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2007-08 Cook League
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Final Draw Posted Check your ELO, Power, and Quarter Rankings.

07/14/09 League Completed
Funny that's it's a year and a day later and I'm writing about closing down this league. Well after what happened a year ago (see below) I wasn't in any real hurry to run another league. We're just playing a game for fun and a $5 trophy. There are no fans watching or waiting for an autograph no million dollars deals to be had. It was supposed to help bring players together to play racquetball and not drive them apart.

When I gave Sean Roos the news that he lost 3rd by default he naturally didn't take it well, but he didn't exact push Alex to play for third when he had the chance. Now Sean's out in New York City working 9 to whenever and doesn't have time to come down and play. So in order to move things forward. Alex gets third because he followed up and was ready to play when Sean was not. Can see the completed draw here.

Not sure what the next league will bring. The garden where we tended the racquetball plant has wilted and over grown with weeds, so there's a lot of work to be done.

07/13/08 A Division Finals Part II
Took a couple of days to calm down and think about the final match between Abe and Nick. It would have been real easy to get angry and do an email blast about what happened, but I admit some fault. I think the outcome would have been the same Abe was playing a very defensive game and Nick was playing a very offensive one. So it all comes down to who's taking the most advantage of opportunities. If you're serving all your risking is a side-out, on defense a failed risk means a point. So I think Nick had the most of those free opportunities.

I think for the next league more matches will be ref'ed just to get players accustomed to having a referee call the shots. Problem with Cook is the same that it's always been obstructed hearing and view, but when players are making decisions on the court without the ref' then the game quickly goes down the tubes. I let myself be bullied and should have taken more control of the match when things went south.

A player cannot call a serve short, long, or whatever when a ref' is present. A player can't really do much except raise a hand to call attention to particular call. A player needs to continue playing out a rally until the ref' stops play. Lastly a ref's call is near final unless there's line judges and an appeal is used. So arguing with a ref' is a sure fire way to get a technical foul or penalty.

So my fault everyone was not clear on these facts and my fault for nipping it right at the beginning. Can never assume people are going to follow all the rules. Still pretty sad of the way things ended, it put a strain on two good friendships.

07/08/08 A Division Finals
"Have fun." My wife said as I walked out the door to referee the final match. I shook my head and said, "Two guys arguing and me caught in the middle is not fun." I wasn't disappointed. I've ref'ed a lot of matches since I've played tournament racquetball and there's been good and bad matches, but mostly good. I've been in good and bad games that were ref'ed. I've had bad calls and I've made a share of bad calls. I've had people cheering for the other guy. I even had my doubles partner, Leigh, chew me out during a timeout for making a call against us. Safe to say sometimes life is a bunch of bad calls.

To ref' a match is tough, but to ref' a match amongst good friends I've known for years is far tougher. Anyway I need a day or two to sort out the details for myself and the fires might be too hot right now to start email wars with either player. It was a very heated game and a lot of arguments between all three of us. Part of it was my fault other times the players were ref'ing their own game. Like I saw a serve that was good that one player thought was short and they exchanged. Just too messy to write now and I'm disappointed how the league ended. After the match, I apologized. Shook hands with both of the guys, handed out the trophies, and went home. Congratulations to Nick. He won the match 5, (6), and 4.

6/17/08 Semi-Finals: Sean Roos vs. Abe Pollak
I thought more people would be there playing, so I warmed up a little bit and settled down to watch Abe and Sean square off for the chance to face Nick Holerca in the finals. I took a couple of breaks to stay warm and I was growing a little impatient with some of the rallies since both guys were playing it safe. Way too safe and way too high. I saw Abe take a lot of shots on his backhand side into the backwall and saw Sean shading to cover his backhand as well.

Despite them being a little tentative Abe was taking smarter risks and kept running Sean wide on a lot of shots. Sean kind of camped out of position and allowed Abe dominance over center court. Sean was not playing like himself but his arm was a 100% The ball sounded like it was broken most of the time, but all the power in the world doesn't do much good if it comes off the back wall. Abe who was still playing it safe got a lot of juicy setups and took them into the backwall or on about three occassions tapped them mere inches from the front wall for some easy points.

Sean took a time out with Abe at 10-4. Abe started to smell blood on Sean's backhand and blasted the last five points to win game one. 15-4.

Game 2. Sean seemed to be playing not to lose and jumping up and down between rallies to get something going, but Abe kept the ball in play, took less risks, and kept Sean on the defensive. Afterward, Sean admitted he was thinking about every shot. As the skips starting to mount, I saw some breaks in Sean's toughness. Sean did end a couple of rallies with some good shots, but they were few and far between. Sean also pulled out some overhead serves and shots, but both were too risky. Abe closed out the match 4 and 6. Congrats Abe on the upset.

6/07/08 Let's wrap this Puppy Up!
Abe Pollak squares off against #1 seed Sean Roos on June 11th. Normally during the Summer the gym used to close at 7:00, so to have them close at 9 PM is good news, having some AC you can actually feel is even better. So looks like we can have a Summer league without people dropping from heat exhaustion or having the lights turned off in the middle of a game. Good luck to Abe and Sean.

