Monday, May 14, 2012

The History of Eau Claire Men's Squash - cont'd

Part 2 – The Development Years
September - 7 years ago was the start of my development years, I started my first full year of interclub, playing on Eau Claire’s level 9(now level 10) team with Wes Mah, Ali Rawji and Randy Emmons. This is when I first met Trevor, who was playing level 6 on his dad’s team.  I never played Trevor that year and we weren’t friends at this point. Anyhow, 12 months after only scoring 6 points in a tournament, I had many more matches under my belt (some of them wins), I had a better understanding of what I was trying to do and I wasn’t as much of a danger to my opponents(or myself). So first round of the geologist tourney was against Al Rutherford… I don’t remember the score, but I know that I won and Al couldn’t believe it, he kept raving about how much I’d improved, and he still does. I didn’t know it at the time, but his little brother Dan was one of the top players in Canada and played Ivy League squash for Princeton, so Al had seen good squash and he told me that he’d never seen someone improve as quickly as me, which looking back, was such a nice compliment.  Round 2, I was up against Chris May, and all I could think about was how he kicked the crap out of me last year. This was one of the most intense matches I ever remember playing in my life and I remember being so exhausted and hitting a hard cross-court that rolled out of the nick to win 10-9 in the fifth. And although I had beaten the 2 guys that demolished me last year, my goal was to win the tournament.  In the finals I played Brett Norris, who was a bit of a sore loser, having lost the match on a stroke and arguing with the ref, then giving me a cold fish of a handshake (People are so intense!) But Wow for me, after a year of hard work, I had actually achieved a goal…time for new goals. I also won the Oilmen’s in the C div that year.  

6 years ago, I was called up to play level 5(now level 6) interclub with Kelvin Paul, John Gamma, Luke Vanderbaaren and Stephen Murray, I can’t remember how we did, but I went from playing as a substitute in the 4 spot at the beginning of the season to playing  regularly in the top spot.  Trevor was now playing playing level 3(now level 4) with the top team at the Y with Jim(my boss), Dale, Andy and another guy who I can’t remember. This year, I drove up to Edmonton and played a handful of C tourneys and won. I didn’t know anyone up there, but everyone was so nice, and it was my first glimpse of Pro Squash, watching Matthew Giuffre dismantle everyone.  I was still getting lessons with Ken, who taught me the importance of footwork, volleying, lobs, drop shots, ie. the fundamentals. But Ken once asked me how far I wanted to go and I said “I wanted to be as good as Matt Giuffre”, he said I’d never get there and (although it’s true) that’s when I decided I needed a coach who was as delusional as I was. Carol Vallee and Bryan Niblock were the volunteer coaches at the Y, and although I could compete with them both, they taught me a bunch of stuff that helped me improve. I had a winning record that year and I entered the B division this year at the geologists tourney and won. I went on to play the oilmen’s playing Women’s racketball world champion Christy Van Hees, who demolished me in the Men’s B division. Hmmm back to the drawing board…

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