Meet Brian Dahlstrom, the man responsible for stringing Syracuse’s rackets

first_img Comments Published on February 25, 2019 at 11:00 pm Contact Andrew: arcrane@syr.edu | @CraneAndrew Brian Dahlstrom stood next to a Wilson Baiardo tennis stringing machine tucked in the corner of Drumlins Country Club’s bigServe Pro Shop. He lined up a black and red racket in the middle of the machine, about 100 feet from the lobby where fans watched Syracuse’s match against Colorado on Feb. 15. He wove and clamped strings, tightening rackets at the proper tension.“I think people are surprised that it’s every string,” he said.As Dahlstrom strung the racket, he recalled his importance to No. 25 Syracuse’s (8-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) program. He’s why SU has intact rackets during its matches. Why the Orange players always have four rackets to carry in their equipment bags. When Syracuse players break a racket, they give it to Dahlstrom and he has it back to them within 24 hours. Before he came to Drumlins, Dahlstrom co-owned a tennis club in Illinois.Now, he’s an hidden asset for Syracuse.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAmy Nakamura | Senior Design EditorJunior transfer Guzal Yusupova doesn’t like to string her rackets. Gabriela Knutson wants to learn, but others claim it’s too hard. “Of course we give it to someone,” sophomore Sofya Golubovskaya said. For SU, it’s Dahlstrom.“It’s one of those things, once again, that if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s a complicated process,” Dahlstrom said.On top of a cabinet in Dahlstrom’s office, the room next to the pro shop, sit two totes. He recently pulled a clear one down, opened the lid and took out tennis racket string. It’s his bin dedicated to SU tennis and holds everything he needs for its rackets. To the right of his cabinet, a label says “TO BE STRUNG GO ORANGE,” and above another hook, “COMPLETED RACKETS GO ‘CUSE.”Sometimes, the hooks will stay empty for two weeks. Suddenly, there could be eight fixes needed in 10 days. Last Friday, the only one on either hook was freshman Sonya Treshcheva’s finished racket.Strings form a pocket that the ball is then sucked into, Dahlstrom said, and if the racket’s tension range is between 52 and 62 pounds, the lower side gives shots more spring. SU head coach Younes Limam’s racket is strung at a very low tension because he has complete control of his shots. If a player wants more control and less power behind balls, the racket is strung closer to 62.“If I was going to jump up and down in the air and try to touch the ceiling, the floor would not give me any energy at all, because it’s stiff,” Dahlstrom said. “If you put me on a trampoline, you get more bungee. But what happens on trampolines? Sometimes people break arms, it can be reckless.”Corey Henry | Staff PhotographerA similar concept applies to tennis strings. Before Dahlstrom starts stringing a racket, he pre-stretches the string right out of the package. In the Drumlins hallway, 20 feet from a side exit, he pulls it around the door handle while SU fans squeeze between Dahlstrom and the wall.Prior to Drumlins, he co-owned the Quad City Tennis Club in Moline, Illinois, and at one point strung current Women’s Tennis Association’s No. 17 Madison Keys’ childhood rackets. He first found out about the Drumlins position from SU associate head coach Shelley George, who Dahlstrom met at a meeting in Kansas City. He coordinated everything from installing a new metal roof to painting the lines in the parking lot. Now, at Drumlins, it’s just tennis.“He’s our string guy, he’s our guy,” George said.The stringing machine at Drumlins was used at a US Open, Dahlstrom said. The best one there is in pounds or kilograms, Dahlstrom slides the string through the grommets, clamps it in place, wraps it around the tension arm and simply pushes a button. When it’s time for cross-strings, he weaves it in-and-out of the main one, before repeating the same process. When finished, he knots the end.Inside a box in the back corner of Dahlstrom’s office, he collects old wooden rackets. His father worked in the military in World War II, deployed in the Philippines and learned tennis from a player ranked top-20 in the world at the time while in charge of recreation activities, he said. Every time he finds an old racket that reminds him of his roots, he buys it.Anyone can claim that they can string a racket, themselves, in 15 minutes, Dahlstrom said. The bottom line, in Dahlstrom’s mind, is that his process is more about quality.Todd Michalek | Staff PhotographerWhen Dahlstrom brought his broken racket to his coach while at Illinois State University, Dahlstrom was told to do it himself. An hour-and-a-half later, Dahlstrom’s “ridiculously stringed racket,” loose in the middle and along the edges, is what he avoids today. Now, an average racket takes him about 30 minutes.“Having the opportunity to string thousands and thousands of rackets makes it go faster,” Dahlstrom said.Near the end of Syracuse’s match against Harvard on Feb. 17, Dahlstrom made his way onto the courts and moved toward Knutson’s blue bench. The senior had broken one of her Babolat Pure rackets on the previous rally, set it down and reached inside her blue bag to grab another. After Knutson returned to the court, Dahlstrom went and inspected her racket.Will Hicks, SU’s assistant athletics director for athletic performance, shouted: “He’s a stringer. He does special things to them.” After nearly a minute of toying with Knutson’s racket, Dahlstrom, with his hand still gripping it, disappeared into the Drumlins curtains.center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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Maris Bonello: Kindred Group – Industry Responsibility should always be a long term investment

