the lines are still good

Follow the happenings of an animated college tennis coach and his teams in their pursuit of an NCAA National Tennis Championship. It is always the impressive trophy that is displayed for all to admire that gets the attention, but it is the journey to claiming that trophy, the relationships built, the people served and the memories created, that live forever...and what I hope you will find interesting...

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year 2014!!!



Happy New Year!  Welcome 2014!

The advent of a new year means something different to most everyone I speak with.  Some folks are so fed up with 2103 that they are thrilled to witness it's conclusion.  Others express sadness and want to delay the passing of time.  Several are optimists and look forward to great things in the upcoming year...

After some reflection, my official position has aspects of quite a few sentiments.  For me 2013 has been an interesting year.  So much good yet some not so good as well.  So many things to worry about. That being said, my belief is that my best days are ahead of me.  I feel this way not simply because of cockeyed optimism but because I am committed to doing today what will make me better tomorrow. Not always so easy however, at least not for me.  Well, actually, very easy to say but not so easy to implement. Nevertheless, my plan is essentially to care even more about the work that I do and show people even more that I care about them.  I plan to love and serve more.  Also, I intend to get more sleep.  I really need it.


One of the things that I have been thinking about lately is that of purpose.  My purpose has become much more clear to me recently and I look forward to living with this purpose in mind going forward rather than simply chasing the things that I think will make me happy.

Remember everything happens for a reason and too much time is spent worrying about things we cannot control.  I recently read that "nothing wastes more energy than worrying."  Very true indeed.

I will be celebrating NYE at The Cookery with a great meal.  I hope that I make it to 12 midnight to witness the ball drop in Times Square on television.  It seems some years I have fallen asleep on the couch before the countdown.  

I wish all of you a momentous conclusion to 2013 and best wishes for a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2014!  Make great memories and cherish them.

Nuff said...

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas...



Merry Christmas everyone!

It was nice to see a little snow on Christmas Eve and thus somewhat of a White Christmas here in the New York area.

It has been a wonderful Christmas morning thus far hearing from so many friends worldwide.  I often marvel about the technology that exists and sometimes even wonder if it is always such a good thing. However, being able to communicate and share holiday well-wishes with so many folks both near and far is one of it's major benefits.

I must say that while this morning I received the marvelous gift of the Magic Dessert Bullet, I also know that today we all celebrate the greatest gift we could ever receive...the gift of Jesus!


My dear friend and coaching partner, Neil Tarangioli, recently emailed one of his occasional blasts to greet and update friends and both family and tennis family alike.   He wrote something that I want to share with you below:

"In the event your road has obstacles, I wish you all of the strength to persevere.
If you need a friend's help, give me a call.
If all is going great, help someone else less fortunate."

Well said indeed.  Great coaching.

May the true spirit of Christmas stay with you throughout the year and always.

Nuff said...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Deja vu...



 
My all-time favorite Concordia Tennis picture (top) with Rodrigo and Kirill represents the rise of the program to the national level.  These two major players in our history led the program to its first "Sweet 16".  Also significant is the advent of a culture of players playing for each other rather than only for themselves.  I have so many fond memories of the 2004-2005 season. 

Of course, the baton has been passed time and time again to where we now stand.  As most of you know by now, Dani and Benas (bottom) captured the ITA National Small College Championship (NCAA D2) in doubles a few weeks ago and were involved is some great matches along the way.

I hope that this sense of togetherness is contagious and we grow together as a team and to a level higher than just the sum of the parts.

I really like my team. 

Nuff said...

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Little Frustration...

 
angry gif photo:  fuuuuu.gif

Along this tennis path I have been so fortunate to meet many people who have assisted my endeavors.  For that I am very grateful.  Of course, there are also those who try very hard to block my road to success and set up pitfalls so often that I argue they actually enjoy said attempts and do so simply as a result of their own failures.

Shame on them...

They will come to know that they have misjudged my strength and they will never be able to impede my mission.

"Sometimes when things seem like they are falling apart, they are actually falling into place."

Nuff said...

Friday, August 09, 2013

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Recruiting...


Hello Clippers folks,

It's been a bit of a roller coaster ride this off season as big changes are in store for the rosters next season...