5/14/08 Cook Closes Soon Until June 2nd
Didn't quite make it in time. So I think tonight is the last night to play Racquetball until June 2nd at Cook/Douglas. We'll try and wrap things up early June before we start to roast.

5/05/08 Nick Holerca Advances to his Third Final
Three consecutive finals, one of the longest winning streaks (19) to date, and about one hundred points ahead of everyone else in ELO are some of Nick's accolades. Can he go three for three? The other side of the draw might need to wait until June. Nick described his match with Alex:

I won the match with Alex, (0), 9 and 6. He handed me a mean donut in the first, but then I managed somehow to claw my way back into the game. It was tough, with Alex hitting very well from all over the court and me even having to dive for the ball to stay in the game. At the end I was so spent, I had to sit for 15 min before walking to the lockers. You were right, all that rich business trip food got me well. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to the final, by next week I hope to be back in shape.

So one side of the draw came true. Waiting for Sean to deliver on the other side. Between the top two guys. That's a tough one to call. During League play Nick was destroyed by Sean 2 and 8, so Nick will have to neutralize Sean's power and make him take a lot more risks. For Sean, I think he could be mentally tested. It's the added pressure of a final match against a very cool and experienced player like Nick. So he should relax, play his game, and put a lot of pace on his passes while keeping them off the back wall. Youth vs. Experience? I'm going to have side with Nick on this one. Sorry Sean, just use it as fuel to proove me wrong.

If a major upset should happen, then Abe and Nick were pretty close in league play and Abe is no stranger to finals either. Abe has also been robbed a couple of times from first. So he could be pretty hungry. Sean should take it real serious, but of course focus on his course finals.

4/30/08 Semi-Finals Set
Last night went to the courts to play, mostly I wanted to drill, and I saw Abe and Dave playing out their match. I finished my drills and came back to watch, thinking this is a long game, and then I saw Dave serving and after the rally shake hands. I thought Dave pulled out an upset? No, they were just playing for fun. Abe finished a long time ago winning 5 and 4. After the third game, Abe was rubbing some salt in Dave's wounds, like a brother should I guess, and we started to play in-out cut-throat.

Before we got started, Abe said he saw the NJ Rankings Link and that I was 47. Dave jabbed probably 47th in lefties. Got you in league play didn't I? So we played out our game and Dave played viciously and won. Abe wanted to play some more games and I technically had the night out so we played some more. I knew Abe had about four games in him already and I just practiced, so I went up to a surprising 9/10-0 lead. I eventually closed the game 15-7. I said not bad for #47. We played another game and as usual Abe was much stronger or I was probably weaker. He won 15-11. We didn't play a third, so I'll take the win by total points.

So it's Sean vs. Abe and Alex vs. Nick. Who's going to play for 1st and who's playing for third? It might Sean and Nick for 1st, but Nick had a tough return from his business trip and One Lee had him like 10-0 on Monday, so hopefully Nick can get all that rich business trip food out. On the way to the locker room, I told Abe he needs to get Sean off his game. Hit him with the ball, make a bad call, something. Of course, I was kidding...well Abe still needs to get Sean off his game.

4/18/08 Alex Rtischev vs. Steven Brukner
Saw Alex tonight and I always enjoy his enthusiasm over the league and how his matches went. He told me about the streaky quarter-final match with Brukner. Alex was up 9-0 in the first game and then in game two Steven was up a whopping 13-2. Then Alex had a great lead 8-1 in the tie-breaker and Steven chipped away at it until it was 8-7. Alex is usually pretty easy going, but he told me after Steven caught up in the breaker he took a time out, which is rare, and took it out on one of the poor cushions outside the court. Alex advances to face his nemesis, Nick Holerca, with 6,(5), and 7.

I was trying to get some people together for Friday night and Alex showed up to play just when One Lee was finishing up. For not playing for about a week, I was hitting the ball pretty hard and well and I've been breathing better too. Wife called about being late and I wanted to finish my breaker with Alex, so we quickly battled and I eventually won the match. Afterward, we were in the locker room and I warned Alex that I can read his left side drive serve about 99% of the time. I can read it to the point where I can totally commit to the left half of the court and be waiting for the ball. He countered that I don't dink when I'm front and try to take a full swing. True, I just don't feel confident dinking. Telegraphing a serve definitely reduces it's effetiviness.

4/17/08 Kilcoyne vs. Roos Follow-up
Sean sent me some additional details on the match. Pat was up like 8 to 0 in the first game and Sean clawed his way back. Second game, Sean was up 9-2 and it was Pat's turn to come back. Still a very respectable job by Pat Kilcoyne against the #1 seed.

4/16/08 Sean Roos Advances over Pat Kilycone in Straight Games
Sean sent me the scores tonight and added one of his usual trash talking quotes at the end. "Ready for a Pollak and the trophy." So he's pretty confident going into the Semi-Final against Abe or Dave Pollak and with five consecutive wins...he can afford to be.

