Posted by: Staff | 03.08.2010

Dave “Moose” Renninger

SEBBY SMITH ’11

Squash has been one of the greatest experiences I have had at Beaver since I joined the community back in 2007. As I outlined in my last squash article, this sport is challenging, invigorating, and lightning fast. However, my favorite part of the after-school activity is our squash coach, Dave Renniger. He has done much more than improve our skills; he also inspires us to play the sport as often as possible. Dave loves squash; he trains, teaches, and competes daily and has become very talented squash competitor.

I was able to talk to Dave, who was eager to share his thoughts about squash, the Beaver team, and himself.

When did you start playing squash, how long have you been playing?

I first got on the court with my dad before he went to work when I was in 6th grade at a small Quaker school near Philly. The next year, I went to middle school at a different location, where squash was offered as a sport. I played there as an activity more than anything else. By the time I got to high school, I appreciated squash as a sport much more, and started to care how I played. My senior year in high school, I started really playing seriously. In college, I started putting serious effort into staying in shape, increasing my body’s capacity for the game, and improving for four years, and it paid big dividends.

What do you like to do when you are not playing squash?

I spend more time now than I used to watching the sport in addition to playing or teaching it. I went to five or six college matches this year, including the championship match between Yale and Trinity in New Haven. Not only is it fun, but it helps me understand the game better. I also put some time into training myself to increase strength and speed. I also spend a lot of time off my feet in my apartment; I learned a long time ago that when work is as demanding as squash, finding a balance between that and resting is essential in order to prevent injury. Bear in mind, most people can go into work in an office on crutches, or with a cast on, should something bad happen. I can’t!

How many hours per week do you spent playing, coaching, and training for squash?

Teaching, during the winter season: 20 hours

Teaching outside of the winter season: 8 hours

Playing during the winter season: 4 hours

Playing outside of winter season: 3 hours

Training, pretty much all year: 1 hour per day, so 7 hours

All together, 30+ hours into squash per week during the winter.

What was your college experience like?

My collegiate squash experience was a roller coaster; I didn’t always get along with my teammates, and, at one point, was suspended from the team for yelling at a teammate. Not the proudest moment of my life, to be sure, but also a learning experience. I had to learn at some point that getting along with people is, while not always easy, necessary in a team environment. I played near the bottom of the ladder after some really good players came in ahead of me for my sophomore year. At the 9 and 10 spots, I didn’t face a lot of challenging matches, even against superior teams, like Tufts. I did have a few really good matches, but nothing as intense as [those faced] the number 1, 2, and 3 spots faced. I learned a lot over my four years there though, and that’s what got me into coaching in the first place. I offered to help one of the players on our women’s team, who was a beginner, and she moved from the 9th spot to the 5th spot on the team over the course of one season. I also coached a kid who was 11, I believe, during my sophomore year, and continued working with him through my senior year. He was the #1 player in the country in the U13 division at age 11, and was unbelievable. I had a lot of fun in college, and between soccer, squash, and three martial arts, [classes] a lot of it was spent pushing myself pretty hard physically.

How did the Beaver team preform this year?

The BCDS team this year was a bit scattered over any kind of scale as far as performance. There were kids that took practices seriously, made it to all of them, came out to all the matches, and were good, hard workers. There were some who missed matches voluntarily, which I find horrific as far as a teammate goes. There were people missing practices, people playing hockey with squash racquets during practices, and people sitting outside the courts for the majority of practices. These are all things that frustrate coaches, seeing players who are at the practice, but aren’t giving it what they should be. Overall this year, I’d rate the Beaver team about a 7 out of 10, taking into account effort in practice, effort in matches, attendance in both, and attitude in both. I don’t take into account record of wins and losses, because that speaks just as much to how good a team we were up against as it does to our own efforts. Next year, I intend to do things much differently than this year, but I was caught off guard. There will be rules about attendance and effort that I’ll be able to quantitatively enforce, which I think we really needed this year, but didn’t have.

How did Ms. Henriquez do in her first year of coaching?

Coach Henriquez spent the majority of this year, as she predicted during the first day of practice watching and learning. It’s hard to be a faculty coach and be handed a job without knowing the first thing about what you’re supposed to be coaching. I thought she was quite adept at gaining an understanding of how the competition worked, the ladder system, the concept of challenge matches and how they affect a team, etc. through just watching how much effort players were giving to the practices and matches. I thought she did very well for what she was there for: an authoritative role, as much as anything else. I also think that should she be back next year, she’ll be better able to assert her own opinions toward the players and their games.

Nickname: MOOOOOOOOOSE

Favorite Type of Food: Burritos

Water or Gatorade: Water before a match, Gatorade during and afterward: Fierce Grape

Favorite Clothing Store: None

Favorite Fruit: Golden Crisp apples

Favorite Book: On the Water

Jeans or Sweats: Warm-ups

Summer or winter: Fall

Beyonce or Alicia Keys: Beyonce

Lil Wayne or Jay-Z: Jay-Z

Favorite Junk Food: Cadburry eggs

Favorite Recent Movie: Star Trek (though I haven’t seen Avatar yet…)

Fun Fact: If a family of four had a way to preserve the meat, an adult bull moose could feed them for over a year. The adult moose requires over 13,000 calories per day to maintain its weight

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