Sunday, August 30, 2015

Mixed is Final...

The DTA has not posted the finals yet but everyone already knows who won and who lost.

At 7.0 Springpark won 2-1 over McKinney.  For some reason, Highpoint defaulted 2 lines to McKinney so I missed this prediction.

At 8.0, Springpark had to default one line and lost a 3rd set breaker to lose 2-1 to Greenhill.  I am curious to watch hear the details of the Kelly, AlanA and Springpark v the DTA saga.  I will add more when the DTA finally figures out how to post the finals scores after setting up Bye Matches as actual matches in Tennislink.

In the meantime, I will just sit back; eat some popcorn and watch.  The floor officially belongs to AlanA.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Mixed City Championship Preview.. City Championships this weekend

The Mixed Doubles City Championships are this weekend.  There will only be a couple matches as in both 7.0 and 8.0 it is 3 seed v 2 seed and then winner plays against the 1 seed.  I was waiting for all appeals to be granted or denied before I made this post.  The DTA has made some changes but it looks to be changes to harm Springpark even more. 

7.0  In the first matchup, it will be High Point/Le v McKinney/Muniz.  Muniz has a small roster so he had better hope there aren't any players out of town.  Le has a big roster and I think he has 5 lines that can beat anything Muniz can put out.  I like High Point to win 3-0.  The winner gets to play Springpark/????.  I'm not sure who the captain is since AlanA can't captain.  Springpark has Zackary, Pearson, Wiley and Scott for men.  Still, I don't think any combination of those three will be enough and Le wins 3-0 again and advance to sectionals.

8.0 In the first matchup, we have Cooper Fitness/Noel vs Greenhill/Carlson.  Greenhill has a ton of players and they did beat the mighty Springpark machine before the suspensions.  Sam Huynh and partner beat Gene Davis and partner.  This match looks like it was the deciding match.  Sam has been downright awful in men's league this year but seems to handle the slower girls ball much better.  Corey's crew beat Greenhill in their regular season match.  I think Corey and Mabe win their lines and advance to play the very good but not as mighty Springpark/????? team.  I think this comes down to a 2-1 win for Corey.  I think Kyle Davidson wins and I think somebody gets a third set breaker in a deciding line between Pollard and partner.

Best of Luck to everyone.  Mot importantly, don't get hurt.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

King of Combo... Here is a Picture of Sisk in his Combo Gear

For those of you that haven't been around long, Sisk was once an A-List captain.  That doesn't mean he has given it up.  He has turned his focus to Combo and has done quite well the last few years.  He didn't have his top thoroughbred due to some DTA issues that nobody can understand.  Yet, he still wins another 8.5 Combo. 

At 7.5 you had a very evenly matched three team competition.  Cheng wins it on tiebreakers with 3 teams all tied 2-2.  Does anyone else think this is the kind of result the DTA loves? 

Congratulations to both and good luck at sectionals.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Damn it feels good to be a Gangster...

Sectionals 2015 is in the books.  Dallas made the Final Four or better in 5.0, 4.5 4.0, 3.5 and 3.0.  From everything I saw, this should be a very strong year for Texas come Nationals.

Straight Outta High Point

4.0 High Point/Le is your lone Dallas Champs from this weekend as they defeated a strong Fort Worth Team that previously took the mighty Houston Team behind the woodshed.  At line 1 Singles, former Lifetime teaching pro, Victor Tran had a routine 6-3, 6-2 win.  Line 2 singles had Jorge Aguilar walking off but he was up 6-3, 5-0; I have to think if they needed that line he would get it.  Shawn Arcaria and Tim Newman win in 3 after losing a set.  6-3, 4-6, 1-0.  This was a big match.  At line 2 dubs, Tony Le and Ryan De La Paz came back from a set down and won 1-6, 6-2, 1-0.  After the first set, it appeared that this line would go south but Ryan and Tony fought hard for the win.

