Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Group Art Show

Our current exhibition features the artwork of Kyle Adams, Adrienne Applegate, David Dillinger, Chris Gritzmacher, Devon Hugdahl, Sam Johnson, Grace Lorentz, Stan Poffenberger, Rebecca Sadler, Linda Takaha, and Donald Topp.

The show will be up at the Club for the months of November and December 2009. Opening reception is tentatively set for December 11th.

Most of the artwork is for sale. Please contact Rebecca Sadler if you are interested in purchasing any of the art work. 608-628-0277.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Sorry to not fill you in on the rest of the tournament...

We've successfully closed the curtain on the inaugural Madison Open Squash Championships. We showed off some incredible squash and this should create some more buzz in the Madison squash community and beyond.

For the record:
We hosted 25 athletes from 13 countries.
Bernardo Samper of Columbia upset the seedings and beat our number one seed Gilly Lane from the US National Team.

We hosted 45 amateurs in 5 events over the weekend.

From the Quarterfinals on our bleachers, which hold 70 people, were completely packed and the bar area was filled with more people watching on close circuit TV.

We really do appreciate the financial and moral support we received from our many sponsors and patrons. It's a lot to ask people to back an event in a small club like ours that doesn't get a lot of press or public exposure. We're hoping to learn from this experience and get more exposure next time around.

Go to SquashSite to get the full write-up and see some cool photos by Tom McInvaille.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Round One

The level of play went up a notch tonight in Madison.

The longest match of the night saw the young Englishmen Ben Coleman upsetting the higher ranked Bart Ravelli in a 73 minute marathon. Two fit guys, a bouncy ball and a hot court makes for a long match. Neither could tuck the ball away so the points went on and on until Ben finally was able to finish it off in four. They might be still playing had it gone to a fifth.

Contrast that match with the Amr Mansi-Fernando Lopez match that went 5 games and only 38 minutes. Some great retrieving, and a lot of attacking shotmaking that were either winners or tins.

Our other qualifiers ran into some stiff opposition. Anthony Graham, an extraordinarily fit player ran into Wade Johnstone which made for a very entertaining match. More than one person in the crowd tonight commented on how quick Wade's hands were and how clinical his shot placement was. It was a fun match to watch, but it seemed like only a matter of time before Johnstone simply wore Graham down with his precision and pace.

Ehimen Ehalen played Bernardo Samper and afterwards told me that he kept trying to slow Samper down, and just was not able to control the pace at all.

The Madison favourite Mark Heather played Chris Gordon and it looked like this match was going to be something special until an unintentional collision left Mark with a dead leg for most of the first and second game. He gamely played on and took the third, but Chris was able to close it out with some exceptional shotmaking and even more exceptional retrieving. He's not the prettiest mover in the game, but his court coverage is quite impressive.

Mike Corren was hampered by a quadriceps problem so was just not able to move well and lost to Legotla Mosope in three.

Peter Creed and Gilly Lane had routine wins over Wildcard Luke Butterworth and Keith Pritchard respectively.

Qualification Finals

There were some upsets today in final qualifying as three Englishmen made the main draw.

First on court were Jonas Laursen (219), the amiable Dane, against Ehimen Joseph Ehalen (359) of Nigeria. Jonas is a
hard hitter and he came out firing against the rangy Nigerian. Some
errors put Laursen down 0-3, but he looked to be settling in until
something popped in the front of his lower leg. He managed to get to
7-5, but it was clear his movement was limited and he simply
couldn't change directions. Ehalen won the first 11-9. Laursen
returned to court for the second, and managed a respectable 9-11 by
hitting winners off Ehalen's serve, but it wasn't enough playing on
one leg, so he retired 3-7 in the 3rd.

Next on was Ben Coleman (383) and Tiago Cabral (250)
of Brazil. This would be Ben's first real test on the PSA tour and
he was put under a bit more pressure tonight than he was last night.
Ben had the first game ball, but was denied the game by a more
patient Cabral who finished it at 12-10. The second game was close
up until 6 all when Ben pulled away to 9-7. Again Cabral clawed his
way back into the game and tied the score at 10. It wasn't enough
this time as Ben was able to close out this game 12-10.