So far the draw has played out as expected. Let's see what happens in the middle of the draw. Can Steven win over Alex and Nick and face his friend, that he beat, in the final? Can either Pollak avoid Sean's massive lefty forehand and put the hotshot to bed? We'll soon find out.

2007-08 Trophies4/14/08 Semi-Final Matches Scheduled
Need to keep things rolling, I scheduled the Semi-Finals for the league for this Thursday. Sean vs. a very hungry Pat Kilcoyne. Abe vs. his brother Dave Pollak. Alex vs. Steven Brukner, and we already know what happened between Nick and myself. Then we can move on to the semi-finals next week and wrap first and third the week after.

Anyway featured at left are the trophies. Photoshop is pretty amazing, this was a really dark photo. Typically I have about nine, three for each division, but we only had one division this time around. I would like to thank the people who played this league and helped me get things running again. Good luck in the Tournament.

4/11/08 Kilcoyne Advances Over Choy
A lot of close matches this league and the match between Pat and Ronny seemed like quite the nail-biter. Three points gave Pat the win and I didn't get to watch much since I was busy playing cut-throat. Think Steven brought Sean down with $10, so I can finally put that to bed. Had a pretty good group: One, Chris Jacquet, Pat, Ronny, Sean, Steven, and myself. Gave Chris the chance to play with Sean and Steven and he walked away with a game off Steven. Chris said afterward, "these guys hit the ball too hard and it just makes it easy for me. You guys (me and One) have better control and placement." So I felt good about that one.

Anyway Pat won the match: (14), 14, and 8. Afterward and he told me, "I'm coming for Sean!" or something. He even told me to put it on the website! That's the stuff I like to hear. I watched part of a friendly game between Ronny and Patrick and if Pat stays the hell away from Sean's forehand there's a good chance. As with most things, it comes down to who wants it more.

4/09/08 Nick Holerca advances to Semi-Finals
I received two calls to my cell phone on the way to the club from Nick. I told him 7:30 on the phone the night before, but he wanted to play before his business trip. In hind-sight, I should have waited until he got back. Anyway seems Nick was in a little hot water from his wife about playing tonight and watching the clock. What I like most about Nick is his focus, he's able to turn off external stuff and play. First game, I was up 7-0 and I kept reminding myself to serve 60%. When he started to chip away I felt the need to increase and eventually red-line my shots. I had a couple of runs, but Nick came back and closed out game 1, 15-13.

Game 2, I started to notice I was getting flustered. I didn't think I was overly angry or embarrassed or anything, but I was coughing. So I know, I was having trouble running around. I'm going back to the Doctor. I made like three returns in a row off my backhand that just died in the front court, but Nick was hitting everything even some of those upside down, out-of-the-book, shots. Afterward, I sat on the bench having a minor coughing fit. I should have stayed at 60% and took more risks on the rallies. Anyway Nick advanced 13 and 4. Good match Nick.

4/06/08 Dave Pollak Moves up to 5th Seed
Just received the results from the Dave Pollak vs. Alex Rtishchev match and I needed to revise the draw after updating my player matrix. First off, Dave won 7, (4), and 5! Second, that gives him seven wins and since he defeated Steven Brukner, Dave moves up 5th seed to face his brother, Abe Pollak, in the second round. Sorry for the miscalculation.

4/06/08 Draw Posted
Here's the A's Drawsheet (PDF) we'll get things rolling this week.

4/05/08 Nick Locks in Second Seed in Straight Games
I played about three games with One Lee and then Nick shows up. We played a game and I can tell he was saving himself for Alex. He also had a root canal yesterday, nothing stops this guy, and Alex had to warm up quickly. I like to warm up with a game or two prior to a match just to get the kinks out. I couldn't watch this one because I had to bring food home and bring Milk home for Jason. Although a close game, Nick was able to win 13 and 11.

Alex has one more match against Dave Pollak, but a win or loss is not going to get Alex out of third seed. I'll work on the drawsheet later and post that up. If anyone sees Sean Roos tell him he owes me $10 by Wednesday.

4/02/08 Alex worked hard for 3rd Seed.
Alex had a battle against Ronny Choy. (10), 11, and 7. Alex wondered why he hasn't won more matches. Doesn't matter, only what he does in the draw matters. Alex admitted to be a little worried if he was the first seed and had to face him again. He's also gone three games against Sean, so could it be the makings of a big upset? Hope you took notes on your matches Ronny, now is the time to make a solid plan. Alex has two more matches for a chance at first seed. Well second, if Sean gets a walk over Kilcoyne.

Pat Kilcoyne has to go home this weekend, so I'm going to default him against his match against Ronny Choy. It doesn't cause any movement in the draw and gets us one step closer to the tournament. I'm not sure what the status is of his match with Sean Roos, but if it wasn't played out yet then it might be another default and Sean Roos takes first seed.