On the men's side of things we graduated David Tisserand, Andreas Lindell and Andrey Boldarev.  These fine young men greatly contributed to our success during their tenure here at Concordia and will certainly be difficult to replace.  Each have seen at least two NCAA "final-fours" and Andrey reached this milestone all four of his years.

Luckily we have two players already here on campus that will step right in and we expect them to have a similar impact to that of those recently departed.  There will also be others joining the roster that will be announced in the near future and I look forward to sharing that shortly.


The women's picture will be significantly altered as the core of our roster will not be returning to our squad in the fall.  Of course, we graduated Yuliya Plevako, Ana Mendes, and Camilla Xavier and they will be missed.  In addition, Estelle Fougeray, after a super first year in Bronxville,  has decided to give medical school a shot back in her native France and we wish her the best of luck.  Luisa Candido will certainly be missed as she has opted for a transfer to another university.  Lastly, Zi Ling has also left Concordia to attend another university.


Clearly, there is much work to do and I have been doing it...or at least trying to do it.  Losing too much sleep actually.  It's just not easy to replace so many players all at once.  However, not to worry my friends of the Clipper ship, we will be just fine when school starts this fall.  Final roster additions are expected and I hope that everything is completed in a few short weeks.  I look forward to sharing the final rosters with you as soon as possible.  I really think you will all be very proud of your new Clippers and will have quite a bit to be excited about going forward.


Nuff said...

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Another day...

Good morning all,

We had a nice restful day after the conclusion of our match yesterday.  Since we finished at 9am most of the team took the opportunity to catch up on sleep.  I was able to get some exercise jogging around the park which was desperately needed. 

Neil and I went over to the tournament site to support our friends at NYIT as they took on Hawaii Pacific.  Sadly, their great season ended with a tough loss to HPU but a great season nevertheless.  Also, we caught a glimpse of Queens College as they played but were also on the losing side of things.  However, what an accomplishment for them.  I hope to equal their achievement and qualify for Nationals with our women's team next year.

Queens coach Alan Nagel
I did venture back over to the park to feed the ducks.  I think that they enjoyed my company or at least the food.  A few of the guys went to a nearby high school for a little hitting to sharpen their game.  I hope it will help as today we will need to be at our best to advance over a great Lander team.  I do like our chances however and am proud of our team.

The evening ended with a trip to the Outback Steakhouse.  The guys love this place...I don't.  In any case, some good fellowship and the stomachs were filled.  I do wish that there wasn't so much cell phone activity during the meal but I guess it's a sign of the times.

Well it's off to the breakfast buffet and then to the courts.  I hope to be back with you later to report another win.

Nuff saif...

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

On to the Quarters...

 

Good news folks.  We were able to get up early and win our first match here in Arizona 5-1 over a tough Northwest Missouri team that was well coached and ready to play.  We advance to face Lander University tomorrow.  The good news is that we have an extra hour in the morning as the start time is 8am PST.

Truthfully, we didn't get the strongest of warm ups as we elected for as much sleep as possible.  A calculated risk I suppose but the maximum rest is important and will come in handy tomorrow and going forward, so a risk worth taking.

I was really impressed with Dani and Benas today as they were all business right from the spin of the racquet.  Both players are taking the court with supreme confidence and won handily 6-0, 6-0 and will hopefully lead the team in these next few days.  If we can get Tomasz and Andrey playing at their best, we are going to be a tough out.  I do feel like this was a good start and that even better things are to come.


It was a bit of a tough morning as a 7am start is somewhat odd for a national championship event.  The players had to rise to the occasion as we did have to attend the NCAA reception last night which lasted until 9pm or so.  Whereas I think the athletes mostly prefer a nice sit down banquet, I still think that they had a nice time.  Too bad that the food was marginal at best and long lines to go with it.

I keep hearing for NCAA committee members that "this is a championship" so certain things need to be done a certain way, but with so many things that are not up to par, it is clear that this phrase is selectively used.  Oh well.  We are glad to be here and will do everything our way to be successful and so that the player's have a great experience.


On a personal note, I must thank the team and the ITA for the National Coaching Award.  Clearly, without great players there would be no such award going back to NY.  I am lucky to be a part of this great group and also thankful that Coach Neil has allowed me to do my thing all of these years.  I have learned everything I know about tennis from him.  It seems crazy to me that he has yet to be Nationally recognized and I know that he will be very soon.