A great start by Ben in the 3rd had him at 4-1 and then 6-2 up and
it just didn't give Cabral enough time to work his way back into the
game. 11-6 to Ben. The fourth was a carbon copy of the 3rd with Ben
jumping to a 3-1 lead and then a 10-4 lead. Cabral staved off 4
match balls, but came up short in the end.

European Junior Champion Anthony Graham had another great
match today chopping Maxym Leclair in 20 minutes. Anthony
plays a very disciplined game and is extraordinarily quick. Maxym
could not get Anthony out of the front of the court and found
himself chasing the entire match.

Finally on court was PSA veteran Mark Heather vs. Paul
(242). Paul told me after the match that he knew as
soon as saw the draw that he would have to play Mark, and as luck
would have it, that's who he got. Mark started exceptionally well
and dominated the centre of the court. Paul could not coax enough
depth to remove his more experienced opponent off the T and suffered
greatly for it. Paul said afterwards, "Even when I hit good length,
it didn't matter as Mark was able to handle it easily."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Qualification Round One

The inaugural Madison Open and first stop of the Squash Design Tour kicked off with a bang with some exciting squash for the members and friends of this brand new facility in Madison, Wisconsin.

In his first PSA appearance, youngster Anthony Graham took the first win of the night against Ned Marks. Anthony looked sharp against the former Denison University player.

Next on court was British U19 standout Ben Coleman vs. MSW club owner and teaching pro Damon Bourne. Suffice it to say, that despite playing squash for longer than Ben has been alive, Damon considered it a victory by simply keeping Ben on court for 35 minutes without even stalling too much.

The last match of the day was the Head Squash Professional at the University Club of Chicago and not incidentally, former World No. 39, Mark Heather vs. Omar El-Kashef of Egypt. Mark managed to win the first 11-5, despite starting with some nerves. The guys traded the next two games and then things got serious in the fourth.

Omar went up 9-4 and looked to be cruising, but Mark settled down and played a bit more aggressively to bring the score up to 8-9. Things got bit messy with a lot of mid-court contact and more than a few tumbles by both guys, but Omar turned it up and played some great shots and closed out the game 11-8. In the decider, Mark had an excellent start and jumped to a 6-0 lead before Omar could get on the board. The Egyptian seemed a bit tired in this game after his efforts in the fourth, and the Englishman finished the match 11-3.

Final qualifying rounds on Wednesday night.

Round 2
Jonas Laursen (DEN) vs. Ehimen Ehalen (NGR)
Tiago Cabral (BRA) vs. Ben Coleman (ENG)
Anthony Graham (ENG) vs. Maxym Leclair (CAN)
Mark Heather (ENG) vs. Paul Mathieson (ITA)

Round 1
Anthony Graham def. Ned Marks: 11-6, 11-3, 11-5 30 min.
Ben Coleman def. Damon Bourne 11-8, 11-6, 11-3 35 min.
Mark Heather def. Omar El-Kashef 11-5, 7-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-3 65 min.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Day one: 11:45am

Tournament starts today with a few qualifying matches. We're down to 11 qualifies as one of our locals is sick. So, starting tonight we'll do the roll call, create the draw and begin play at 6:00 with each match on our show court. Should be fun.

Most of the qualifiers have arrived, though I'm still waiting to hear from our Brazilian, Tiago Cabral. He's supposed to be here today at some point.

Currently hitting on court are two very young players from England,18 year old Ben Coleman and 19 year old Anthony Grant. This is their first PSA tournament and they are pretty eager to get out there and play with with the senior players.

More later

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Schedule of Events

Here is the schedule for Tournament Week.
Pros go from Tuesday through Sunday. Everything but the finals on Sunday happens in the evenings.

Amateurs begin on Friday evening and go through Sunday.