3/28/08 Draw is a little Premature.
I loaded my Player Matrix into Excel and now I can see the whole picture. The table above is strictly by Wins and Loses and does not take into account people who did not finish the league. So these people cause, for lack of a better word, rips. Player A withdrew but he won against B, never played C, and lost against D. Now I can smooth those out and all I can say there's a fight for first seed!

Sean Roos had a great League with 9 Wins. He has a lock on first seed if he wins against Patric Kilcoyne. Alex Rtishchev has three matches left and he can come out of no where to take first seed if Sean drops his remaining match and Alex wins all three. One of Alex's matches is against old time rival Nick Holerca. These guys have slugged it out for first place in B's probably more than anyone else. So it should be interesting to watch. A win for Nick also gets him a lock on 2nd and a chance for 1st. Abe Pollak hangs in the balance at 3rd, Alex needs to win one match to knock Abe down to 4th.

At the bottom, things are a bit more settled. Both Ronny and Patric are deadlocked for 8th and 9th. So they have to play in the first round and the winner goes to face the first seed. Both Patric and Ronny have shown some surprises out there and tournaments usually bring out more nerves, so don't give up hope guys. There's always a chance for an upset.

Toward the middle of the draw, there's Steven Brukner in 5th, Joe Delgado in 6th, and Dave Pollak in 7th. My win over Dave pushed me up a spot. If Sean takes first seed, he has a chance to face the only guy who decisively beat him (5 and 7). His friend Steven. My palms are just getting sweaty thinking about it. Maybe Sean should forget his racquet at home against Patrick. <jk>.

3/28/08 Some "Old School" Stats Return...Well for Now.
I wanted to get an idea of the draw, so I was looking at my Racquetball code and found my old Player Matrix code and ran it for this league. Well it created a bunch of other content like the "Balance of Power" and player vs. player score sheets. It's still not feasible to post all this content each time a match is updated, since it's just as slow as I remember, but it's a good double check for people to review.

3/26/08 Abe Pollak vs. Holerca
Just got a email from Nick about his match with Abe. Looks like it was a long match with some questionable calls, but Nick walked away with the Win (14), 10, and 8. Looks like Pat and Ronny Choy need to reschedule for this Friday, which puts them both at a disadvantage going into the draw.

3/26/08 Abe Pollak vs. Delgado
My last match of the playoffs was a big-time downer. Last Friday, I played a couple of games against Chris Jacquet and there was probably two or three times when I didn't cough in-between points. Tonight against Abe, I was about three times better, but still not 100%. It would not have mattered. I could have been 110% and I still would have lost. Why? Shot Selection. I lost in straight games 2 and 7. We played about two more games afterward and I started to feel even better. Thank God.

Anyway during those last two games I remembered Fred Letter's advice about > 80% of my shots coming to the middle of the court. Abe was in front of me on most of those shots and put them away more times than I could count. It wasn't until I started working the lines and doing my best to keep everything out of the middle that I started to win more rallies. There was a cool post by Control Freak on Meet and Play about what he calls "Back Alley Fighting" that helped me place my shots better.

3/25/08 The Last Push
I hate breaks in momentum and it sucks the most when running a league. Because real life slowly seeps in starts filling in the gaps set aside for the league. Last week Cook closed early and not a single match was played out. So just sent out some emails to the group to get the last seven matches in the books.

Also ordered the trophies, they should be here by the end of the week. I'll put a picture up once they arrive.

3/20/08 Joel Greengarten withdraws due to Injury
Received the email from Joel that he can't continue the league. I was hoping to face Joel again, it's been a long time. He had a good number of games left to play out in the next couple of weeks. So we're down to nine which is still a pretty good draw, so I hope he's ok. Cook running with reduced hours this week hasn't been helping anything either. So looking forward to playing next week and getting to the draw. Good luck everyone.

3/13/08 Double Take. Roos vs. Holerca
Home sick today. Think normally I would have went in, but the Doctor told me to rest and gave me a note for work. So why not? Helped get Jason ready for School and Karen out to work, so I checked my email to find a big surprise. Sean Roos beat Nick Holerca in straight games 2 and 8. Nick has had the longest winning streak and most number of Championships in my leagues. Anyway props to Sean who moves up to first seed, at least while Joel plays catch up.

I was supposed to play Abe tonight, but doubt I'll do more than cough the length of my match. I shifted things to Tuesday which puts me in another double header against Abe and Joel. That's even worse than Alex and Sean, but oh well.

3/10/08 Back to Work after a Long Weekend
After a very long day on Saturday at State Singles I decided to sleep over my In-Laws with Jason. It was like 11 PM, some high winds on the road, and Jason was already fast asleep. So I crashed on a spare bed and didn't come home until Sunday night. Watch the main page and my blog for more about State Singles.

First off, we had a surprising match between Ronny Choy and Sean Roos. Not only did it go to breaker it was 11-10 Sean Roos. Did Ronny stop playing doubles at lunch time? Was he playing possum? Was he abducted by Aliens? Don't know, but it goes to show its anyone's game. The only score I got from Sean was 11-10. Not helpful. So it's 14,(14), and 10 until further notice.