Not sure what we will do this afternoon but I suspect rest and shade will be front and center.  We did do some nice sightseeing yesterday in the desert but today we will take it easy for sure.  We will likely get some lunch later and I think I will go out for a run in the park and visit my new animal friends.  I hope to get there for the sunset feeding as I am pretty sure they are expecting me.




My pond friends...
 
So long folks.  Chat with you later.

Nuff said...

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Good Morning...

 

Hello Clipper fans!

With the three hour time change I was up at 4:30am just waiting for breakfast and the sunrise.  Very quiet this year in the hotel as there is no significant area for congregation like the hotels for the nationals in the past.  In any case, once the sun came up, I went out to explore the neighborhood and of course, had the buffet breakfast.  Gotta give a shout out the the Holiday Inn Express cinnamon rolls...

Surprise, AZ is a city simply dropped into the desert.  Plenty of sandy waste area around.  However, the tennis center and surrounding grounds are full of splendor and an oasis for the eyes.  Plenty of green grass, parks and recreation space and an abundance of sunshine.  Just around the corner from the hotel is a man-made lake stocked with fish, an assortment of wildlife and a convenient path around the perimeter.  Anyone who knows me well is aware of my life-long leisure activity of feeding the ducks at local ponds.  I have seized some tasty treats from the breakfast that I am sure my feathered friends will enjoy at sunset.  

Yes, that's me on the right (Minnesota circa the late 1960's)
So far many have been slightly skeptical of the NCAA's handling of certain aspects of the Championship.  Clearly, the 7am start time for tomorrow is a little inappropriate for a championship and having the student athletes (not professionals) get up at 4:30am to prepare for the most important match of the season.  There are other concerns as well.  However, on the flip side, the site is terrific.  The courts are solid and they are just one half mile from the hotel.  I am looking forward to getting out there at 10am (PST).

In any case, I will remind the players to apply plenty of sun screen and avoid the dehydration.  I will do so myself as well so I can enjoy a few adult beverages a little later on.  I look forward to the day and hope that the players will have a great experience!  I really hope that this is something special that the team will remember for a long time, especially the seniors.

Maybe I can convince one of the guys to join me for the late afternoon feeding...


For now...nuff said...

Monday, May 06, 2013

Surprise...

 

An early start to the day and a fairly long 5 hour flight to Phoenix, AZ. A little clear air turbulence much to the chagrin of Coach T. and David but still mostly able to get some sleep on the plane. I am very pleased with my new Bose headphones which adequately did the job cancelling out most of the noise.

Nothing too exciting on the plane this time.  No tough-guy finger pointing pilots.  We did have the ladies of Queens College on the flight minus their coach who simply will not fly.  Still a little strange to me that there is no more airline food on a long domestic flight.

Phoenix has an interesting airport.  It reminds me a little of Las Vegas.  One needs a shuttle ride to the rental car facility which is about 15 minutes away.  It was a bit funny to hear the shuttle bus driver announce our arrival to the rental facility calling it a state of the art facility.

We did arrive safely at the hotel and then we quickly went over to a nearby tennis facility to get a hit.  The air is a little thin here and it is pretty dry so the ball is moving through the court pretty well.  Players will need to adjust to the conditions well to have good success here.

We are staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Surprise.  Nice enough but I didn't see the trademark free cookies in the lobby.  I will have to file a complaint.  Joining us in this hotel are the Fighting Bears of NYIT and the golden arm of Coach Frusci and of course, Salsa.


I am not really noticing the 3 hour time change as of yet but still not looking of for a late night.  I don't think the players are either.  I think we will just grab a nearby meal and then retire.  Maybe if we can find the other short man of NCAA D2 tennis, Simon Earnshaw, we will grab a cold one and tell some stories.

Well I think its time to shed the funk of the day and grab a nice shower.  So I will do just that before my suite mate turns the bathroom into a swimming pool much like Del Griffith in Planes Trains and Automobiles.


Check back with me later for the next post installment.

Nuff said...

