Saturday, December 21, 2013

The 12 Costs of Christmas


So for the past couple of years I have been contributing to the blog, I have typically done a Christmas post.  While somewhat creative, I have felt I have exhausted my efforts in parlaying tennis themes to Christmas themes, and just thought….Why the hell not vent?

My guess is that most the guys that read this blog are middle-aged guys, working hard, supporting a family, love tennis, beer , and most likely “enduring the costs of Christmas”.  So perhaps I can share my day that led me to drinking Mamba Taxis at MiCocina at 4 PM to get back in Christmas Spirit.

It first started off by taking my car into the shop at 8 a.m. for the 3rd time in two weeks for maintenance and repair.  I won’t bore you with the details, but don’t make the mistake of buying German automotives that have 3 initials.  I have owned them twice.  They are great to drive, but like a woman that is fun to drive, they are high maintenance. 

I then headed over to the mall to buy the iPhone 5s.  Excuse me, iPhone 5s’s, that my wife, daughter, and son decided to reserve for themselves for Christmas.  Best Buy was having a sale for $75 off iPhones, so why not, right?   Since I handle the finances, I had to go over there and pony up, not only for the cost of the phones, but also for the data plans that must accompany such phones.   My wife sees something for sale and feels compelled to buy, not thinking through the recurring, on-going costs.  I know.  I have a car, that although is paid off, has an on-going recurring cost.  But I bring home the bacon, I get a break there.

So far, I have been lucky.  My daughter wanted the iPhone 4s two Christmases ago, and being the hard-nose bad ass parent I am, I made her beg, and told her the only way we would get it, is if she paid for the data herself.  So she saved her hard-earned baby-sitting money and gave me cash up-front for 2 years of data.   In the meantime, I decided to upgrade to the iPhone myself, and gave my 5-year old Blackberry with no data plan to my wife, and my youngest son who was 10 at the time, got a basic no data phone to call for emergencies.   I know.  I’m cruel, and paybacks are a bitch.

I get the song and dance of how school is now having the kids access various study material on-line, and that they need lightning fast internet with so much data access per month, yadi –yadi- yada. 

So I find myself at Best Buy, buying 3 new iPhone 5s’s, and having to convert my wife and son to new data plans.  I really don’t care about the cost of the phone.  It’s the increase of my recurring cell phone bill of $100/month.  If you think about what we pay to stay connected.  Over $200 in cell usage, $100 for home phone & internet, and $100+ for Direct TV.  When you include surcharges and taxes, that’s close to $500 per month or $6,000 each year to have communication throughout the household.   I’m sorry, but is it really worth that much to “stay connected”?

I then had my 90 year old father calling me about something he was needing as I was writing an $8,000 check to Kenneth Mauhn – Property Tax collector for Collin County, before strategically exiting from the house from “honey-do’s” so I could go sneak off to the gym and walk on the beloved treadmill since my knees can no longer handle running on the pavement.

Anyhow, after my so-called “work-out” of treadmill walking, sauna, and steam room, the only way I could stay half sane, was to go see my buddy Juan and MiCo and have some nice stiff Mambas to sooth the pain. 

So back to the blog.  Maybe instead of the “Twelve Days of Christmas”, we can come up with the “Twelve Costs of Christmas”.   I’ve got #4 with “….4 data plans…”

Can you help me with the rest?.......

CF




Wednesday, November 27, 2013

2014 Ratings and 40 and Over league

UPDATE:
Check Your Rating HERE:
http://tennislink.usta.com/Leagues/reports/NTRP/AdvancedSearch.aspx 
(Make sure to select 2014)

ATTENTION:
Men's 40 and Over league registration opens TODAY!!
And CLOSES on next Monday 12/09/2013.
That means you only have 7 days to get a team together.
If you want to play 40+ this winter get your hustle on!!!!


Not much time to do an elaborate post here but got tired of scrolling down 300 + comments to see whats been posted.  Actually took me a week to figure out and find the "Load More" option.  And heck, I'm a blog contributor.  Must have been heck for the common Anon out there.

Anyhow, ratings should be out Monday with lots to talk about.  Also thought would try a new look with the blog.  Feel free to say you like or dislike.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving day.  We all have plenty to be thankful for.

Captain Fantastic

Thursday, October 31, 2013

2014 Tri-Level Preview


Looks like outside of Alzuro, there is no longer an interest in the Junior Tri.  They should probably just eliminate it all together given last year’s Sectionals was the best of 3 matches played against 2 teams (Dallas and SETX).  Why bother, and looks like that will be the case this year since Dallas has no teams. 

So the pursuit of real Tri -Level

First, to clarify why there is such a pursuit of putting together a team that can advance.  As other tournaments, the winner of City goes on to play Sectionals.  As far as the USTA and ratings are concerned, that is it.  It is a misconceived perception that Tri Level goes to a USTA Sanctioned National event.  IT DOES NOT.  That is why you will never find anything in tennislink beyond Sectionals for Tri Level.

There is a National event, but it is sponsored and run by the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, completely independent and outside of the USTA, called the Tri-Level Invitational Championships.  Well, I say independent.  Acutally, the players are chosen by taking the Sectional winners from the  USTA Tri-Level Tournament, and our local Section helps support the team and their registration.  But it is not sanctioned, and it does not count towards ratings.
 
Tom Fey, IWTG’s Tennis Director, runs the tournament and does a fabulous job.  He sponsors the event during the final weekend of the BNP Paribas Open, and provides players with tickets to the Quarters, Semis, and Finals of the BNP Paribas matches.  Nice little perk.  The winner is then acknowledged center court in-between matches if network scheduling allows (which is not always the case).  This is IWTG’s way of marketing directly to the top recreational tennis players around the country, and saying thanks for being a part of the game.  Now you see why teams are vying to win this thing?

Now that that is clear, who will be going and representing Dallas?

