Just A Little Drama
It seems like they where getting up for this event in Stockton for such a long time. Although the outcome of the IRT division of the Battle of the Ages, wasn't a surprise, there was a bit of drama. (Oh...and nice getting the word "penultimate" into the update Racquetball Blog.)
Since it was the weekend, I was trying to catch some matches via mobile and managed to get some glimpses, though I only got to see drama from my laptop. I caught the Jose Rojas - Daniel De La Rosa match, which ended at about 1am my time. That one could have gone either way and both guys played really well... a questionable call here and there. Both guys polite, with contrasting styles, made for good action with Jose taking it on his home court. (The chat room stuff was fun too... right Leo and Meredith?)
With its instant archiving, a time like this makes having an IRT Network account well worth it. Ben Croft faced Markie Rojas in Stockton. These two have some bad blood.. since an incident at the US Open in October. I was court side for that matter. Markie was calling a line and Ben went a bit over the top, berating Rojas because of some calls. It got ugly with words mostly going one way.
Outside of the older guys who are tail-ending in their pro careers, you rarely get to see the younger guys get into it on the court. The match was a bit of a powder keg, which I gotta say, I enjoyed watching. Approvals aside, it felt fresh. I don't think we've seen the best/worst of Ben yet, and I see him pushing some of the younger guys more as time passes. Even though you'll hear the guys in the booth keep referencing how it was back in the day continuously, I think having to deal with this type of stuff could be good character development for the younger guys. The back and forth between players may start spilling over into social, which would be good for the International Racquetball Tour. (I made the "back in the day" comment because even though I think its good to remember player history, we hold on a bit too tight as a sport.)
I think I heard John Ellis say "prick" three times during the match.