The Calgary One wall Tourney a huge success.
Saturday March 25th marked the beginning of a new era with the inaugural Calgary One Wall tourney. There were 34 players (men, women and juniors) and another 10 patrons attending the banquet at Rob and Launie Rakochey's house. We could not have asked for a more perfect day.
The games were timed events - 15 minute matches - which went off very smoothly. Daryl Rakochey set up and ran a very smooth tournament desk, keeping all matches flowing smoothly, and he really enjoyed blowing the whistle. So much so that he was seen later that evening using it to round up their barn yard animals.
The events for singles and doubles consisted of A, B+, B and Juniors. There was fantastic play in all divisions.
The A division featured in the final, who else, Chad Bemis (not to be confused with Chad Bemish as they know him in Sherwood Park) and Shane Vigen. Chad is on a roll now with two in a row over Shane. But this battle is far from over. Shane was overheard speaking of his new 2 a day training sessions to ensure that this short streak is broken soon. Chad ate an extra hamburger Saturday night in celebration. Plus the good news is Chads fiancé has vowed to start playing. I smell a mixed doubles/couples final in the future. Watch out at the upcoming Westerns in Calgary April 7-9th.
Consolation matches are usually a one liner after describing the good side of any event, but the A consolation here was epic. Master against Student. Father pitted against son. There was blood, sweat and tears. Rob Rakochey was able to take advantage of the 15 minute time frame to hang on against Carter Rakochey. Rob then tended to his haemorrhoids, changed his sweaty shirt and cried. Carter posted "WTF??" on Instagram and lodged an official protest for next year’s event that the 15 minute limit is discriminatory against fit people. His protest will be duly considered by the chair, who recently announced that he successfully beat anorexia.
The B+ singles saw Shawn Brown defeat Adrian Bussoli. We wanted to report the score, but some fan stole the card as a memento. There was a welcome resurgence of the Italian stallion, Adrian Bussoli. His quickness and stealth was incredible, both at the buffet and on the court. But he was unable to overcome the youth and determination of Shawn Brown. Shawn helped round out the A draw too, where he received a couple of good educational matches.
The B+ consolation final saw Tony (“Do not call me Anthony anymore”) Lipatnikov take out Jud Niven. Jud, a member of the Calgary Police department promised not to put a special note in their system for Tony when he starts to drive.
The B singles had a great final. Darren Sjogren bested Kalem McGrath. Amazing that Darren, in his first tourney ever, and Kalem, still a legitimate junior, defeated 2 other opponents each to get to the final. With all the games that Darren played in the B and the B+ event, we expect that he is a poster boy for Advil on Sunday. The runners up feel no effects whatsoever – damn them.
Darren Bender played another junior, Jack Gummer, in the Connie finals. Age did overcome youth that day, but my guess is that next year, if these 4 meet again, the results for both of these juniors will be much different,
This event also featured the lone woman entrant Launie Rakochey who played spectacularly. A huge thanks to Launie for all she did for the event - getting the house ready, buying and preparing all of the food for Saturday during the day, preparing all of the food for Saturday night BBQ banquet, and overall putting up with her high needs husband all the while taking care of the rest of her daily activities. While she is behind the scenes, we could not pull off these events without her help.
The juniors singles saw a new, first time champion - Jerome Rakochey. Jerome plays handball 4 times a week, two programs for 4 wall, and 2 for one wall. He has progressed from going years without winning a match to winning his first event. Ethan Niven gave him a real run in the final, but Jerome's deep serves kept him in the back court and his returns of Ethan's serves were powerful. These two could be the next Chad/Shane battle.
In the junior’s consolation event, we had 2 great players – Ivan Aguillon coming out victorious over Ryleigh Barrow.
The A doubles was a 3 team round robin which was very close each match determined by 1 to 3 points. Very hard fought and the winners were Shane and Rob, runners up Chad and David, with the consolation winners Sean and Carter.
The B+ doubles saw the finalists of the B+ singles, Adrian and Shawn team together formidably against the first know mother/son team of Launie and Carter Rakochey. When discussing who should dive for Adrian’s kill shots, Launie stated “I gave birth to you – you dive if necessary!” Fortunately Adrian cannot kill the ball, and thus no dives were required.
The B+ Doubles Consolation was Ken Ramsay and Jud Niven outlast Bill McGrath and Darren Sjogren in the finals. Goes to show that even when you play with a Canadian Hall of Fame inductee, you can still lose.
The B doubles had another age v. beauty battle. Tom Barrow and Darren Bender had just enough to overcome the youth and exuberance of Jack Bender and Kalem McGrath. Watch out for these kids as I see many years of a doubles team here.
The B Doubles consolation saw Darren Sjogren (no wonder he was pooped) and Oswaldo Aguillon come out on top of Launie Rakochey and John Murray. The chairman vows to console Launie in whatever way she needs. John Murray – sorry pal, you are on your own.
The junior doubles finalists were Ethan Niven and Lilliana Brown and Sara Bender and Ryleigh Barrow. Ethan and Lilliana had too much power and came out on top.
On the juniors Connie side, Erin Sjogren and Grady Brooks came out on top of two other first timers Ivan Aguillon and Jordyn Vigen.
It is safe to say that every participant in the day went away very pleased. Thanks as well to the Calgary handball Club and their executive for all of their help and support. The prizes were terrific and it was a great community building event as well. Stay tuned for the continued one wall emails. Come out. Bring your friends. The game is great, the fellowship is terrific, and it will be our community that builds this game.
Rob Rakochey - AHA President and CHC one wall coordinator