They probably wanted to beat Freeman, I am sure this is satisfactory.   This team came with a lot of hype and they managed to overcome some early season issues and make it through.  Rigney was his usual great sport himself so maybe this is better than beating Freeman.  While it may not come with the same prestige as beating mighty Houston, shutting up that mighty mouth and attitude has to give a great amount of satisfaction.

It is time to put our petty differences aside and get behind this team.  Lets hope they bring home a championship.  The last 4.0 Texas team to win one was Bill Sanders from Waco several years back.  That is too long.

4.5 Houston/Freeman wins 4.5 and what would a sectionals weekend be like without Freeman winning a sectionals title.  They defeated the much celebrated ad ballyhoeod SETX team.  From Dallas,  Reiman gave SETX everything they wanted in the semis and dropped a close 3-2.  They had a retire so hope Feldman and Cambron are both fine.  Just like 4.0, lets get behind this Texas team.  The last Texas team to win at 4.5 was San Antonio.  I suspect this team is really good as like most, I thought SETX had this one in the bag.

5.0 San Antonio wins and Dallas is the runnerup.  Loren Collins was his usual dominant self.  Jooste and Jiminez lost a third set breaker.  This team is tremendous so I know San Antonio is too.  I am fully behind them as well.  I hope to have a Texas sweep of all levels.

Texas 2015 Nationals Representatives
From everything I saw, Texas looks stronger than I have ever seen it.  Every level looks poised to make some noise.
3.0 Dallas/Bender
3.5 Houston/Freeman
4.0 Dallas/Le
4.5 Houston/Freeman
5.0 San Antonio/Godwin

I have looked through these rosters and made some educated guesses.  I have to say this is the strongest Texas group I have ever seen.  I know we won't win them all but there is not a single team that is "just happy to be there." 

Best of luck to all of you.  I am taking a break from the blog for a few weeks but will see you again. 


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Breaking Bad

For those that don’t know the premise:  A good person, chooses to do a bad/illegal thing, for a greater cause.

In the land of crystal meth, Walter White is a humble chemistry teacher who gets terminal lung cancer.  Rather than being a  burden to his family with medical bills and leave them behind in debt, he cooks meth to make money to provide for his family for the rest of their lives.  As he becomes deeper involved, he finds himself doing things he never imagined. 

In League tennis, where everyone is trying to get their hands on the “Crystal” from Nationals, we are seeing the same thing.  Good people, doing bad things, for a greater cause.  The lines of morality begin getting crossed, and what once looked black, now looks grey. 

It initially begins with recruiting out-of-level players, managing scores, and tanking in the Fall.  As they get deeper in, they realize they must go further.  Get collegiate level players down to 4.5, have them lie on their self-rate questionnaire, create bogus leagues and enter false scores.  Anything to build a squad to get to the “Crystal”.

The Playas:

 Walter White (aka Jason Freeman) – Walt is a chemist.  He is thorough, precise, and calculating.  He leaves nothing to chance.  He produces the best product on the street, over 99% pure. 

 Like Walt, Freeman has the manufacturing process down and produces the most teams to get through Sectionals.  While he hasn’t gotten his hands on the real “Crystal” (yet), he has made the most runs at 3.5, 4.0, and 4.5 trying.  At least 8 attempts that I count, that he has led directly or indirectly a team that has made it to Nationals.  You would think being 0-8 one would give up trying.  But not Freeman.  He cooks up a more potent batch of players each year to make his run to try and bring home the “Crystal”.


Jesse Pinkman (aka Tony Le) -  In the show, Jesse really is a good kid.  His indiscretions however cloud his better judgement which leads him in to constantly getting into trouble.  Unlike Walt, who is methodical and calculating, and who leaves nothing to error, Jesse tends to be a bit careless and sloppy. 