Tuesday Oct. 20th, PSA Event:
5:00 pm Roll Call, Qualification Draw
Matches on Courts 3 and 4
6:00 pm 2 matches
6:50 pm 2 matches
7:40 pm 2 matches
8:30 pm 2 matches

Wednesday 21st, PSA Event:
6:00 pm 1 qualifier
6:50 pm 1 qualifier
7:40 pm 1 qualifier
8:30 pm 1 qualifier

Thursday 22nd:
PSA Event: 1st Round Main Draw Courts 3 and 4
5:00 pm 2 matches
6:00 pm 2 matches
7:00 pm 2 matches
8:00 pm 2 matches

Friday 23rd:
Amateur Event on courts 1-3
4:00 pm--9:00 pm

PSA Event Quarter Finals
Court 4
5:00 pm 1 Quarter
6:00 pm 2 Quarter
7:00 pm 3 Quarter
8:00 pm 4 Quarter

Saturday 24th:
Amateur Event:
8:00 am--5:00 pm

PSA Event Semi Finals
Court 4
5:00 pm Semi 1
6:00 pm Semi 2

Player Reception at the club. Finger foods. Chat with the pros. Hang out in our cool space.

Sunday 25th:
Amateur Finals
8:00--1:00 pm

PSA Event Final
2:00 pm

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

2009 Madison Open Update

Things are progressing very nicely. The pro draw is available and we have a really strong draw for our pro tournament featuring two top US players as well as players from 14 other countries.

We're making headway with our Amateur tournament as well. Should be a great time. I spent some time in Chicago last weekend drumming up some interest in our tournament and I think we'll have a lot of folks coming up. I'm hoping to see some guys from the Twin Cities as well as Dayton, and maybe Cleveland. There was some talk of some folks coming from Washington D.C. as well.

For those of you traveling, we’ve been given a fantastic deal with the Quality Inn and Suites located 2 miles from the club. Rates are $89 a night for single, $99 for a double. Prices include hot breakfast buffet.

Mention our event to make sure you get this deal.
Quality Inn and Suites
2969 Cahill Main,
Fitchburg, WI 53711-7100
(608) 274-7200.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Professional Squash in Madison

Things are hotting up here in Madison. We will be hosting a professional tournament the week of October 19th through 25th.

We got on the PSA calendar on Friday of last week and as of today we have 25 entrants ranging from 55 in the World to 399th. It's pretty fascinating. Anyway, we're scrambling to set up accommodation and an amateur tournament as well. I'll blog a little about it as we go.

The tournament will be a $6000--it's a just a pittance for guys who are traveling around the globe to play squash. Even so, I'm amazed at the demand this kind of event creates.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Artist

You may have noticed that we have a new artist displaying work at the Workshop. This is special because he is none other than our own (long-distance) member, Mike West. The show is entitled "On A Lonely Road" and will be on display for the next few months. Aside from being a fine squash player, Mike has been an water-colorist for many many years.

We'll have an artist opening on Saturday, August 1st. from 6:00 until 9:00. The opening will be in conjunction with an event down at our fine neighbors Yahara Bay Distillers. In addition to art work, there is going to be some sort of poetry slam and reading event by the cab drivers of one of the local cab companies. I'll get more details on that as it gets closer.

Monday, June 29, 2009

MSW/UCC Challenge Weekend

Just coming off a really fun weekend at the Shop. A group of 8 players from the University Club of Chicago came up to Madison to play an inter-club challenge match. The UCC team arrived at 10:00am on Saturday and play commenced immediately and went on for over 3 hours. I was very happy to see squash played at all levels and everyone had a great time. A group later went out for 18 holes of golf at The Legend Of Bergamont, and then we met later for drinks and dinner at the Capital Brewery in Middleton.

I'd like to thank Mark Heather and the members of the UCC team for making the effort to come up to Madison for the weekend. I know that the Madison squash community really enjoyed your company and the friendly competition. I hope we can make this an annual event here in Madison, and that we can take a team down to the UClub to return the favor.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Spring League Wrap Up

The MSA Spring League finished up last night at the club with the conclusion of our end-of-session tournament. Finalists Don "The Stork" Breckbill, and Len Widra playing out the final in front of a capacity* crowd on the show court. It looked as if Don was going to walk away with the championship in three games with his shot making and much improved court coverage. Impressive front court volley drops hurt his opponent, but Len wasn't helping himself at all with an impressive number and variety of tins. Not to be bull-dozed, staring down the barrel of three match-balls in the third, Len bravely dug in, tightened up his game, forced Don into the back corners to push the match into a fourth.

The fourth was all Don though. With a lot of hard work (and a lot of huffing and puffing by both players) Don was able to keep Len behind him, hit an incredible number of winners from impossible angles, and force enough errors from his opponent's racquet to take home the title and a fancy MSW T-Shirt for his efforts.