Joel Greengarten still remains undefeated defeating Dave Pollak in straight games 6 and 7. Abe Pollak can improve his position to about fourth if he beats Alex and myself. Abe took a step in the right direction winning over his brother, Dave, 13 and 14. Alex still has a couple of matches too, so until everything is in the books. The draw is still pretty wide open.

On Friday, Pat was left praciticing by Ronny Choy. The weather was getting pretty bad so I don't blame Ronny for not coming down, but he didn't try to contact Pat to my knowledge, so if the match isn't finished by the deadline the win goes to Patrick. We introduced Patrick to the wonderful world of Doubles. One Lee and I vs. Chris and Pat. One and I lost.

3/5/08 Interesting Sweeps in Momentum Last Night Brukner vs. Choy
I didn't see it, since it was my wife's birthday and I would have been killed if I showed up, but from the scores it was an interesting game between Ronny and Steven. Ronny had an opportunity to win in straight games, but Steven was able to close out the first game 15-14. Choy took the second 15-4, and Steven took the third 11-2. So some big runs seem to have occured. Just goes to show in the middle of the pack it's anyone's game.

3/3/08 Holerca beats Brukner in Straight Games
Not much time tonight. Nick defeated Steven in straight games 10 and 12. That makes eight consecutive wins for Holerca. With only about four more matches left he might not reach his 19 record this time around.

3/02/08 Rules to Keep in Mind
I noticed a couple of things while watching Abe and Alex play the night I had my "bad" double header. I saw Alex hit a shot and bumped into Abe. The shot wasn't a kill shot and Abe reeled backwards a few steps. Alex wanted the point. Abe wanted a replay since he couldn't move to the ball after the body contact and he had a good chance. I watched the rally and sided with Abe. Rulebook under 3.14.a.3. If Alex rolled it out, then Alex had all the rights to hit his shot and it would not have been a hinder, since Abe had zero chance to make a return.

Also under 3.14. Sections 5 and 6 about backswing and safety hold ups. I know it's hard to fight the bloodlust sometimes and swing away regardless of your opponents position, but there's another option. Stop and say "you are in the way." Why take a bad shot that can injure someone or cost you a point? Better to be safe and smart. Also Defenders should not be cheap and stand in the way blocking out shots that will put you at a disadvantage. That's just plain cheating and will cost you a point with a referee.

3.15 is another juicy one. You need to give you opponent two shots: Down the Line and Cross Court. Read my article on safety. If you're defending watch your opponent, standing still is a great way to get hit. Watching the front wall instead of your opponent is a great way to get injured. Stay a swing and a step away! Odds are the attacker is watching the ball and assumes you are out of the way and following the rules.

3/02/08 Playoff Deadline is March 28, 2008
Sent out an email to everyone that 3/28 is the last day to play a league game. That weekend I'll work on the draw and give everyone a week to practice and rest. With ten people the top two players get a bye in the first round. While everyone has to slug it out. If there's a tie in W/L record the winner of their match gets the higher seed. If there's still a tie points, ELO ranking, and finally my personal determination will break it.

2/29/08 Delgado vs. Choy
It was an interesting match. Had people watching and saying stuff through the glass and after the first game. There's also the stuff people don't say that I pick up from their body language is probably worse. Anyway I know I was in one my moods, it's been a rough week and not just the two loses against Alex and Sean. Ronny admitted that he already played today during lunch. So playing twice in one day must be pretty rough on the body. The gears started turning.

Choy had some pretty good power on both sides, but as he admitted it lacked control. A lot of my drive serve opportunities were quickly dismantled by Choy, but even more of his ended with double faults. It was a pretty close game and I heard Ajay behind the door saying "Play hard..." From the first two games I knew that wasn't working. I definitely would be playing into Choy's strengths and I didn't want to do that.

I took a time out only to have someone talk to me. At the end of it, I was like that sucked, what a waste of a time out. A lot of lobs eventually closed the deal with Choy. He was very aggressive and they were coming off as skips or setups. So I was looking for something that worked and I got it. 11, (12), and 7. Afterward, I told him to be less aggressive and return the ball to the ceiling.

I saw George Weickert and Ron Torres tonight. George was trying to muscle his way into the league by saying if he beat Nick then I would have to let him in. I was like...."No. Sorry." We're finally getting close to the tournament.

I have two matches left against Abe Pollak and Joel Greengarten. Both of these guys have been at the top of A's more than once. So should be interesting at the very least I hope my breakers keep coming in. After the two games, I hope to be in the lower-half of the draw. Think my best chance for a trophy finish lie there.

2/28/08 Brukner and Delgado walk away with a Donut (0) and a Breadstick (1) in Breakers
After losing the first game against Brukner, Abe Pollak adjusted his game and figured out Steven. The next two games totalled four points. Abe saved Steven a trip to the donut shop with (7), 4, and 0.

