Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The History of Eau Claire Men's Squash part 4...(I think)

After reading thru the previous posts, I realized that I neglected to mention what playing C level tournaments was like. So here it is, first off, I've only ever played in two D level tournaments, both of which I lost both my matches and that was it. After taking a few lessons and winning the geologist tourney in the C division, I thought that the C division is where I should be, regardless of having never won a D tourney, maybe I jumped the gun on this and looking back, I may have done it differently.
At that point in my squash development, I had the opinion that playing up was the best way to improve and really push myself to play my best. And it was in playing C tourney's that I met now teammate Paul Adamiak. Paul had played as a junior, was incredibly fast and fit. I remember playing him at the Winter Club in a C tourney and pushing myself so hard that I could barely breathe (not much has changed playing Paul). Although Paul played from a very young age, he had commitments to his gymnastics and was still looking to refine his squash tecnique. I don't remember the score of the match, but I'm sure that I lost. But it was a glimpse into my future and it motivated me to really take squash seriously. At that same tournament, I watched Brad Steiner play on the show court against a young Dave Letourneau and couldn't believe what I was watching. This old guy played shots I had never seen before. Brad was a wizard with the racket, moving the ball from corner to corner, boasting off side walls, rolling out of nicks, he hit hard or he hit the ball so slow and high it looked like the ball would never come down. It was incredible, and within minutes of him coming off court, I was walking with him to the locker room, picking his brain. Brad said he saw some of my match and I could tell he was just trying to be polite, but said "you're a good athelete and if you keep practicing, you'll be playing with the big boys." or something funny like that. Brad is someone that I've always held in high regard, as a player and a person. There are few people in the world of squash who are as nice on court as they are off court as Brad Steiner and although I'm not there, I think everyone should be like Brad.
The transition from C to B was quick after meeting Kevin Doucet. Learning to hit the ball to length consistently is the biggest skill necessary to win at the C level and play at the B level. For anyone out there looking to just up from the C division, trust me. Length is your ticket outta there! Unfortunately, there is a huge paradigm shift from just being able to hit the ball and being able to hit the ball and put it where you want. When I first started playing squash matches, I always thought that hitting it hard and low or hitting a good drop shot was the way to win points. It wasn't until I realized that hitting it hard and low and hitting good drop shots wasn't that easy, and once I learned to set up loose shots with good tight length, thats when I could now start dictating play with low hard shots and easy drop shots. Learning to move an opponent around the court, is so much more important than playing a winning shot, cause if you can do that, that's when opponents get out of position, that's when mistakes are made, that's when winning starts happening. It's so easy to say this, but when
I'm on court, even now, I can get caught up in the bashing and dashing, but if I can keep my mind collected, the first goal is always to get my opponent into a corner and get myself into the middle.

Ok, so far I've met Paul, Trevor, Kevin and Derek. And having won a handful of C tourneys and playing a lot of C semifinals and consolation finals. That's when I moved up to the B division. In retrospect, I should have played more B division tournaments, but early success at B encouraged me and mayber I was capable of way more. I had won the geologist and the oilmens in the B division. and made the B final in 3 other tournaments, as well I beat Trevor in the B div at the Eau claire club championships(which I have on video - possibly the last time I ever beat Trevor). At the end of the season I took up running (which I will never promote to anyone). and then september rolled around and Trevor, Luke and I had recruited Derek and Daylan to play interclub with us at level 4. Paul was a bit wishy washy, but he ended up playing for us full time before the end of the season. This was the beginning of what has turned out to be our history in the making. 

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