In prior years, Dallas typically would have their 2 strongest teams go, as Fort Worth Tri-Level was used as an outlet to have another Dallas team make.  This year, Dallas has all of their guns playing locally.  Dallas typically gets a Wild-Card so that means the two top teams will go.  Or does it?
 
From the looks of it, I have to give nod to Pickett and Le for having the 2 strongest rosters.  However, what happens if they land in the same flight?

From my understanding and past discussions with the DTA, it is a blind draw when it comes to tournaments like this.  You could possibly have a flight that has Le, Pickett, Sisk and McHugh all in one flight.  I would say those are the top 4 teams, and it would be an injustice to the tournament to have them all flighted together.   However, it could happen.

What it does do is open the door for teams playing out of Fort Worth.  Looks like Pickett was going to initially go that route (registering for a team) but elected to play Dallas.  Le has also done so in the past, but has decided to go head-to-head in the Dallas tournament.  Fort Worth’s tournament isn’t until December, so plenty of time to get a roster together if you want to make a trip to Houston for Sectionals.

That leads me to my next question, will it matter who wins Dallas given the strength of Freeman’s 4.0s and 4.5s ?  Personally, I still like Dallas’s chance because I think our city has stronger 3.5s, and like it or not, that is typically the determining line.  4.5 and 4.0 is so competitive and close, anything can happen and usually wins come down to 3rd set breakers.  With 3.5 secured, it makes a tri-level win much easier.

Those our my thoughts.  What are yours?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Dallas 3.5s Bring Home 1st 40 and Over National Title


With all the flack the USTA gets, I have to give them credit for a job well done in running the 40 and Over National Tournament.  It was First Class all the way.  From the luxurious accommodations at the LaQuinta Walsdorf Asoria Resort, to matches being played where the pros play at the Indian Wells Tennis Center, this was truly an experience of a lifetime. 

The USTA goes even further by their actual wrap-up of the weekend and final showdown on their website.  See attached links: 

http://www.usta.com/Adult-Tennis/USTA-League/dramatic_victories_highlight_championship_sunday_at_35_nationals/
 
In honesty, the past few threads have exhausted me with the multitude of comments and discussions about what it takes to get to Nationals and win, much less just to make an appearance.  This weekend I saw living proof that tennis is alive and well across the country.  From the shores of Jersey to the flats of Ohio, down to sleepy little towns like Lake Charles, Louisiana, there was talent abroad that made going to play for the first 40 and Over national title an exciting challenge that would not come easy.  Going to 3rd set breakers 8 times, the fate of winning or losing came down to a matter of a couple of points.
 
The chatter on the blog leads you to believe that you can’t have fun and have to be cheating or tanking to make the trip, but this year’s 1st Men’s 40 and over title winners tell you otherwise.  This year’s winner tells you that the key ingredients consist of a captain with wisdom, dedication, experience, and good intuition & judgment, teammates that have no egos, that have sincerity, compassion, and a drive to excel, and people who have the ability to share a vision that is far out but are willing to be patient, and slowly chip away towards their goal.  

We saw a season that started back in December 2012 and stretched through to Sectionals not being held until September 2013.  Memories of matches played in 30 degree temps and blustering winds to sauna like humidity down in San Antonio.

I have been fortunate to twice be a part of a team that has made the trip and has come back home with the hardware.  The common thread I see were a bunch of guys that truly had good friendships, respected what each person brought to the table, and truly enjoyed being around each other, both on and off the court. 
 
It truly is an experience of a lifetime to have from the hundreds of thousands of players, and thousands of teams, to have the top players from across the country converge all in one place competing.  The USTA "suggests" bringing a small token gift from your state for the players of the opposing team.  Of course the ladies have a hey day with this, but is rarely seen to be done by the men.  However, our stand-in-captain and singles player, Stephen Graham, decide to bring baseball caps that simply said "Dallas" on the front of them.  What I thought was once a hokey gesture turned into brilliance, as all of our competitors truly appreciated the gesture. 
 
On Finals Sunday, (as described by the USTA website, a "dramatic showdown"), players whom were knocked out in flight play, showed up at Indian Wells Tennis Center to come watch the finals.  Players and spouses of players, from the Pacific Northwest to Albuquerque, New Mexico were there with their Dallas baseball caps on, cheering for our Dallas team as it entered into a decisive 3rd set showdown.  Words can't describe what it is like to see people who you don't even know, pulling for your team, and wearing gear supporting your city. 
 
It then made me wonder, if other competitors whom we played and beat from across the country can pull together and support those whom they just played and advanced, why can't our own city do the same??
 
I have refrained several times from putting out new threads because the blog has become a place for people to maliciously bash one another.  Not what I think the purpose of the blog should be.  Perhaps we could refocus our efforts and learn how to make it a more resourceful place to help our teams here in Dallas continue building great teams.  Just a thought.
 

Anyhow, a well deserved toast to Keith Clark, whom if I had to describe with one word, it would be wise.  And to my teammates, whom I would describe as friends.  Thanks for the good times, and better times ahead.  Cheers!!

 
 Captain Fantastic

Monday, September 23, 2013

5.0 Nationals!!

Oscar Flores TBar team is headed to Indian Wells this week for 5.0 Nationals.

He has assembled a very strong team and they have been practicing hard for many weeks now.

Let's all get behind his team and support them and wish them the best for what will hopefully be a successful run in Indian Wells starting on Friday.

Last weekend they scrimmaged against the TCU team and apparently the bulk of the team will be making the trip including the best players.

Good Luck Oscar and team!

Roster:

  • Dawid Kuczer 5.5
  • Andrew Plum
  • Alex Behar
  • Brett Ryan
  • Rafa Valdez
  • Henry Gonzales
  • Shane Johnson
  • Tom Bartzen
  • Byron Talbot
  • Ryan Haley
  • Ryan Friend
  • Jeremy Stone
  • Nick Plum 5.5
  • Stuart Keplar
  • Travis Rich
  • Pablo Mayorga
  • Larry Pascal

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Houston Hurricane Downgraded to Tropical Depression; Stalled By Dallas Cold Front

When Houstonians infiltrate our Dallas Blog and talk trash, how do we respond?  With Dallas/Fort Worth teams showing up in the 40's and Over Finals across the board in 3.5, 4.0, and 4.5, and a NO SHOW by Houston.  The humidity was high in San Antonio this past weekend, but Dallas teams came pulling through in 3.5 & 4.0 taking the first State Title in 40’s and Over.