Like Jesse, Tony means well, but hasn’t provided enough oversite of his players and has allowed too much “breakage” in the process in the form of DQ’d players.  In the land where execution and precision is key, these slip-ups have weakened his overall team.  While he is still capable of producing a high quality product, he has made it harder on himself to get his hands on the “Crystal”. 


Gustavo “Gus” Fring (aka Craig Fox)  – Like Gus, an inconspicuous business owner and under the radar person, he has the largest manufacturing and distribution of the crystal.  He goes against the Mexican Cartel, cutting them out of the business. 

In his footsteps is Fox, who has formed a super team of former Lamar University teammates coming from countries like Chili, Peru, and Budapest.  Most of these players have been ranked collegiately or nationally in some form or fashion, and are planning to derail any dream of Dallas or Houston.  While we think what Freeman and Le have done is bad, Fox has taken it too another level.  It will be interesting to see how good these guys really are, and if Lamar spits out top level D1 players.  If they are as good on the courts as they are on paper, I don’t see anyone stopping these boys from getting the”Crystal”.

Tuco Salamanca - (aka Mike Vogl) Known for his connections to the Mexican Cartel, Tuco is a heavy weight wholesaler north of the border.  Vogl, a former Arkansas Hog and runs one of S.A.'s Country Club tennis centers, has been recruiting strong ex-college players as well.  With S.A.s proximity to the border and college ties, they bring a formable team and aren't a write-off.

Hank Schrader with the DEA (aka Todd Reed with the USTA – Texas Section)  -
Like Hank who spends every waking moment chasing down those breaking the law, Todd Reed has been busy busting Pinkman’s (Le’s) street peddlers by handing out DQs. 

Like in the real show, Hank always had his nose up Pickman’s ass, totally neglecting the real perpetrators, Walt and Gus.



Behind the scenes cast members (for grins):


Saul Goodman (aka Todd Feldman) – While Saul isn’t one of the main characters, he is the shyster attorney that comes across as a used car salesman, always orchestrating and plotting a plan behind the scenes to cover things up. 

Like Saul, Todd goes unmentioned but seems to always be on a roster of a team in the playoffs, and has been to the big dance himself back in 2010.  While not a shyster lawyer, he may hit you up for insurance when on the court.  (Not that he reminds me of a used car salesman.)


Skinny Pete (aka Sean Arcaria) - One of the playas from Jesse's possey, Skinny Pete introduces Jesse to Tuco who is a wholesaler for the Mexican cartel.  He also gets held up and has "spillage" of product.

While behind the scenes, he has Jesse's ear and is a sounding board he uses for advice.   He has been around the block before, and knows betta.  He shouldn't have allowed for the spillage and DQs occurring on their self-rates.


Combo (aka Bennett) - another one of Jesse's possey, Combo gets shot which puts a hole in their street peddling. 

Bennett was one of the last players to play with Gilson before getting his final strike and DQ.  Perhaps he could have kept Gilson more in line??

So there you have it.  The cast is in place and drama set for the weekend for those chasing the "Crystal".

If you are a Breaking Bad fan, I hope you enjoyed.  If you aren't.....I bet you become one.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Yes, it was 104 last weekend, but WINTER IS COMING!

As I’ve said before, anyone who thinks they can gather up their 10 best friends and be a force at sectionals at any level is delusional.  That goes the same for gathering up the same guys who get beat every year and thinking this year is gonna be different.  So whether you like it or not, kudos to the people who made it to sectionals and some level of appreciation for the ones that make Sunday seems in order.  Again, you won’t do it but I’m still encouraging you to go out on Sunday and actually see what you’re complaining about.  You just might watch the biggest thorn in your side get beat.

On the Iron Throne sits King Freeman, fresh off his rampage through 3.5, surveying the unrest for as far as the eye can see.  An adept leader, he has put down three uprisings over the last four years but now must do it again.  His ability to pull together loyal troops year after year from the land of 4.5 as well as find new followers from lands across the sea is unprecedented in Westeros and is the key to his conquest of the Iron Throne and his dominance of it.  But after 4 years of summer in King’s Landing, winter is coming.