All players enjoyed pizza and local brews provided by the Madison Squash Association and otherwise had a great time.

All in all, the format of the league this time seemed to go over pretty well with the players. We'll take a few weeks off and kick off another session later in the summer.

In addition to our weekly league, coming soon to Madison Squash Workshop is a Box League. Players are placed in a box group of 5 or 6 players. You get a month to play all players in your group, The players with the best records move up a group, the worst records move down, and the people in the middle stay in their group. Not sure when we'll start that, but that's easy enough to coordinate and run just about any time. The key is participation at all levels so that appropriate matches happen week in and week out. We have enough members from beginner to expert that getting appropriate matches shouldn't be a problem.

*By "capacity," I mean that the 10 people who watched the final had eaten pizza until capacity.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Random bits

This Friday, June 5th, from 5:00pm until 9:00pm, we're going to have our art show featuring Mark Cullen. As mentioned earlier, this is a dual show with the folks over at Yahara Bay Distillers. They've got the distillery all cleaned up and artwork up on the walls. Our place is all ready to go as well. Should be a fun evening of art, distilled beverage, and squash!

Also in the news, we were featured in the Wisconsin State Journal a couple of weeks ago. In case you haven't seen the article it's right here. Interestingly, I haven't gotten any phone calls from locals looking to join the club, but I have had conversations with folks from Houston, Seattle, Stamford, and get this--Ireland! Squashsite put a link to the article and I've noticed a bit more international traffic on the website as a result of that.

In other news, we are finally getting our Solar Thermal panels put up on the roof. These panels are going to be the source for our water heat! the hold up has been getting approval from Focus on Energy so that we get some cash back. First, our plumber had to take a class to become a certified installer of solar panels, and second we had to fill out some paperwork and have the application approved. Anyway, all that is done and we can finally get that going.

Anyway, up until now our water heater is using gas. Despite the heater being very efficient, when you're heating 80 gallons of water to keep our showers hot, we end up using quite a bit of gas. I've got a couple of months of gas bills now as reference, so it'll be interesting to see how our gas usage drops after the panels go up. I'll keep you posted.

Finally, in cooperation with Yahara Bay Distillers, we had Madison Farmworks install a small urban garden in front of our building. Megan Cain and none other than White House Farmer Claire Strader, installed the garden. We're growing tomatos, dill, tarragon, basil, rhubarb, cucumbers, edamame, and of course several varieties of summer and winter squash! Nick, at Yahara Bay has always tried to use local produce to flavor his products, so he'll be using some of the produce to flavor some of his distilled goods. It doesn't get much more local than that.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Art Show

Several people have commented on the wonderful artwork we have hanging at the Shop. Well, now you can meet the artist, Mark Cullen, at Madison Squash Workshop's first art gallery opening. In conjunction with Yahara Bay Distillers, We'll be hosting Mr. Cullen and artist Catherine Forde on Friday, June 5th in a dual art opening. In addition to our space, There is a gallery in the front of Yahara Bay Distillers where Catherine's work will be displayed. The details haven't been worked out yet, but it will be in the evening and there will be food and music and tours of the squash club and distillery. We'll have an exhibition match and probably be tasting some of the fine products of Yahara Bay. Mmmmmm.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Grand Opening

What a success! We had probably 150 maybe 200 people come through over the weekend. A bunch of players from the twin-cities came as well as players from Milwaukee and Chicago. Our two guest pros, Mark Heather and Matt Jensen ran clinics all day Saturday and then played a very entertaining exhibition match for a packed house. I couldn't be happier with how things turned out!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Grand Opening Update

Hi all,
Here's the latest on our Grand opening:

The weekend starts Friday night, March 27th with open squash from 6:00pm until 10:00ish in the evening. We will have some snack food and beverages. Saturday we'll have more open squash starting around 10:00am or so. From noon until 4 we'll have our two guest pros Mark Heather and Matt Jensen run some clinics with small groups on a couple of courts. We'll have sign up sheets at the club so you can book your time with the guys on the court. We'll try to group people of similar ability in each of the sessions.

The exhibition match will be at 5:00, NOT 6:00 as previously mentioned.