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Friday, May 03, 2013

ITA Awards East Region



Men:

Coach of the Year - Neil Tarangioli (5th selection)


Assistant Coach of the Year - Daniel Rockhill (4th selection)

Just the kind of involvement the ITA looks for...

Senior Player of the Year - Andrey Boldarev


Player to Watch (Whatever that is) - Benas Majauskas


Women:

Coach of the Year - Neil Tarangioli (1st selection)

Assistant Coach of the Year - Daniel Rockhill (1st selection)

Rookie Player of the Year - Luisa Candido


National award winners to be announced Tuesday, May 8th.

Congrats to all.  Well deserved.

Nuff said...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

50/50...

 

Back home!

Where did the week go?  Time just seems to keep passing faster and faster.  Perhaps a sign of getting older or something.  In any case, we are back in NY.  Certainly nice to rest in my own bed and see my family.  Not to mention a nice serving of porridge at matrix this morning. 

We concluded the trip with a 3-1 record.  Not a shabby start considering the competition and the adjustment to the out of doors.  We were able to sweep #33 Flagler 9-0 on Thursday.  It is never easy to win 9-0 but we actually needed to.  If you want to be among the best in the country, you must win in impressive fashion and not let dangerous teams hang around and sneak points out here and there.  The good news is that our scores were perhaps even more impressive vs. Flagler than some of the teams that are ranked ahead of us by the ITA.  We will get our chance later in the season to play some of these teams and we simply must cash in these opportunities to move up.

Friday was a big one for us.  We played #1 Armstrong Atlantic, the defending NCAA D2 champions and as I have said before, the best program in the country in my opinion.  I suppose that I knew that this would be a tall order for us at this point in the season but I also knew that I would learn something if not many things.  I was not thinking that this was a David vs. Goliath situation this year but it turned out so.  This time, however, David was outmatched 8-1.  One could enjoy the symbolism in the parking lot as we arrived for the match in our rental vans to see AASU's mode of transportation, or as I like to call it, the Bags of Cash Mobile...

 
On this day AASU would demonstrate why they are what they are.  They always seem to play very well against us and I like to think of that as a compliment.  It would be very easy for them to take us lightly and let us hang around in the match but they didn't.  They start fast, they play hard, and they don't stop until the match is over.  It was good for our guys to see this.  I have been preaching this for a long time but it never seems to make sense to the players until they see it.  We need to follow the approach of this team and play more like this team.  We have the talent to be successful.  I am so tempted to refer to what has been done wrong but our efforts are better placed so as to move forward with what is right.  I suppose that we could have been better at this point if we had bought into the work from day one but a stronger commitment at this point will only help us to get closer to our potential.  I will take responsibility for what we are at this point.  I am going to make sure that this team plays to its potential this year and every year going forward.  I really like my team!  I know that they are capable of great things.  I hope that they believe so too.  I think they do.  Of course, talk is cheap...actions are not. 
 
We now have a slate of matches versus local and conference opponents.  This is an opportunity to work on our weaknesses.  Certainly the competition is not as strong locally as it is when we travel but this does not mean we can take the competition lightly.  We absolutely will not.  We need to play at 100% if we want to improve otherwise these matches will actually hurt us and prevent progress.  I look forward to implementing new strategies and getting better.  We will get another chance to prove ourselves when we travel to West Florida at the end of the month.
 
Thanks to the players and Coach Neil for the enjoyable trip.  3-1 is a successful trip with wins over strong teams and a good start to the season.  I am excited for the rest of the season.
 
I was certainly pleased that we missed the NY snow storm and that the snow mostly melted by the time we arrived home.  Also, I was sad to have missed UK's big upset over the Florida Gators yesterday as we were flying the friendly skies.  It has been a tough season defending the championship for my Cats but this certainly made for a happy day!  Go Big Blue! #BBN.
 
Nuff said...


Thursday, March 07, 2013

Good start...

 

Our spring trip, and I use the term "spring" loosely,  not that it is actually spring even in Florida, has started pretty well with two wins.  Temps struggled to get out of the 40's for the first few days in the sunshine state but at least there was indeed some sunshine to go with the cold, windy days. 