When my program put me up against Alex and Sean in the same night, I knew I was in trouble. Even Nick wrote back in an email try to win one. I started with Alex who seemed to be playing weird, but later admitted it was his "Running Joe" strategy. It was working and a lot of his shots I had to take risks to win the point. He did some weird serve that totally got me off guard. Alex walked away with a win 9, (9), and 6.

Being a lefty I know it drives most right-handed players crazy. They often admit, I hate lefty's or better yet they play the whole match not realizing. It totally throws a couple of flies in most players' soup. Nick and I were emailing about it also and I told him I definitely had the advantage in the first game. The only thing that can throw a lefty off is another lefty. Also most lefty's I know have an incredible forehand and Sean is no exception. I guess it's all those left side serves that right handers try to force on us.

Game 1 was interesting. I noticed Sean shading over to his right covering up that backhand like a boxer with bruised ribs. A lot of my serves explored that backhand and I knew I had a gold mine to exploit. A lot of his serves to my backhand were either long, short, or ineffective. I noticed a problem with my returns, a problem that only got worse.

At the end of Game 1, Sean said he had adjusted. His serves and backhand were starting to get better and my returns got worse. The worst possible shot to give a lefty is a cross court shot from the bsckhand (right) since it often bounces up front and right into that massive forehand. Sean made quick work of those in the second and third games and gave me a breadstick. The "Kid" won (11), 5, and 1.

Did notice in the third game that he was in the way of a couple of my shots. One was an off the back wall shot that I went DTL with only see Sean right there. Nailed him in the back. Another time he was in the middle of the court right in front of me. It was only a couple of points, so I don't blame them for losing the game, but next time. I'm going to be a lot more careful and call a lot more hinders especially if my swing is affected.

2/25/08 Holerca Inches Ahead of Greengarten by Winning Against Dave Pollak
Didn't hear about this match until it was over. Nick Holerca defeated Dave Pollak in straight games 8 and 10. Nick leads the league with four wins and no loses.

2/22/08 Joel Greengarten on the way to 1st Seed
Joel Greengarten is probably the strongest player in the league and his record is slowly starting to reflect that. He beat Abe Pollak in straight games last night 2 and 8 despite the half an hour interruption of the Battle of Hastings (see below) to match Nick Holerca with 3 wins and 0 loses. He's about four points away from breaking into the Top Five Players by ELO Ranking.

In other news, it's official. Claudio Ortiz withdraws due to a calf-injury. So we're down to ten players. If the tournament happened tomorrow the top two seeds would get bye's and everyone would battle it out. Not sure we can do a consolation round with ten players, but we'll see.

2/21/08 Sean "The Kid" Roos Knocks Alex "The Rocket" Rtishchev Off Course!
From Alex's email looks like Sean came out of the gate launching some rockets of his own with lots of low hard serves. The barrage continued in both games and Sean won in straight games 5 and 6. Alex also told me they were interrupted by people dressed up in Armor with weapons and they where hacking up Court 5. It's hard to beleive, but stranger things have happened.

Dave Pollak takes Steven Brukner to three games and wins 11, (6), and 6. Wife is getting annoyed again. Think as a whole, we've been playing by the rules of reserving courts and stuff, but Intramurals and now these armored guys keep messing up our good time. Can't wait for these Intramurals to be over. It's no wonder I like running leagues in the Summer.

2/20/08 Steven Brukner works his way to 4th
Gotta hurry up wife is getting pissed. Tonight Steven went up against Pat and won in a tie-breaker. (12), 9, and 8. Pretty close battle, I'm sure Pat gave it everything he had. Things will keep changing as people play out their matches.

2/20/08 Surprise...Surprise...Surprise. Delgado Sweeps Tuesday!
After playing like three games and then a breaker match with Brukner, I was not thinking a lot of "happy" thoughts about playing Dave Pollak and Pat Kilcoyne. Neither were One Lee, Silas Clark, and Chris Jacquet. I started a post on Meet and Play about mental toughness and one of the responses, from dponder, wrote to say a prayer. I took it the wrong way and I prayed to "Win." Actually I said, "I want to win this." when I sat in the locker room. It was also the first time I was prepared with my headbands, water, and Gatorade.

My first match was against Dave Pollak. I've know Dave for a long time and usually there's one quirk that used to mess me up. Suddenly his score would increase by one, I don't think it's intentional but it sure did affect me in the past. I made a smart move and recorded the scores on the sheet before taking my time out. So when it happened, I knew there was no second guessing on my part. We had a pretty heated match as I've come to expect. It was also the first time I focused a game plan around my opponent's equipment. I know all about light racquets, I wasted a lot of time on them. I just don't swing fast enough to use them properly. So when Dave showed up with a Wilson N-Code 150 gram racquet. My first thought was how do I get him tired. Make him harder and make him hit longer. I think it worked. I walked away with the win (6), 6, and 4.

Next match was against Pat Kilcoyne. I thought I'd better not lose to a tennis player especially after that E-Force link. I was surprised to see a backhand on some of his shots. My strategy was also to keep the ball in play and minimize my mistakes. He clawed his way back and forced a breaker. I can't seem to shake these breakers. I knew I need to bring whatever I had left and go for it. I won 7, (12), and 4.

