less to do with it. Each time I could have broken down and given up three points, but I was not going to let myself down again. Ultimately it doesn't matter if he was prepared or not, up to a 100% or not. I'm not responsible for him. I'm also not responsible for whatever bad calls, disagreements, distractions, or errors happened. All I'm responsible for is the effect I allow it to have on me. Great match Dave.
Now that my rant is over. In B's, we had Intramural Intermediate Champ Ron Wong with a double header. First against Art Ernst with Ron winning 8 and 13. Then three games against Chris Jacquet, the speed machine, with Chris finding an effective serve in the third game to win (11), 11, and 3.
In C's, we had T-Jay Hu play Marv Schuldiner out of schedule. T-Jay won in straight games 4 and 9.
Lastly in A's we had a three game match between A's #2 Abe Pollak and Alan Kramer. I had to take Pat home since his car was getting serviced, so regretfully could not watch the match. On paper it was pretty close with Abe winning 10, (13), and 6. Abe also inched his way into the #1 ELO ranking again.
02/17/05 Wednesday's Action. Dr. "V" in the House!
Next Vishal took on Ron Jacoby, who's been having a tough time in B's. Goyal def. Jacoby 13-15; 15-2; 11-6. Ron burned the second game which is pretty smart. Josh helped me referee when Mike (MCT) wanted to play a game. Ron's been playing a lot over the last couple of days, he also challenged me for my last bubble. I didn't see the same crispness and power to his shots as I did earlier, so I think he just made a couple of bad moves in his league and match management. Dr. V., as he wanted to be called, played a pretty fair game and touched the ball into corners and the front wall on numerous occasions. He was hitting some good serves as well. It was all business, as usual.
I know I mentioned it and kind of left it hanging. I played my last bubble against Ron Jacoby. We're the same age, he has a couple of more years playing that I do, been pretty competitive against Claudio and Nick, so when he challenged me for the bubble. I more than entertained it. I was in agony the first game had salt from my goggles in my eyes, could not hit anything, shoes were loose. You name it. Lost the game 15-13. I went to the bathroom cleaned my goggles, glasses, even flushed my eyes with water. I came back in the second game really refreshed. The sting was gone, I could see a lot clearer, and I was able to focused on my game.
The bubble pressure is pretty interesting, it was my last chance to stay in A's and I'm down a game. I recommend the bubble matches to anyone since you need to play well or else. I think sometimes we subconsciously don't play our best. Oh it's just a game in the league, I have X wins this doesn't matter too much. I can take it easy. After working pretty hard to get A's (B+), I wasn't about to give it up without a fight. So I need to slow the game down. I needed to get the nerves away. I did a couple of things, I turned my back in between points. Aligned my strings, cleared my head, took my time. It's important to use the recovery time built into racquetball for just that recovery! On the serves, I started to take tallies. I used my hard Z that died twice a couple of steps in front of Ron. As Ron said, I played a defensive game. I could not afford to give more points away. I believe I was in the hole a couple of times, but I hung in there and won the match: 12-15; 15-8; 11-8. So I'm staying in A's! Great match Ron and thanks to Alex, Claudio, and you for challenging me.
02/17/05 Tuesday's Action. Ortiz takes #1 ELO!
Claudio Ortiz def. Jacoby 15-13; 15-3 with his W-Shot. Yeah I know, WTF is a W-Shot!? Claudio takes a low percentage shot and makes it work. The ball hits the two sidewalls and kisses the front wall, so I guess from overhead it'll look like a W. I should name it the Claudio, but W is shorter.
As I wrote, Claudio also faced his nemesis Alex. It was another grueling match to the end, but Ortiz made a statement that it might be different this time around come Tournament time. Ortiz def. Rtishchev 14-15; 15-11; 11-10. Also received an email from Alex that I'll include:
Claudio and I played a very interesting game. In the first game, I was up ahead as much as 12-3, when Claudio began his comeback. He took the score all the way to 14-14 before I was able to put the finishing point. The second game, however, didn't work so good for me. My attrition technique was not working, in fact, it was I that was becoming tired and worn-down. After a late rally to come back on my part, Claudio took game 2, 15-11. The tiebreaker featured some of the best play out of Claudio that I have seen, as well as some very nice plays on my own, a broken ball on one of my serves, and even a couple of dives to get the ball! I had the lead, 10-7 as Claudio began another one of his comebacks. At 10-8, I could not capitalize on my serve, and at 10-10, Claudio held my serve down again. Finally, after an awesome rally, Claudio was able to put it away, 11-10. Final score, after a grueling 3 games for both of us, Claudio comes out on top with a victory: 14-15, 15-11, 11-10...
In other action, we had a pretty intense game in C's. Ajay Singh def. Miten Bhat 15-13; 15-6. Miten said that he hurt his back in the second game, I think Ajay's serve is starting to develop. From what little I saw it was an intense game.
In B's, Silas Clark def. Joe Charette 5-8; 15-8. Joe's on a nine game losing streak. So some changes need to take place to get him back in the game. Maybe a bubble series will get him motivated.
Lastly, we had Ani Marathe's start off on the right foot for his first league game: Ani Marathe def. Abhinav Lal 15-6; 15-6. Hmmm, do I see Ajay and Ani at the top of the draw? It's entirely possible.
02/11/05 Baldinger and Sjaastad duck each other
Then we had Baldinger vs. Delgado. Mental note, should not schedule my matches so late in the damn week! Tom played smart and kept a lot of his tools in the shed and I noticed on a few occasions some half-hearted effort. He won 5 and 13. All I can say I left some tools in the shed too after three days of playing I know I wasn't a 100%, but still played hard.