We were able to sneak out a win at Embry-Riddle Monday, the NAIA's #1 ranked team.  This is always a difficult match being our first day out of doors playing tennis.  In addition, ERAU always has a great team with players that are willing to do the work up and down the lineup.  I was pleased with most of the play as I really just was looking for the team to compete well, win or lose.  Well, I wanted to win too...We always seem to get exactly what we are looking for in the ERAU match.  It is always competitive, the conditions are fairly tough, and ERAU always fights for every point which makes us do the work so as to prepare for the matches to come.  I am so thankful that we are able to play this match and always enjoy chats with Coach Paschal who is a good guy and a great coach.

Our second match of the trip was a good one.  With a quick turn around time wise, as we returned to the condos after 9pm Monday night, we played and defeated Augusta State, the 9th ranked team in NCAA D2.  It was nice to be able to play this match close to "home" here at Flagler College and early in the day at 9:30am so as to have some free afternoon time.  


Wednesday was a day off so to speak although we did spend some time on the practice courts to get better.  I hope that we did and continue to do so.  I did a little sight seeing with Andrey as we headed over to the St. Augustine lighthouse and took some photos and got a nice history lesson.  We ended the day with a team dinner cooked up by Chef Tarangioli.  Delicious baked ziti with garlic bread was served and we are all certainly carbo-loaded for the near future for sure. 


Up early today with a visit to the complex gym.  Workout creativity reigns supreme as there is not a lot of equipment to work with.   That being said, I give a shout out to all the old timers that are there and putting in the time.  I like being called "young fella" as well.  I did break down and make a purchase at GNC as I really needed a protein fix.  I hate to support this overpriced retail organization but I had no choice.  GNC SUCKS!

We will head over to Flagler, who is #33 in D2, for a 2:30pm match.  We have a lengthy history with Flagler which began with only losses.  However, in recent years, we have come out of my favorite place in D2 tennis with wins.  I have pretty much made it known that I will be the next coach at Flagler if they will have me.

Friday we will be taking on Armstrong Atlantic, the #1 ranked team in D2.  This is a great challenge as, in my opinion, this is the best program in the country.  I always look forward to playing this team as, for me, they are the standard and the measuring stick.  These guys just flat out do it better than I do and I really want to get into their class.  It is difficult to be on that level this early in the season, but I really like my team and will certainly learn things from this match.


I will be back later and hope to have good news for you.

He's coming...


Nuff said...

Sunday, March 03, 2013

A bit chili...

 

We have been greeted not so warmly here in the sunshine state.  It seemed a little odd to head off to our first practice in the out of doors with temperatures in the low 50's.  In addition, much like New York, it was also quite windy.  However, this mattered not to the players who were ready, willing and able. 

I often say that some things are worse for the coaches.  This is one of those things.  For me, it would have been much better to play rather than to watch.  The players had little trouble adjusting to the conditions which is a terrific indication of what I hope is to come.  To look so sharp after a long day of travel and in the weather elements is a credit to the mental toughness of the players and shows me that they are ready to compete.  I know that this team as a whole feels the lack of respect from the ranking chair and committee and has a mission to prove it's case.

We were able to grab a decent meal at Outback and get some grocery shopping done before retiring to our condos.  We certainly need a good night's rest which would have come earlier if not for Benas Majauskas' "extreme energy" and subsequent need to order everything on the menu.  It seems as though Sunday will be slightly more favorable for tennis and we have two practice sessions planned.  We will travel to Daytona Beach to play Embry Riddle on Monday.  We always like to start the trip with an NAIA opponent as preparation for the NCAA matches.  ERAU is always a strong and well coached squad and this year is no different as they are ranked #1 by the NAIA.

In any case, I must now go on a quest to find a GNC type store to get some protein.  I really hope I can avoid GNC (because it sucks) and it's absurdly high prices as perhaps there is another option here by the beach mall.  Then off to the gym.

Check in with you later.

Nuff said...

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Head...



Well you are looking at it.  Here before you is the latest addition to the Clipper family.  I am sure that there may be a few of my loyal readers that will lose substantial sleep over this and for this I apologize.

In any case, as my shirt reads, I still hate Laettner!




He should have been ejected...

Go Cats!!!

Nuff said...

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Gonna be a while...





 
Looking forward to an early spring as the groundhog predicted.  At this point he had better be hiding.  #GroundhogGoulash
 
Nuff said...