At 3.5, Keith Clark’s team came prepared to play, starting things off at 7 AM Friday morning SWEEPING Houston 5-0.  They then faced a combatant San Antonio Wild winning a tough 3-2 battle in a 3rd set breaker.   The team then faced a very tough Austin, winning in a nail-clinching 3rd set breaker to make the trips to Nats.  It couldn’t have been won by a greater set of doubles partners, one of which flew down about 12 of his family members and friends (“the clan”) to witness his composure on the court in action.  Clark’s singles were the bedrock of his team, never dropping a set all weekend long.  A great captain, and a great group of guys which I am humbly proud to be part of.  

Then at 4.0, Greg Wiley defies the odds and did what many thought was undoable, by defeating Freeman’s Houstonian Hurricanes in flight play, and then taking it all the way to the Finals and winning.  More impressive was the line ups he rolled out all weekend, somehow seemingly to know the exact strengths and weaknesses of his opponents, and then getting the perfect match ups to secure a win.  Wiley may lead you into believing he doesn’t know what he is doing, but that’s what makes him so deceptive, and he got the results he was going for.  Also, a notable mention to Leonard Hutchison who beat Houston’s Eddie Janek in a match deciding 3rd set breaker.   I call him the “surgeon”, because he dissects his opponents on the court with his serve and crafty play while remaining under composure at all times.

The 4.5s were represented by Rossouw’s 4.5 team, but were knocked out in the finals by a tough San Antonio team. 

It was a fun filled weekend and for the most part, everyone was well behaved -- Well I say that, but I didn't stay at the downtown Marriot either, so not sure what kind of action I missed out on.  The rumors of me having an adverse reaction to Viagra and pain medicine is not true.  However, I did play a 3 setter against San Antonio with a heart in A-fib and a pulse rate of 190 +.  Thankfully I made it off the court with no trips to the hospital.  
 
It was nice to play a great group of guys across our fine state.  In our draw, Austin and San Antonio were formidable competitors and a class-act group of guys who exemplified true sportsmanship. 

Good luck to both Clark’s and Wiley’s teams, as they go to Indian Wells in October representing Dallas and Texas.
 
 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

40 & Over - Sectional Preview



Before the blog becomes too stale, I figured the next thing on the horizon worth commenting on is the upcoming Sectionals for 40 and over.  This should be a great weekend down in San Antonio, with both Men’s and Women’s teams at levels 3.5, 4.0, and 4.5+ traveling.  My guess is the Riverwalk Marriot will be one hopping place on Saturday night.

What I like about the 40 and over league is that it really does sift out a lot of the riff raff you see in 18+ and over.  There are no self-rates, and no young ringers.  Pretty much the playing field is level with everyone playing where they are supposed to be.  And whoever the psyco is with the obsession of Kelly, 4.5 is a 4.5+ league, allowing 5.0 players, so don’t pollute the blog with your Kelly rantings.

So here is the low down for the weekend:

3.5 Men
Keith Clark’s team is representing Dallas, and should represent well.  His team is comprised of many of the players he had on his 18+ team that reached the semi-finals at Sectionals, only falling to Freeman’s Houston team.  Clark’s team will need to be juiced and ready to go out of the gates, as they face Houston first thing at 7:00 A.M Friday morning, followed by playing Wild San Antonio  at 11:30 A.M. 

The good news is that this is a different Houston team, and only one player on their roster played on Freeman’s 18 and over Sectional team.  The fact that Clark took 2 out of the 3 doubles lines, and the dubs they did drop were  to self-rates, I like their odds.  Wild San Antonio is a  bit of a different story.  Their team is mainly comprised of players that also played 18 and over.  While their team was undefeated in flight play, they went 0-3 in City Playoffs and did not make the trip to Sectionals.   If Dallas wins both matches on Friday, they should be playing in the finals on Sunday morning.

4.0 Men
Greg Wiley’s team is representing Dallas, with Tom Peterson’s team representing Dallas Wild. Wiley has an impressive roster with top players from Le’s and Sisk’s teams with a few other of his Garland and Lifetime buddies..  Wiley’s team was not that fortunate with the draw, getting Wild Houston in their flight.  Unfortunately, Wild Houston is rostered with several players that played on Freeman’s 18 and over team that thumped everyone in Sectionals just weeks ago.  The good news is, the other 2 teams in his flight are not that strong, and should be good warm up matches before their showdown which is on Saturday at 11:30 A.M.  If Wiley gets past Houston, I like their chances to go all the way.

Peterson was a little bit luckier and has Midland, Amarillo, and San Antonio in their flight.  This is a solid team, but a bit of an eclectic collection of players that looks primarily like a merger of  Lakes players (some who defected to Garland and others who didn’t) with Klamecki’s Wagon Wheel team, graced with  the presence of Ohl & Beers  from Greenhill.  Outside of Klamecki being on the team, I see no reason they don’t win their flight easily, with perhaps a little bit of a fight with S.A.  While I haven’t had time (nor the energy or patience with Tennislink)  to analyze all of the teams, my guess is they face Houston in the Semis.  Since Wild Houston appears to be the stronger of the Houston teams, I tip favor to Wild Dallas to get out of the Semis and make the finals.  If Wiley beats Wild Houston, they should face NOHO in the Semis, and we could have an all Dallas final.  Now that would be a nice payback to Houston!!