In other action, Alex Rtischev lost his perfect record against Joel Greengarten 12 and 9. Joel commented afterward that it was a tough match and that Alex finally lost that "pansy" serve of past leagues. So Alex has definetely improved over the last league. Abe Pollak walked away with straight games against Claudio Ortiz 8 and 2. Claudio said on his way out that his calf injury might be league threatening. I hope not, keep stretching it out.

Pat stepped back on the court with Abe after Pat and I finished. I think I saw Abe almost giddy with anticipation. Pat admitted afterward that he was flat and lost 4 and 6.

2/18/08 Steven Brukner Back to Back Wins
Steven started off against me and we went three games. I heard from Alex that he was a power hitter, so I decided to start off with a control game. Big mistake. Lost the first game 15-6. Second game, used the opposite strategy and I won 15-5. Steven has a lot of power, but his placement and serves seemed a little erratic. He had some pretty good DTL shots. Tie breaker I was up 9-6 and Steven chipped away. Disappointing match point since I hit a shot that came off the back wall and hit my racquet. Sean told me, "Those damn kids." Or something. I thought it was pretty funny.

Watched a minute or two of Steven's match against Sean Roos. Seems I was bothering the "kids". So I left. Steven had already played one lefty and was hot to start the second match. He walked away with straight games 5 and 7. In other action, we had Abe Pollak and Ronny Choy. Abe broke his two game losing streak 3 and 6.

2/16/08 W/L Records Posted
It's not ideal yet, but I'm slowly pulling more information out of my Racquetball Database. Some things are going to require more time than others to fix, but I at least wanted to get players an idea of who the current leaders are. A couple of people are undefeated and it'll be interesting to see the matches when they finally catch up to each other.

02/15/08 No Love Lost Here.
Had a couple of matches on Valentine's Day despite the promises to signifficant others and a big time scheduling problem. First, we had Dave Pollak defeat Ronny Choy in straight games 1 and 9, to reclaim his #4 spot in ELO. We also had Sean Roos continue his winning streak against Abe Pollak rolling out double 7's and climbing up another 6 spots to 23rd in ELO rankings. It's definetely turning out to be a stronger league than I expected.

02/14/08 Nick Holerca and Claudio Ortiz Increase Rankings
Nick went three games against newcomer Pat Kilcoyne. Nick admitted he wasn't focused during the first game, but as the match progressed it became razor sharp. In the breaker, I saw Nick put just about every shot Pat hit away. Nick closed out the match (14), 5, and 1. Claudio also played me and it also went three games. Claudio got some good momentum going and I couldn't stop it. Claudio closed out the match, (6), 7, and 6. My friend, One Lee, asked me what happened the next morning at work and said, "Shame on you."

.02/09/08 Delgado vs. Holerca.
A brutal seventy minute match! Strategic Timeouts, some long rallies, a couple of injuries. It doesn't get any better. I've known Nick for a long time and I consider him among my personal friends. I put that aside last night. I didn't just want to win, I wanted to prove that I can hang in there and keep my focus. Last time, I think Nick injured his back and I kind of let up, which pissed me off. This time he hit a crazy around the world shot and when I hit the shot, I got him with my follow through. I actually got him twice with my follow through. Just standing a little too close. Anyway I expressed my concern and went right back to my plan. So I compartmentalized pretty well. I knew Nick wasn't going to give up.

Second game, I caught myself admiring a couple of my shots. They racquet started to make that cracking sound and the ball sailed, too bad it didn't have the accuracy. Nick started to bring the heat also. So it was a slug fest. The hundred or so shots I drilled on Wednesday was a big help.

It pretty close at the end. By the time of Nick's second time out it was 10-9 his in the breaker. He closed out the match 13, (5), and 9. Not the outcome I was looking for, but I can say I went for it. Great match Nick. Technifibre still rules!

02/08/08 Newcomers showing some stuff out there!
First we had Sean Roos take out a veteran of my leagues in straight games, Dave Pollak, 9 and 7. Sean was all business in his email told me the score and asked me to reschedule his match with Joel. Dave admitted he's in a slump and he dropped from 4th to 5th in ELO Rankings. Sean jumped up six spots to 29th.

Another necomer Pat Kilcoyne took B's runner up Alex Rtischev to a breaker, but Alex closed out the match. 9, (6), and 5. Alex noted Pat's very fast and uses some, dare I write it, Tennis serves. It reminds me of one of E-Force's latest Ads. Cause Racquetball Ain't Tennis! I think the ad is great.

Anyway Alex is inching toward Nick's #1 ELO spot. Alex and Nick are pretty damn close in W/L, Nick only has one win over Alex. So it's hard to say are they going to be at the top of the A's or the B's? So far looks like A's.

I'm still waiting on more results to come in from Thursday night.

