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...

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



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


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


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...