4.5 + Men
As stated before, the plus sign is there for a reason, because this is 4.5 + 5.0's.  Dallas is represented by Greenhill Sweeney and has none other than Mr. Kelly on his roster along with Bent Tree’s Craig Bell, Spring Park’s Abbruzzese, and 3 other 5.0s.  Looks like a solid team.  But in the same flight they have Fort Worth which is Marc Rossouw’s Wagon Wheel team.  Marc did it again building an impressive roster of notable 4.5s from across the city to form a super team.  This time, I think he has the man power to go all the way.  While my knowledge of 4.5 players is limited, I like Sweeney’s team, but I think I like Roussouw’s team better (or at least know more of his players).  He has Myers, Feldman, Miles, Durten, Schwartz, and Mudsam, just to name a few, along with a couple of 5.0 rated players. 

In the opposing flight is Houston, San Antonio, and Austin.  While your inclinations would default to choosing Houston, you have to refrain as this is not a Freeman team, and none of these players were playing at the 18 and over Sectionals just weeks ago.  While I didn’t have the inclination to look up San Antonio’s team and Austin’s team, to see if they had any players playing in 18 and over Sectionals, I still think that whoever  wins the showdown at 4:00 PM on Saturday between Dallas and Fort Worth, ends up bringing home the title, regardless of who they face.   

So there is my quick and dirty preview to the upcoming weekend in San Antonio.  As much as I would like to be a part of the action at the downtown Marriot Riverwalk, I will be camping up north since all of our matches are at Blossom.  Good luck to all teams, and lets bring some titles back home for Dallas !!!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Weekend Preview

At the request of posters, and because I’m tired of seeing the Caddyshack theme, a quick and dirty preview of this weekend.

4.0

Bazan by far has the easier path to Sunday morning, and I actually would be surprised if he doesn’t make it.  He starts off Friday morning playing QT-Laredo.  From what I can tell from Tennislink, this is the only team from Laredo, and qualified by playing a team out of Wichita Falls 3 times over a 2-day period.  That was all their whole season was comprised of.  In addition, they only have 9 players on their roster.  Laredo is a long way from Dallas, and wouldn’t be surprised if they are defaulting a line or two Friday morning, much less the rest of the weekend.  Bazan steamrolls them.

Their next match is Waco who historically has not put together that tough of a team.  They won their flight back in 2010, but outside of that, have typically ended up at the bottom of flight play.  While I wouldn’t fully discount them, I think if Cary gets through Friday, I say his chances of playing Sunday morning are looking good.  The only caveat here is that their match is at 2 PM on Friday at the peak of the sun and a very hot time.  But his guys should be well rested as Laredo is just a warm-up.

Saturday morning is North Houston (NOHO), who my guess, will be their toughest competition in flight play.   However, if they had any really good players, they would be playing for Freeman, so NOHO is the city’s leftovers.   Since it is a morning match and not too hot, I think this favors Cary and give the edge to Dallas.

Their last match is Wild San Angelo.  While it will be at the pinnacle of heat at 5:30 pm at LB Houston, it will be a cool down match and time to prepare for Sunday morning.

What’s nice for Bazan, is misery for Tony Le as he faces Houston right out of the gates Friday morning. His hope here is that all of Freeman’s boys can’t make it first thing on Friday in Dallas, which might give Tony an edge.  I don’t know all of Freeman’s players, but they had fairly easy wins in flight play, and the “grapevine” reports that he has a fairly stacked team.  Given the struggles Tony’s super-team has had this past season, I think he has a tough battle ahead of him.  That said, if he does pull off an up-set, his next toughest match in flight play won’t be until the end of Saturday against NETX.  In between, he has the Valley and Wild NOHO, which he should easily handle.  NETX went undefeated in flight play and looks solid on paper, so Tony can’t ease up here, unless he is already out of it with a Houston loss.

Sunday morning I think you see Bazan facing off against Fort Worth or Wild Austin, and Houston playing Austin on the other side of the bracket.  At that point, you need to come out and root for our home team to help them get through to the finals and heckle Freeman and squad.

4.5

Since this is so far out of my league, my insights are limited, but here you go. 
What is bad luck for Tony at 4.0, appears to be good luck at 4.5.  At least for flight play.  His 4.5 team has NETX, Midland and NOHO of which I think Le easily gets out of his flight. 

HOWEVER, and that is a BIG HOWEVER.  Fort Worth sits on the opposing flight.  Mind you, this really isn't a Fort Worth team, but rather another "Super-team" comprised mainly of Dallas ringers led by no other than Marc Roussouw himself.  (No wonder why he has been so silent on this blog!)  They appear to have tougher flight play with Austin in their flight.   While I think Austin is tough and gives them a battle, I think Fort Worth pulls through.

This then leads to probably the most exciting match of the weekend, which should be Tony Le's Dallas 4.5 team vs. Rossouw's 4.5 team in the Semis.  What a match.  I won't even try to speculate on who takes this one, but it should be good, and maybe filled with a little drama?

The winner of this will most likely face another Freeman team in the Finals.  Whoever wins, I hope a Dallas/Fort Worth team can take Freeman at 4.5, as I think Freeman will be walking away with the 4.0 title.

Regardless, best of luck to all of our Dallas teams!!

Disclosure:  The above is merely postulations and guess-work based on quick and rash analysis from Tennislink and on biases from past years’ results of cities which are no true indicators of future results.    It is no way to be deemed accurate or relied upon for purposes of placing wagers or the like.

 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I'M ALRIGHT

Well the season finale of city playoffs was as fitting as the season itself, full of twists, turns, and drama to entertain all.  Rather than total domination by one team as most former playoffs have transpired, this one was tighter than Jerry Joan’s forehead after his facelift.  Full of 3rd set breakers and potential spoilers all weekend long, this was anyone’s for grab.

 With no total dominance or huge arch rivalries, and all the wackiness this season portrayed, it was more reminiscent of a tennis version of Caddyshack with the following cast of characters.