02/07/08 My Favorite Ranking System Returns
ELO. A Chess Ranking that John Anciano helped me convert to a couple of formulas and into Racquetball is back. I pulled it from a my Racquetball Database and posted it. So far it's a pretty close race between Nick Holerca and Alex Rtishchev. I play Nick tomorrow and I'm at the bottom of the rankings. Losing to me will hurt that ranking pretty bad, but help mine immensely. So I'm going for it. I have two words for Nick. Techni-fibre. The best damn string I've ever put on a racquet!

02/07/08 The Return of Super Tuesday
Dave wrote about seven people showed up out of twelve that's pretty cool. We started off the night with Dave Pollak vs. Pat Kilcoyne. Dave won in straight games 9 and 3. Next was a pretty big upset, Alex Rtishchev took out Abe Pollak in straight games 10 and 13. Abe has been pretty competative in A's for years taking 2nd and 3rd place trophies. Sure Abe will start getting up to speed now.

Claudio Ortiz went to three games against newcomer Steve Brukner: (4), 9, 6. Lastly Pat Kilcoyne stepped back on the court against the returning A Champ Joel Greengarten and lost in straight games 3 and 9.

It'll be interesting in the coming weeks to see who the league leaders are going to be. My wife starts a new job in a couple of weeks, so my play schedule is going to change again. Let's just say "Super Thursday" might be coming!

02/02/08 Nick Holerca vs. Ronny Choy
Last league's B Champ, Nick Holerca, took on newcomer Ronny Choy from William Paterson University. Ronny seemed a little nervous and double faulted about eight times according to Nick. Nick was able to close out the match in straight games 6 and 8. Afterward, I joined the guys for a game of cut-throat and see Ronny has some pretty good shot power, but might need a little brushing up on some of the rules and tactics.

We also have Patrick Kilcoyne who won C/D Douglas Intramurals last year and plays pretty well against the Busch crowd, so looks like we have a league gentlemen. Thank you for your support and good luck.

01/30/08 1st Match. Alex Rtishchev vs. T-Jay Hu.
It was played out on Busch Campus, which is prefectly ok. Anyway Alex wanted a perfect score against T-Jay, but T-Jay avoided two trips to the donut shop with 4 and 4. Alex acknowledged that T-Jay has improved.

I saw Alex at Cook and he played a couple of games with Frank Cai. Alex was telling Frank about with final match vs. Nick Holerca and how limping an all Nick still closed out the match to take first place. I told Frank it was all about the stories that happen on the court that make the league interesting.

Also Alex has been spending a lot of time on Busch Campus lately, so it should be interesting to see how he's improved. Leigh Marshall sent me an email today saying that it would help my game. I'd rather stick to old fashioned drilling right now.

01/28/08 League FAQ Posted
My car has issues again, so I'm home alone with no work access. So decided to write a League FAQ.

01/27/08 Schedule Posted
Happy to announce the intial schedule has been posted by Date and by Player.

01/23/08 Let's Go! Time to Step Up!!
Claudio Ortiz sent me an email, "Let's do it!" I couldn't agree more, but I'm still waiting for some people to create member accounts and maybe some will start to send money.

01/09/08 Looks like Eleven Players Is It.
Two more players round out the league. Bill S. returns to the league along with a newcomer Sheryl Oeftering. Considering how much time I spent on the courts, the bunch of players who graduated, and stuff. Eleven is pretty good and some new blood is in the group too like Sean and Steve. So I'll start getting things together.

12/19/07 Want more than Nine!
Claudio, Dave, Nick, Sean, and Steve have asked about the league start. I get the nagging feeling that I can do better than nine people. Maybe we should start small and maybe Alex was right that even people who are interested may not remember to fill out the form. I can accept it being a small league, a lot of people have left Rutgers or stopped playing consistently. So we're going to rebuild this year, but I need to take one more stab at it.

12/03/07 Nice sounds coming from the court...
I finally played tonight at Cook, last week was a complete wash. Anyway I walk down the corridor on the way to the locker room and I can tell what skill level is playing on the court from the way the ball sounds on the wall. Well I heard the ball pretty loud and I walked down to court 5 to see Sean and Steve playing a game. They were both pretty excited about the league and I told them it's optional to play before the Holidays and I was still trying to get more people involved. They still play on Thursdays and Joel still gives them a hard time.

About two weeks ago, I saw Nick--haven't seen him in about a year--so we played a couple of games. At first, I saw the rust, but he quickly shook that off and started playing harder. He had the longest running winning streak ever and back to back B trophies. So it should be interesting this year.

11/06/07 Pretty Strong B League
Five of the nine players signed up so far have placed in at least one league and tournament. That's pretty cool and as I participant I'm already getting excited about it. Will the newcomers break into the top three?

10/25/07 "No Better Time than Now!"
Ok, so it's borrowed from a Rage Against the Machine Song. I've lost a lot of momentum promoting Racquetball and it's time to get some of it back. The biggest wake-up call was losing a court on each campus. Busch lost one to a spinning class and Cook lost one for additional gym equipment. The numbers may not be the greatest this league or maybe even the next one, but it's important to keep going.

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