02/10/05 Strike 2 Delgado!
Alex won by 1 point. 12-15; 15-13; 11-10. I'm still improving my focus and still need to get more of it on the outside when it's a critical shot. I thought A's was over until I read my own words at the top of the list. Three players. So one more match, who is it going to be? Nick? Silas? Vishal? I love the pressure and I think the bubble game-type is here to stay.
I think if three people were in the spotlight and I had to choose it would be Nick for my final bubble match. He's already defeated Alex #1 and Claudio #2. He's five and one so far, so he's a natural bubble choice. What do you say Nick? Nick last night played Ron Jacoby (moved from C's) and played a three game match. (11), 10, 8. So as Alex and Chris put it there's some serious competition in B's.
02/08/05 Five matches. Almost a Super Tuesday!
We started off with some B's. Ortiz def. Charette 15-13; 15-6. Later we had some action in the A's with Sjaastad def. Greengarten 15-7; 15-13. Bill really felt bad about hitting Joel about four times with the ball. Also my seven game losing streak ending against Kramer 11-15; 15-9; 11-6 in three games.
We also played around with the speed gun on court 5 and had some interesting readings. We also played on court #1 and couldn't get the same readings again. So something is wrong. Maybe the distance between the court and gun should be increased. Some of the better readings were Delgado 93 and 85. One Lee 47 and 86. Ignacio 62 and 74. So we'll standardize it soon.
02/04/05 Strike 1 Delgado.
In the A's, Tom Baldinger played #1 ELO ranked Abe Pollak. Overall they played a close game until the tie-breaker where Tom's serves kept forcing Abe to give away setups that Tom was more than happy to put away. Abe told me that Tom plays Open at Hillsborough, I told him I knew. He was forced to play Open, but Tom likes the challenge and got third place last time. The Head sponsored player is rolling with two victories so far. Who can stop him? Dave? Bill? Leigh? All I can say each time he plays more rust comes off. Oh the scores were Baldinger (11), 10, and 0. He wanted to play me around 9:00 last night, I respectfully declined. After seven straight loses, I need to take my A game back to the store for a refund.
02/03/05 Vishal Winning Streak Continues
In more B's action we had Art Ernst against Josh Lavender. I didn't get to see any of the match since I was refereeing. Art is sticking to his game plan and getting to the courts earlier to warm up with a game or two. The routine seems to be working, Art won over Josh 2 and 8.
02/02/05 Five Matches Down. Almost Six.
Sand-bagging alert went off last night with Ron Jacoby, new player, quickly dispatching T-Jay Hu 7 and 3 and Ron Torres 0 and 4. So will need to move Ron up to B's and rework the schedule. Maybe some new safe-guards like "Play Joe" need to be in place before we start the next league.
Joe Delgado and George Weickert finished their match. I guessed correctly a couple of times with George's hide the racquet game. He can play with both hands and basically hides the racquet behind his back on returning serve. George closed out 11, (10), and 9.
Chris Jacquet and Nick Holerca played a heated game. With Nick pulling off a straight games win 13 and 9. To be on the safe side, I think I'll referee their tournament match. Just a thought.
Tom Baldinger came out to play tonight against George Weickert as well. George really stepped up his game even with his injuries. George marched into my court and asked "Win by one or two?" I told him one and he marched off. So looked like a close first game and it was. Second game, I think Tom shook the rust off. Tom closed out 14 and 5. George and I both agreed we're way over our heads this time.
Abe Pollak and Joel Greengarten were able to play one game before being kicked off the court for one of those half-hour reservations. So far Abe leads the match with 15-12.
Abhinav and Miten came out to practice tonight and I introduced them to Nick Holerca twice. Nick said I have a short-term memory problem. I laughed and agreed with him. Well all I can say running a league there's a lot of stuff going on and it's hard to keep it all straight sometimes.
01/29/05 Three Matches Down.
In B's, we had B's 2nd place champ Claudio Ortiz taken to three games by division rookie Chris Jacquet. Ortiz won 8, (10), and 7. Also in B's we had Art Ernst and Silas Clark play another three game match with Silas Clark pulling a narrow victory: 6, (11), and 10.
01/26/05 Another Five Down.
01/25/05 Conflicting Schedules Emails Sent
01/21/05 Five Matches. That's more like it. Upd. 1/24/05.
Art faced off with Joe Charette in another three game match. Joe C. tried to resolve some position issues after a game one loss but lost the match 9; (12); 9. Also in B's, we had Chris Jacquet def. Silas Clark 12; (4); 9 in a marathon match. An injured George Weickert played Abe Pollak and lost in straight games 13 and 3. Rest up George, not worth getting hurt.
Also tonight we had the return of Vishal Goyal who played Art Ernst and won in straight games 5 and 11. He later convinced Devang Dave to pause their match, something unprecedented, but allowable. I guess. I played Devang a little after that and I could see why Vishal had to tool up a bit. :-)
01/20/05 Better Late than Never.
01/15/05 Awesome registration. 29 players. Thank you.
With so many players I think it's possible to have some additional tournament upgrades. Like a consolation bracket for B's with a minor trophy, some free stuff. We'll have to see how things play out. Thanks again for your interest and good luck.
01/14/05 Two Courts. Two Hours. 2.5 Matches.
01/07/05 Clark vs. Weickert Started 2005.
01/02/05 Nice way to start off the year! A League!
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