Ty Webb (aka Tony Le) – With his cool, calm demeanor and knowing how to “be the ball”, Le was the favorite entering the weekend, having just swept Sisk 5-0 and under the table the prior weekend.  His collection of players from High Point and Lifetime along with the City’s best 4.0 player, Weymer (also known as  the Tommy Le of tennis) were to be a sure thing.  However, when Weymer is MIA on Friday night, Le has to go with an alternate line-up and nearly squeaks out of a close one with CC.  All 3 dubs went into breakers, and became a recurring theme for them all weekend long.  Unfortunately, breakers have their odds, and having breakers in each and every match, the odds you end on the short side eventually take over.

Judge Smails (aka David Dawson) – While Dawson appears to be a lot more docile and not a hot head as  Smails the character, the playing out of the country club and the desire to derail Le is somewhat stereotypical .  Like in the movie, when Smails reaches for his putter, the Billy Baroo, Dawson had his own in the form of Blake Ericsson.  Ericsson dismantled Shreyas 2-0 to in singles on Friday night which put Le in knots as 2 of Le’s double lines dropped their first sets.   The boys from the country club made an impressive run, and should be congratulated for a well played season.  A point here or there, and CC would have been playing in the finals. 

Danny Noonan (aka Corey Noel) -  Like Noonan who worked for the club, Corey runs Fair Oaks tennis center, and took on a handful of players whom he had faith in, and whom he could afford at the bargain price of 2 Miller Lights.  Terrell and company were just recently 3.5’s.  But not any 3.5’s.  They were Bender 3.5s, and were the cause of Le going to the QT in the first place.  Although their weekend’s record was 0-2, they fought like champs and almost derailed HP again having split singles and taking line 2 dubs, Terrell and Schultz took Glassgow and Arcaria to their second 3rd set breaker of the weekend.  A group of guys who had little depth, but big heart, and deserves another round of applause (or golf claps) for a season well played.

Al Czervik (aka Bovie Browning) – I actually have never had an opportunity to meet Bovie nor know what he is really like.  The reference of Browning’s Eldorado team to Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield) is for the care-free attitude and good gamesmanship they did display this weekend.  Eldorado is a player made up of good country club friends, and they appear to enjoy a beer or two together from time to time.   It is rumored that Blake Bearden practices with them on Saturday mornings until the club’s bar opens.  You definitely know the beer is flowing then.  If any player this weekend had a tennis bag that would have had a keg in it similar to Al’s golf bag in the movie, that player would have been on the Eldorado team.   They seem to be a good group of guys and had a very respectable season, knocking Garland down to the QT and out of City playoffs completely. 

Dr Beeper (aka David Snow) – Another captain and team I am unfamiliar with, but deserve blog space for making it to City playoffs and putting up a good fight.  They also have on their roster T-Bar’s owner, Glen Agritelley who has a great game of tennis of which I got to witness first hand.  They almost took out Eldorado on Friday night, just losing in a 3rd set breaker.   A tough weekend, but a great overall season.  Congrats.

 
 
Carl Spackler (aka Carl Spackler) – no one can replace Bill Murray in this role.  Nobody.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Which leaves me with the final character.........

The Gofer (aka Cary Bazan) – If you recall the movie, after Carl Spackler blows up the golf course, that “little fury creature” wiggles his way out of hole and starts doing a jig to the song that made Kenny Loggins infamous, “I’m Alright”.  Well that was Cary Bazan this weekend.  Perhaps some might feel his cheerings for the team was more reminiscent of a high school cheerleader who just inhaled a large Pixi stick and chased it down with a Red Bull and Coke, but Bazan was the last man (or creature) left standing this weekend, and deserved to do whatever jig he pleases. 

Cary has consistently built solid teams over the years and has always graced his presence in the playoffs.  But every dog (and gofer) has his day, and today’s was Cary’s.  He constructed a team of core players he has had for years, and each year, seemed to pick up a notable player or two to add depth and strength to his roster.   It all paid off, and Cary Bazan can now claim a City Title and will be playing in this year’s Sectionals.  Cary - Congratulations to your team and a job well done.

In closing, I thought I would throw out a stat which caught my attention, and truly provides the evidence that there was no overly dominant team this year.  There were 18 third set tie-breakers played throughout this weekend.  Three of those  in the final match.  There was a total of 7 total matches played, which means each match on average had at least 2, if not 3 third set breakers.  That tells me there was some great teams and great tennis across the whole City, and it is a season all Dallas players should be proud of. 

Best of luck to Bazan and Le in Sectionals.
 
video
 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Monday, June 17, 2013

Dallas League Tennis – The Way It Should Be

So with the season wrapped up, and the QT around the corner, let’s have a recap of the season. 

First, my predictions at the beginning of the season, followed by the actual winners :
(Flight winner, followed by 2nd place team going to QT, 3rd place in parenthesis)

 Predicted:                                                                 ACTUAL:

Flight A – GTC, Eldorado                                         Eldorado, GTC  (LB Houston 3rd) 

Flight B – 3 way tie Brookhaven, T-Bar &             2-way tie - T-Bar, Oak Creek
                 Oak Creek                                                (Springpark 3rd)
               
Flight C – HP, Fair Oaks                                             Fair Oaks, HP

Flight D – Canyon Creek, Royal Oaks                    Canyon Creek, Royal Oaks

Flight E – McKinney, Greenhill                                McKinney, Greenhill; (Huffhines 3rd)

With the exception of my dyslexic calls on Flight A & Flight C, you have to admit that was pretty good.  So the question begs to differ, out of having 45 teams and close to 700 players, has regular season play in Dallas tennis really become this predictable?  I only know a handful of players and made speculative guesses on many of the flight calls.  But to get it this close before a match was played?   