Freeman has been able to put down an uprising from Dallas’ men of the North on several occasions and often faced the sternest challenges to his throne by insurrections from his own home city, briefly losing the throne to them once.  From the deserts of West Texas and their horse tribes to the Kingdom of the Mountain and Vale in Austin, the Kingdom of the Isles and Rivers in San Antonio and all parts in between, holding together the warring clans has never been more challenging.  But now a new challenge rises from beyond the wall.  To hear the men of the North tell the tale, these wildlings are lead by one who has brought together the warring factions beyond the wall and they have already conquered the Kingdom of the North.

This is not to say the process has been easy.  The wildlings lost two mercenaries early in the battles with the men of the North and lost another in their final conquest of the North.  But their sights are now set firmly on the Iron Throne.  Has King Freeman lost his edge, now having ruled over the Texas Section for so long?  He has his own mercenaries, but will they answer the call when it is given or make for other lands?  Regardless, he has the most loyal men in Texas, rejoining him in the fight to retain the Iron Throne every other year and this one will be no different.  They are veterans of the 4.0 wars, having won several sectionals titles but never quite finding their way at 4.5.  They will be well armed, well trained and well led.

After four years of summer will Winter finally overtake us all?


Friday, August 7, 2015

Who Will Be the Difference Makers this Year at 4.5 Sectionals?


My pick to dominate line 1 singles this year at 4.5 sectionals. 

Yes, with the wooden racquet.

So I’m a little afraid to make any bold 4.5 predictions this year after I completely whiffed on it last year.  Did anyone see Amarillo and Logan Powell coming?  I clearly didn’t.  Powell went 13-0 on the year, including 6-0 at nationals, and dropped four 6-1 sets on the competition on Sunday at Nationals.  Amarillo finished third after a tight 3-2 loss to Southern in the semis but rebounded to beat Caribbean 4-1 in the 3 v 4 match.  Yes, Amarillo had strong doubles but when you can roll out one guy in singles and know that you start the match up 1-0 you have a difference maker that can turn the tide.  Omar Naguib went 2-0 at sectionals (1-2 at Nats) but the other two guys went 1-3 and that one win was against Corpus who finished sectionals 0-3 and won only two lines.

Two points and one is obvious: first, Amarillo goes nowhere without Powell; second, Powell and Naguib were diaper dandies compared to what Dallas has been rolling out the past few years.   Typically our 18s teams have been the same as our 40s teams for the most part.  Not bad for doubles but definitely can leave something lacking in singles by Sunday at Sectionals.  Yet Reiman’s squad last year only fell to Amarillo in the Sectionals semis 3-2, pretty respectable considering Amarillo’s third place nationals finish.  How does Dallas bridge that gap?

I like Feldman, Mabe and Sumrow (his cities singles lineup) but there’s no Logan Powell in that lineup.  Maybe it’s Tristan Stitt.  Yes, I saw the insufferably long post about Stitt going to play college tennis.  No, that actually doesn’t mean he can’t legitimately play USTA 4.5.  

Powell was just named a JUCO All American playing for Tyler Junior College.  And before you scoff, they and Collin College routinely win the JUCO national title and it’s often played at our very own Collin College’s home courts if you want to see how the kids bang it.  Anyway, elite 4.5 is dominated by college and ex-college players.  You can get yours or you can get rolled. 
Frankly I’m always surprised that Austin doesn’t win 4.5 18s every year.  You could put together a national contender every year in Austin made exclusively of guys who decided not to play college tennis but could have.  A friend of mine’s kid won a 5A state title in doubles and is wandering around UT’s campus right now, playing for no one (call me if you’re interested).  For that matter, so could Dallas (SMU), Fort Worth (TCU), Waco (Baylor) and College Station (isn’t there some school down there?).  In case you didn’t notice it earlier this year, OU made the national finals, Baylor & TCU made the semis and A&M made the quarters.  Congrats to Reiman for getting his kid.  Too bad he didn’t get three or four.