Below you will find a list of hotels in the area. The Sheraton is closest to the club. The Hilton and the Concourse are in very nice locations in the city. If I really had it together I would have gotten a group discount rate, but since I have now idea how many people are going to be here, I didn't!

If you haven't already, let me know if you think you might make it so we have enough gnoshy food for this weekend celebration of squash!

Oh, one other thing, some of you may or may not know but we share a building with Dane County's finest distiller of spirits, Yahara Bay Distillers, and owner Nick Quint will be on hand to give tours of his operation. It's pretty cool.

Doubletree Hotel Madison
525 West Johnson Street
(608) 251-5511

Hilton Madison Monona Terrace
9 East Wilson Street
(608) 255-5100

Sheraton Madison
706 John Nolen Drive
(608) 251-2300

Madison Concourse Hotel
1 West Dayton Street
(608) 257-6000

Crowne Plaza Hotel, Madison-East Town
4402 East Washington Avenue
(888) 444-0401

Friday, February 20, 2009

Grand Opening

Before I tell you about our Grand Opening, let me tell you about our Soft Opening. We will likely be able to open our doors for business sometime during the week of February 23rd. We have a few building inspections to pass, namely plumbing, fire, and HVAC, before we're allowed to officially open for business. I'll let people know as soon as we can.

Our Grand Opening weekend will be March 27/28th. We have two pros coming in to do clinics and to have an exhibition match. The idea for the weekend is to get as many people in the place as possible to try the club, play on the courts, and get a preview as to what we're about. All Grand Opening events are free and open to the public. Bring your squash kit and knock it around.

Preliminary schedule looks something like this:

Friday, March 27th. Open House 6:00pm--9:00pm
Any and all welcome to come and play on our beautiful Anderson Armourcoat Plaster courts--provided, of course, that you have non-marking shoes and wear eye protection. There will be refreshments.

Saturday, March 28th. Open House 10:00am--5:30pm
Squash Clinics with the pros, Mark Heather and Matt Jensen 12:00-4:00. We're thinking the guys will do 50 minute sessions with as many as 6 on a court. We'll do a little sign up sheet for that ahead of time so you know when to come.

Exhibition at 6:00.
Come watch a couple of guys who REALLY know what they're doing play a little squash.

Email or call (608-277-0655) with questions.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Test Run

Had fifteen people over yesterday morning to give the courts a test run. It was a blast. Everyone seemed to have a great time and were all very eager to play at the club on a regular basis. Three people on every court with three more waiting. We played for two and a half hours and everyone couldn't wait to come back.

A couple of notable quotes:
"...wow, that's what squash is."

"Thanks again for letting us play in the construction site - I can't
wait until the place is open for real."

"Absolutely loved the courts. brought back memories of
playing on international-size courts in Pakistan."


Friday, February 13, 2009


The Big Ass Fan was installed this week and the boys turned it on. It's a piece of art, as far as industrial ceiling fans go. The point of it is to de-stratify the air in rooms with very high ceilings. It moves very slowly and pulls the warm air down from the ceiling. It's suppose to save us a bundle on our heating bills in the winter. It uses the equivalent energy of a 100W light bulb. Considering it's size, that's pretty efficient.

All the courts are finished. The paint is curing and will be ready to be played on in another day.

We're shooting for occupancy in one week. A few things have to happen in that time, namely getting our plumbing in, staining the concrete floors, installing bleachers, installing the counter tops, finishing the bar like area, and installing the carpet. James from Wyldewood Construction thinks it can happen this coming week. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Still a construction Site

The place is still a construction site, despite being able to play on court one and having a chair to sit on. The Anderson guys will be finished with their work by the end of Wednesday, then we have to wait three days for the paint to dry on the floor lines. I know people are eager to play over there but it's still a construction site.

Finish work is progressing. Slowly. The tile in the restrooms is done, but now we wait for the concrete stain on the floors and then the plumbing fixtures. Maybe this week? The plumbers only want to come one more time to do their install.

Electricians are changing over the power today. That will effectively stop all other work for at least an hour today. Once that's finished we'll be able to turn all the lights on.