What I liked about this season is that the top 20% of teams and players are pretty well equal and competitive with each other on any given day.  What I got wrong was not giving enough credit to the core of Dallas tennis, and giving too much credit to the leaders of the past.   Congratulations to Eldorado for beating Sisk and team Corey for defying the odds and beating Le.  (Looks like Terrell earned his pay for those 2 Miller Lights.)  What looked like was going to be a flawless season for Bazan in Flight E , was disrupted by Hackberry with an end of season spoiler and raising concerns with some of their doubles strength.   The only team to emerge having a flawless season with no losses was the boys at Canyon Creek.  Congratulations and well deserved.  While impressive, enjoy things while they last, because I don’t think it will be that easy for you come Cities.  

So what appeared to be a foregone conclusion (a city finals with Sisk & Le) now turns to the battle in QT with only one of those teams emerging.  That is, if one does emerge.    While each of those teams have a handful of exceptional players (Le has Weimer & Glasgow; Sisk has Flora & Baker), they aren’t stacked.  The remainder of their rosters (while seasoned) appear to be on equal footing with other team rosters coming to the dance.  This was proven to us throughout the season by other teams with no hired guns on their roster able to take lines from each of these teams.   Also, the late additions to both of these rosters by both captains tells me they are still needing depth.  Sisk added a couple of self-rates so not sure if their losses are real or planned.  Le has recruited additional computer rated players, going as far west as to Fort Worth.  My question is why?  

In addition, will all of their players be available for the QT weekend?  I am sure when the season began the QT was not on either of these captain’s calendar.  This is an unexpected weekend they are having to play, and having to get their top players clearance for two straight weekends in the midst of summer vacations might be challenging.  The question is will Sisk need to get clearance from any parole officers for his newly recruited self rates?   

Even if one of these teams does emerge, it is a difficult task taking a team through 4 matches in the QT and then playing the following week in Cities.  In fact, I do not know of a team in the past that has won the QT to go on and win Cities.      

What becomes even more interesting and a topic of debate  is how the DTA will determine the flights.   I know I was disappointed this year with Roland Garros seeding 1-3, 2-4, which gave cause for the true final occurring in the semis.  The US Open did the same seeding.  However, if you look at the Australian and Wimbeldon, they seeded 1-4, 2-3.  In looking at years past of Dallas City Playoffs, I don’t follow any pattern.  If you look at the last time there were flights in City, which was 2011, it appears they seeded based on lines won, not matches won since two flights only had 7 matches as opposed to the other 3 flights having 8 matches.  That year, they were flighted 1-3, 2-4.  If you look back to 2010, it is a bit more confusing.  All but one flight had 8 matches.  If you look at matches won, they seeded 1-2, 3-4.  If you look at games won, there is no pattern as 2-3-4  were all in the same flight.  Rumor has it that they have been known to do “blind” draws if some teams had unequal amounts of matches.  Perhaps that’s what they did in 2010.  This year, all teams from all flights played 8 matches so I don’t think that would be the case.    Regardless, if you look at matches won or games won, it still seeds Le as 1st and Sisk as 2nd.

To make matters even more interesting, this is the 1st time they have given 3rd place teams a seeding in the QT. The  QT has typically been round-robin with no flights, so there is no real precedence here.   Given the wacky Fall play-off format we had, I think any seeding is possible.  What if the DTA actually tried to level the playing field some and for the QT seed 1st and 2nd place in the same play-off flight, followed by 3rd and 4th place in the opposing flight?  I’m not saying that is going to happen (although that’s how it was flighted in 2010), and would be surprised if it does, but that would mean you would have the GTC/HP showdown before Sunday.  Now wouldn’t that be amusing. 

My understanding is that schedules won’t be released until the week of play-offs, so we will all be in a quandary until then.  If it is 1-3-5-7 and 2-4-6-8, it will be Le, Ohl, Brauer & Walters in one flight and Sisk, Head, Parsons & Prather in the other. Regardless of how the flights are determined and seeded, the difficult part is calling a winner.   Whether in the same flight or not, I still believe we will see a GTC/HP match.  Given the recent roster adds, with Sisk having a few self-rates as unknown commodities, and Le’s added computer rates while good but not overly impressive, I have to go with Sisk winning.  I think Ohl makes honorable mention, if not for finishing 3rd, at least for keeping me hydrated out there watching.  Greg- your cooler is safe with me! 

As far as Cities, we will look at that once we know the QT winner.   I think this year it is anyone’s to grab. 

Good luck to all teams playing in both events.  

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Nothing Is A Given



Nadal lost to Rosol in the 2nd round of Wimbeldon in 2012.  He lost to Soderling in the 4th round of the French in ’09.  Other greats have stumbled. 

 I don’t want to compare Dallas tennis to the top tier of the ATP and not up to elaborating with a full post, but I feel the following warrants a separate thread and deserves a place for its own conversation. 

GTC  LOSES TO ELDORADO

This coupled with the loss of HP/Le to Fair Oaks, QT becomes a lot more interesting, and 4.0 City Playoffs are wide open.

Based on this news, I wouldn’t be surprised if the spouses at Canyon Creek are already planning a post-season party for their play-off bound boys.   

Let the bashing begin……


Monday, May 20, 2013

ratings estimate

changing the subject..... kindof

mid-year ratings will be posted in July.  Typically before play-offs.

I believe that they will not include tournaments or mixed or tri-level but will include fall league play-offs, 40s league and spring league matches

Last year I found this link:

http://computerratings.blogspot.com/2012/11/estimated-dynamic-ntrp-reports.html

Kevin Schmidt can be contacted at:
computerratings@techrunning.com

He accepts paypal and the report costs $20 ($30 to include sectionals)

It is not official USTA but a simulation based on his tools and assessments.  I found it quite interesting

I would encourage those of you that are interested to send some business Kevin's way.