Nothing wrong with old guys, hell, I’ll be one someday.  But if you’re gonna make your mark at 4.5 sectionals singles there’s a pretty good chance you are under 30.  Kids aren’t the antidote for everything but when you’re 20, run like a deer and never take a shot off to rest, it’s a whole different game.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

3.5 Round up - Attack of the Giant Swamp Creature from Houston

Freeman leads his 4.5s in to pillage the little 3.5 campfire.

Imagine my surprise when I saw Houston’s very own Jason Freeman was spearheading a 3.5 team this year.  Need I say more?  Since all his guys are at least solid 4.5/5.0 at every level I see no reason to think he won’t just be using the same players for 3.5 (driver’s licenses anyone?).  Having gotten close enough to see the prize in 4.0 the last few years I think he crosses the finish line this year and takes home a national title, albeit in little boy tennis. 
The 3.5 beast he rides into Dallas is so huge compared to normal 3.5s that you can barely see Jason himself leading the charge.  If you look closely though you can just make out Jones and his McKinney boys about to get crushed in flight play.

With that prediction behind us the rest seems a bit anti-climactic.  But, here we go anyway with two more predictions.  Dallas is down this year and Austin is up at the 3.5 level.  Not a fact, but a good guess.

I’d pick Austin as a flight winner but when you’re in the same flight as the pending national champions it’s a little tough.  Just look at that picture above again.  Houston to win flight 1 with Wild Dallas just edging out San Angelo to stay out of last place.

This is nature kids.  Wild Austin eats Dallas, Wild Houston eats them, and Houston east everything.

Flight 2 has Wild Austin upsetting Dallas (who clearly isn’t as good as the past few years).  Fretz went 4-4 in it's flight and had to claw its way through QT and City playoffs to get a  sectionals participation medal.   

They're cute but no match for the BEAST.

In flight 3 it could be a tough battle between Wild Houston and San Antonio.  I’ll take Wild Houston on a hunch.  Like I said, at 3.5 I don't know hardly any of these guys and I sure don't know any out of towner 3.5s.

Since they only have three flights, the best second place record advances.  Assuming the top record plays the second place team, I like Houston to beat any of Dallas, San Antonio or Austin, with Wild Houston edging San Antonio setting up an all Houston final. 

It’s that old 4.0 nightmare all over again.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fall Minimum Rosters Are Due Tomorrow


Yes, I feel the same way you do.

Fall league is upon us, at least the requirement to have eight on your roster is upon us.  It's hard to get excited about the fall right now.  It's 102, people are out on vacation, only a few teams in town are still hard at it, and, well, it's the fall.

So I did some research out of curiosity.  Looks like fall participation will be down this year and could be down a fair amount, won't know for sure until Thursday when I can look over the rosters that didn't make.  As it stands now, let's compare last years levels to team numbers at least requested this years.

5.0 had 8 teams last year and they had 11 numbers requested this year.  Four of those teams have no one signed up yet.
4.5 had 28 teams last year and they had 29 numbers for this year.  Nine of those teams have one or no players on them but I do expect two of those to make.
4.0 had 37 teams last year and they had 34 numbers requested.  Nine of those teams have two or fewer players but, again, I expect 2-4 of them to make.
3.5 had 18 teams last year and they had 19 numbers requested.  Six of those teams have two or fewer players but two will likely make.
3.0 had 5 teams last year and 5 numbers requested this year.  Only one team is in danger here.

All in all, 4.5, 4.0 and 3.5 all look to be down at least 20%, while only 5.0 and 3.0 are holding serve against last year.  I tried to do some research into the Dallas Doubles League participation but didn't find it on a search of tennislink for Dallas fall leagues.

Anyone giving the DDL a try?