They have to build and finish the bar-like area and put in the counter-tops, but again, we're still waiting for some things to show up. Seems we're in waiting mode again. Reminds me of waiting for the concrete to be poured or the dang ceiling to be finished. A lot is going to get done in the next two weeks, but it's still really frustrating to wait.

Recently a friend told me a Buddhist expression that goes something like this: Good at the beginning, good in the middle, good at the end. I'm keeping that in mind as I try to wait patiently and not push the contractors to hurry up.

So, as you may have noticed in my last 3000-word post (since a picture is worth 1000) we did break in the first court. How does it feel, you might ask? Well, I gotta say, it's pretty incredible. I've played on plaster courts before, but probably not with the same amount of attention. I've spent the last 15 years or so playing on the wood courts at the venerable Nielsen Tennis Stadium. While a nice material, the walls have been painted many times so the ball tends to skid a little on the walls. They have recently sanded the floors down to an au natural finish which has been a HUGE improvement in predictable ball behavior, but still the ball will skid on the walls a bit.

Panel wall courts tend to be very loud and echoey, and the ball loses all it's texture within about 30 minutes so it just skids like crazy all over the place.

ASB courts are another sort of panel option, but the walls are seamless and filled with sand so that they have a very solid feel to them and a true bounce. There is some sort of paint on the walls with a little texture so balls bounce true and don't skid on the walls. A very nice court.

Which brings us to plaster. When Pete the Plasterer first finished a wall, I was pretty amazed at how glass-smooth the plaster is. From experience, I know that the balls don't skid on plaster, but I'm looking at this stuff thinking, how could this be? These walls are smooth as glass... Be that as it may, when the ball touches the plaster, the wall seems to grab the ball, slow it down, and kick it out into the middle of the court. I said a while ago in a post how good straight walls reward good play. You could also say, that they punish poor play. With sticky plaster walls, if you hit a ball that strikes the side wall at any angle at all, it's going to come out into the center of the court. That's not good.

A number of times over the last few days, I've hit what I thought was going to be fairly decent length, only to be a bit surprised that when my ball hit the side wall maybe a little short, then slowed down drastically and came off the wall so my opponent had all sorts of time to send me flailing away into a far corner. It's quite dramatic and will take getting used to.

Now that said, when you do hit good length that stays tight against the wall and you force a weak return, boy can punish the meatball that comes out into the middle of the court. It's brilliant, and that's what we mean by a court rewarding you for good play.

Anyway, the courts are great. They rank up there with the nicest I've played on. The floors are beautifully sprung, the lighting is excellent, and the sound of the ball striking the head wall is flat out brilliant. So satisfying.

Now if we can only get the rest of the contractors out of the place... Nice guys and all, but I'm ready for you to go!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Court 1

Court 1 is about finished. They were installing glass on Sunday, the line on the front wall, and the tin. They need to sand the floor, then paint the line. Probably do that tomorrow. They had to wait around a bit today because one of the other workers was creating a bit of dust and they didn't want to silicone the glass or paint the line because it would get all dusty. Anyway, after they pain the line it'll be a good 3 days for the paint to cure. Agonizing wait, to be sure.

In the mean time, they put up the net between courts one and two and began working on the sleepers for court two. They'll start getting those down tomorrow and maybe get some subfloor down as well.

Outside the court area, the Wyldewood boys put up the lyptus wall and it looks fantastic. Our lockers arrived as well and they installed those on Friday. Tile in the women's room is finished and they'll move on to the men's room this week.

We're still hung up a little bit with our electric. The guys have been operating on temporary power so the only lights that actually work are the lights over the courts. Electric One has to shut down power to the building for an hour or so to make some big changes, but then everything should work. I'm looking forward to it because most of the lighting is in and it'll be great see stuff actually work.

This power delay is becoming a bit of a problem too because apparently the floor sanding equipment uses some serious juice so they can't plug the sander into the temporary power supply. Jordan was a bit down in the mouth today because he wanted to get after that (among other things) but had to resort to working on the court sleepers. Dude, I feel your pain. I've been waiting on various aspects of this project since September.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


The Anderson guys are really busting ass now. The plaster is done on two courts, and the flooring is pretty near finished on the first. After plastering, the guys worked on the flooring of court one. It's a pretty cool process. You may remember when we had the concrete floor put in, the concrete guys were told they have to be level within 1/8 inch over a 10 foot area. They did a pretty good job of it, but there are still some high and low spots.