Monday, May 13, 2013

4.5 & 5.0 update

4.5 mid-season update:

These are the teams that appear to have a shot at the play-offs:

  1. High Point/ Le 4&0 (still have GlenEagles & Royal Oaks ahead) flight C
  2. Brookhaven/ Goswami 5&0 (still have Lakes & Village to play) B
  3. JCC 5&0 (Still have Oak Creek/ Herget ahead) A
  4. GlenEagles 4&0 (High Pt & Sisk) C
  5. Fair Oaks 4&1 (BHaven/ Harlee) A
  6. Lakes/ Way 4&1 (BHaven/ Goswami) B
  7. Village 3&2 (already in QT via Fall win) B
  8. Oak Creek/ Herget 4&1 (JCC & Brookhaven/ Harlee) A
  9. Royal Oaks 3&1 (Sisk & High Pt) C
  10. Sisk 3&1 (Royal Oaks and GlenEagles) C
  11. Brookhaven/ Harlee 4&1 (Fair Oaks & Oak Creek) A
  12. TBar 3&2 (Greenhill & Village) B
  13. Greenhill 3&2 (TBar) B
Technically still in it are Canyon Creek 4&1; Collin College 3&2, Oak Creek/ Myrick 3&2 but they are behind the 8 ball re schedule remaining and tiebreakers

Likely flight winners & automatic to Cities at this stage appear to be:
A: JCC
B: Brookhaven/ Goswami
C: winner of High Pt vs GlenEagles
+ QT winner

Correction to previous post: QT will have 6 teams! 2nd place teams plus Village plus next 2 best 3rd place teams

5.0:

I believe there is a 3 team play-off.  With the Village winning a close match this past weekend over Oscar's Tbar team, I believe they will now get a bye and play either TBar or the 3rd place finisher for a shot at Sectionals. That looks to be Corey's Fair Oaks team!  What a season Corey is having with a strong 4.0 team, great 4.5 team and likely 5.0 play-off team.

Of course they have to beat the formidable Oak Creek/ Monkee team..... 

{what a joke!  I am very disappointed (although not surprised) with what Joel is conspiring here.  It's the worst kept secret in Dallas that he is trying to get Phy, Jean, Almazan & Kelly all down at 4.5 to make a run at nationals 4.5 next year.  I don't understand it.  It can't be any fun!  All of those guys would be extremely successful at 5.0 - they are great players.  Hell, Jean did well at Sectionals for the Blumberg team last year!  Why not play the best competition every week? It is pathetic!  My nativity thought they had turned over a new leaf but the fall and now this spring's antics indicate otherwise!  Everyone of them should be embarrassed! To those of you that play on their teams, whether you tank or not, remember that other's perception of you is influenced by the company you keep........ 

As a result Fair Oaks is a shoe in to take 3rd and showdown vs Tbar}

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Midpoint Season Review


Interesting weekend for Mother’s Day.
4.0 is scheduled to play on Saturday and will have to put any weekend plans for Mamma on hold.  Out of 5 flights of teams, the first place and second place team will be playing each other in 3 of the 5 flights.
Flight A is between Garland and Eldorado – When you look at up-to-date stats, each team has 22 wins, 3 losses, 9 sets lost.  Eldorado has fewest games lost at 128.  On paper, it makes up for a great match.  In reality, neither team has really been tested, and I have to favor Sisk with a 4-1 win.  Eldorado should secure 2nd for a trip to QT.

Flight B  Springpark/Walters and T Bar/Snow – T Bar stumbled to Oak Creek a few weeks back and could be an indication they are not as tough as Springpark who beat OC.  They still have Brookhaven/Bartlett  to face although not sure what is going on with Brookhaven having lost to Fretz/Jayaram 1-4.   Springpark should finish out the season taking this flight, with a 3-way fight between Brookhaven, Oakcreek and T Bar for 2nd.
Flight C  - High Point/Le and Fair Oaks/Noel face off as well.  Both teams are undefeated and both teams very close in stats like flight A with same # of wins and losses.  High Point has fewer sets lost by 1, but Fair Oaks has 12 fewer games lost.  Again, like flight A, it’s one thing on paper, but another story once they hit the courts.  Neither team has been challenged, so the numbers to this point are meaningless.  However, if Le doesn’t have his top 8 and Noel has his, I think it becomes a closer match than one would expect, but still take Le with a 3-2 win.

Flight D – no drama this weekend for this flight.  Canyon Creek/Dawson leads the pack followed by Gleneagles/Fults.  This flight will have their showdown the last week with these teams facing each other.  I still go with CC taking this flight.
Flight E – McKinney/Bazan and Huffhines/Prather are both undefeated and face off each other next weekend.   Bazan has won 2 matches 5-0 and the other 2 matches 4-1.  Prather has won all of their matches 4-1.  Can Greenhill/Ohl provide an upset this weekend and knock Huffhines off their undefeated path?  Just depends on how many beers Greg has in his cooler and if they hit a few before they step on the court.

So with Mamma to please, will enough of the boys get a hall pass to play and each team come stacked with their best rosters?  Or will Mamma, tired of the Sunday Brunch buffet, demand that the weekend is tennis free, and matches get postponed or teams exposed to vulnerabilities?   

Post your thoughts…..

Monday, April 22, 2013

updated 4.5 rankings


  1. Fair Oaks/ Noel
  2. Hi Point/ Le
  3. Brookhaven/ Goswami
  4. JCC/ Reiman
  5. Oak Creek/ Herget
  6. GlenEagles/ Juhn
  7. Oak Creek/ Myrick
  8. Village/ Khiang
  9. Lakes/ Way
  10. Royal Oaks/ Rothwell
  11. Greenhill/ Robinson
Playoffs (I think):
Cities = 3 x 1st place teams plus QT winner = 4 team round robin
QT = 3 x 2nd place teams + Fall winner (Village) + best 3rd place team = 5 team round robin

Monday, April 8, 2013

Back To The Future: Part Deaux


If you remember the movie, Marty has to go to the future to save his kids from events that occurred from an altered past, and then go back in time and alter the past to re-align the future.  Confusing?  Yes. 
It’s the same feeling if you had been out of the loop in Dallas tennis for a year, remembering what things  were like just a year or two ago, and then seeing how things are today.
As I recall, the rivalries were with Garland, High Point, and Lifetime in the mix, with the Lakes usually making an appearance as the spoiler.  I now go look at rosters and see Lakes guys playing for Garland and Lifetime guys playing for High Point.  To make it more confusing, Bazan’s team which has historically been out of High Point is now out of McKinney.   We now have teams like Wagon Wheel and Oasis Beach & Tennis, wherever the hell that is.   Brookhaven guys are now playing out of Greenhill and  Kraemer is playing for Alzuro.  The only constant is that Sisk has 3 teams (although not sure of the purpose of teams 2 & 3) and has now recruited guys from all over the city, even Canyon Creek players. 

Most all of the teams have at least one 3.5 on the roster with about 30% of the teams having close to half of their rosters comprised of them.   Based on level of play, there are still several players that were bumped up in the 2009 year-end migration that never should have been which has really made 4.0 a watered-down league.  In 2009, there were 29 teams at 3.5 level and 40 teams at 4.0.  Today, there are only 19 teams at 3.5 and 45 teams at 4.0.  This  begs me to ask the question, “Is it time for a bump-down?”
While it is virtually impossible to know all 672 players that are playing 4.0 this season (that is correct, six-hundred and seventy-two), my general observations ( and limited base of knowledge on guys that I know) on flight play is this:

Flight A – Is this really a 3.5  flight?  Excuse me, 4.0 ?  Outside of Garland 1 of Sisk, I am a bit miffed.  This is like the Island of the misfit toys in the cartoon “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”.   Don’t get me wrong, I know I resemble the Misfit Cowboy riding the ostrich, but talk about a throw-back. 
This flight (like all other 4.0 flights) is comprised of 135 players.  This is more than 50% of the total # of players playing 3.5.  And this is just 1 of 5 flights at 4.0. 

Speaking of 3.5s, we have Alzuro, King of 3.5 wanna-be’s bestowing themselves at 4.0, playing out of Greenhill and getting Mr. DTA himself, Kraemer to join the ranks away from the “Club”.  Outside of Kraemer and Alzuro  I honestly can’t comment on the validity of this team.  But if it is like past teams of Alzuro, they aren’t a threat.  (Sorry Rene, nothing personal)  Including among the misfits we have the Village/Jacob – another 3.5 team that got thumped in Cities, bumped to 4.0.  I don’t have the energy to analyze.  Lakewood and McKinney appear to be new comers on the scene, but my patience is already growing thin trying to analyze with the USTA site constantly freezing and making me re-pull up information again and again.  So, I will quickly get to the bottom of this one.  Sisk has the gene pool to finish this flight out on top, and Eldorado Browning makes a play for the Q.T.  Clark Fretz, if so he chooses, (be it a team comprised of 3.5s, including myself but not an integral player) could make a run for the QT as well, but my better judgement tells me that most likely won't happen.
Flight B  - Now this is actually the most real 4.0 flight I see.  Brookhaven Bartlett is for real, so is Oak Creek, T Bar M, and Northwood.  Only one of these teams has a 3.5 playing for him, and he won the Cotton Bowl Classic Singles in December, and played on my Fall 3.5 team, so he gets a break.   We then have the flight fillers with Bent Tee (formerly a 3.5 team), Fretz/Jayaram (again former 3.5s), and yes, Sisk’s cannon fodder, Garland 2.  Getting too good of a buzz to call this one, so I say it will be down to the wire with a 3-way tie with Brookhaven, T-Bar and Oak Creek.

Flight C – Probably one of the easier flights of mostly drawn 4.0s with a few exceptions like the Lakes being led by Reifsnyder, Las Colinas Murphey, and McKinney/Oh  (again former 3.5s –a recurring theme).  High Point Le with his newly drawn Life Timer recruits, make this all an impressive team to make the post season, with more than easy, and quite boring flight play for them.  My guess Is that Salacious Crumb, I mean Corey Noel’s team makes a run for the Q.T.  With frustrated Terrell bringing over his left-overs from an impressive, but careless last season, they should do well.  I say careless as he let his most coveted players get inappropriately bumped to 4.5 land where no one wants them or can use them.  If only they could find a way back to the Island of Misfit Toys.
Flight D -  Garland 3/Sisk – really??  I thought I had too many to drink.  Sisk is even on this roster although he only has 9 players signed, defaulted a line this past week and didn’t even play himself.  Really Big John?  Captaining has come down to this??  Combine your team 2 & 3 and go spend time with the wife and family.  ---- OK.  As much as I dislike saying it, Canyon Creek Dawson is for real.   Actually and looking at this flight -  this one brings the most drama.  We also have JCC which has always had talent and has been a contender, as long as there are no Jewish holidays conflicting with match play, JCC should be good to go.  Royal Oaks is also comprised of a complete roster of computer rated 4.0s, (a rarity) and could make a valid run.  Fair Oaks has team 2, and is small.  Corey – why not just have one 4.0 team.  You could have made a play?  Instead, you will be buried into Jabba’s back as usual.  I say CC takes the flight with Royal Oaks pulling off the QT.

Flight E – Finally, the last flight.  This is easy.  My favorite team is Greenhill/Ohl -  If you don’t know Greg, you should.  He shows up at each match with about 2-3 cases of beer.  Premium beer that is.  I can tell you this as I drank close to a case of Heineken last Fall with a close friend after our match.  A true gentleman and scholar in my book.  ---  In terms of play, I guess I have to go with Bazan, although he himself barely got out of beating a 3.5 last week in a 3 setter.  My guess is Bazan/McKinney wins the flight, and although starting with a loss, I go with my friend Greg to take the QT.
So there you have it.  My once and initial sober analysis, turned to my drunken ranting of players I know.  Well, I guess if that is truly the case, I would have commented on Wiley’s groin.  I will let that rest.

I plan to see Cities come down to Sisk and Le.  But I have several months to drink and analyze before making my postulation as to who comes out on top.
Comment, poke holes, have fun.

Captain Fan