The first thing the court guys do is shoot a grid of the entire court area. They put little dots every thirty inches and take a measurement on each dot to see how close they are to level. Each dot is assigned a measurement--0, 1, 2, or 3--which correspond with a certain thickness of rubber pad and shim.

After they get all the rubber pads figured out, they nail them to a section of wood and create a big lattice of wood on the floor, and then finally top it off with the top-grade maple, sand it with 40 grit paper to get a nice nap, paint the lines and we're good to go.

It's not the best description, but the point is, it's very time consuming, but the end result is a level floor that's nicely sprung.

Anyway, things are moving along really well with the courts. Apparently, our singer, Jordan, is hoping to be done with this job well in time for Valentine's day so he can head back to New York and to be with his sweetie. Isn't that nice?

Outside the courts, James, PJ and the Wyldewood crew are making great progress with the tiling, painting, and bar-like area behind the courts.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Two walls down. Ten to go.

Cool colors, eh? These are not your old man's squash courts.

By the way, that is not me singing in the background. It's Jordon, one of the Anderson Court guys. He'll be mortified to find out that I captured the dulcet tones of his voice.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Home Stretch

I was away for a few days and haven't seen the progress since last Wednesday. I walked in this morning and my jaw about hit the floor. All the lighting over the courts is up and on and it's SOOO bright. Almost all the painting is done and the colors looks fantastic--thanks to Alyssa at Destree Design Architects for her good color sense!

The crew from Anderson Courts arrived on Monday and began shooting a grid on the floors. The plasterer from England arrived today and they begin doing walls tomorrow. They will start and finish one wall per day. It's a wet-on-wet plaster technique that is a very labor intensive and very fast. Once they finish one layer, they start with the next layer directly on top of the previous layer while it's still wet. According to their specs, they use 4 to 5 layers of plaster. Anyway, the head plasterer used to do two walls per day, but he's getting on in years and only does one per day now. After they finish the walls, it'll take the guys about two days to install the flooring, then another day to install the glass wall and paint the lines on the floor.

Away from the courts, some finish work has begun on the bathrooms. Some tile has gone in the showers and the primer/texture is on the walls as well. The tile is really beautiful stuff and we're happy to say is a green product as well. It's some sort of Engineered Stone that is produced with minimal environmental impact. I'll get the name of it and post a link later. In any case, it's really pretty.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Moving along

The pace is picking up as the deadline for completion is looming. There is a lot of finish work to take place yet, but the work around the courts is progressing very well. HVAC stuff is nearly finished. The duct work mostly done over the courts save for cutting in a couple of vents. They also have some work left in the restroom and office area but other than that, HVAC is finished.

Anderson Courts sent their construction manager out today to take a look around before their crew arrives on the 19th. Everything looks good. He cleared up some questions in the shop drawings for the GC, took a bunch of measurements and checked for tolerances. This job site is a lot better than most. Thanks again to Wyldewood Construction, Feuling Concrete, and County Masonry for their good work.

If things continue to progress we'll likely be open by mid-February. More on that as we get closer.

Speaking of opening, we have a Grand Opening scheduled for the weekend of March 27. We've got a couple of teaching professionals, Brian O'Hora and Mark Heather, coming for clinics and an exhibition match. Brian, a strapping young man from Ireland, teaches squash at one of the premier junior programs in the United States at Results Gym in Washington D.C.. Mark Heather, of England, teaches squash at the University Club of Chicago and continues to play professionally on the PSA tour where he reached a high of no. 39 in the world as recently as 2006.

Both are great guys and good teachers. Mark your calendars. Come to the clinic. Watch the exhibition match. More details as we know them.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Squashstine Chapel

The ceiling is nearly done. While it's no Sistine Chapel, to me it's beautiful. The electricians are hanging the power lines for the lighting above the courts. HVAC guys are going hang the rest of their duct-work next week, and then next Friday we're scheduled to have the K-13 sprayed on the ceiling.

There's a crew there today hanging drywall in the office and durock in the changing rooms. That should be done by early next week and tiling will begin after that. The painter primed and painted the drywall above the court headwalls--this is the first official FINISHED item.

People, this is starting to look like something.