first_img Submit StumbleUpon  On 20 September Kindred Group Plc will host its second ‘Responsible Gaming Conference’ in Malta discussing the industry’s current context with regards to player protections and consumer responsibilities. Kindred integrity manager Maris Bonello a key stakeholder of the ‘Responsible Gaming Conference’, speaks to SBC on Kindred social responsibility initiatives amid changing industry dynamics and new pressures.  _________________________SBC: Hi Maris Bonello, as a European operator why has Kindred Group founded and further invested in the ‘Responsible Gaming Conference Malta’?Maris Bonello: Since our foundation back in 1997, we have seen trust and responsible gambling as a core part of our business. As with any other business, we want customers to enjoy our products and we want them to enjoy them over a long period of time, preferably forever. The investments we have made into responsible gambling and tools such as our proprietary PS-EDS system (a monitoring tool able to detect changes in gambling behaviour and patterns) are to ensure we help our customers enjoy gambling in a safe and secure way. The second gambling stops being joyful, we urge our customers to take a break.Being a co-founder of the Responsible Gaming Conference is a way to openly discuss what is for the industry relevant and important questions. Arranging this conference in Malta is very natural as we have many local stakeholders here, gaming has a high presence on the island and it is also a way to share our expertise with key policymakers. SBC: With changing industry dynamics at consumer and regulatory level, what new developments and factors are we seeing with regards to the industry Responsible Gaming’s debate and discussion? MB: The industry is maturing and getting more professional every day, both online and offline. We can also see this trend in the debate on responsible gambling. With regards to standards being raised across Europe, what is OK today will not be tomorrow and operators need to challenge themselves and ensure that based upon innovation they can continue to provide a premium user experience in a safe and secure environment.We can also see how the online gambling industry has raised the bar on several responsible gambling areas, such as KYC processes and responsible gambling tools, and that the offline gambling industry are following, which is good for the industry and for the customer. The online operators also have the unique attribute of having access to objective data, which can be used for higher research. For instance, Kindred is cooperating with renowned researchers Professor Mark Griffiths and Dr Michael Auer to better understand player profiles, the player journey and the efficiency of responsible gambling practices.SBC: Operating as an enlarged enterprise, how has Kindred developed and enforced Responsible Gaming best practices across its brands and operations?MB: Kindred was founded by a devoted punter, Anders Ström, and responsible gambling has been in our “By Players, For Players” DNA. Today responsible gambling remains strongly anchored in our Kindred values and our sustainability strategy.  Our continued growth as a professional and reputable business can only happen if our customers can sustain their betting over time, so making sure that our customers stay in control over their behavior, i.e. moderate their play with state of the art self-control tools, is very important to us. Everybody in the organization is aware of this and it is a part of our culture.SBC: At a regulatory level should there be a greater emphasis at creating a standard code for Responsible Gaming, or should it be governed at local/national jurisdiction? MB: Yes.  For efficiency reasons, it is much better to comply with a single highest standard of compliance than with several fragmented sub-optimal standards.  Secondly, there is an element of scalability; new technologies are border-less and by default is scalability not hampered by geographical restrictions. Finally, the EU Commission 2014 Recommendation on Responsible Gambling is a first step in that direction. Kindred was the first operator to successfully complete an external audit against this pan-EU standard.SBC: Assessing industry developments and initiatives, do you believe that players are now better informed on Responsible Gaming rules and practices? MB: Yes, I believe so as we are much more prone to find information on our own today. Furthermore, as an informed adult choice is a key element of gambling, we recognize the importance of clear and transparent information about responsible gambling.  Around 2% of our customer contacts are around responsible gambling, including informative questions as to tools available. As user experience is key, in our view it is important to make that information as easily available and easy to understand.  Kindred for instance, is also supporting further development of Gambling Therapy’s responsible gambling app containing useful information. We also offer our customers a free license to Betfilter, which give our customers the ability to block all gambling companies.SBC: Finally, hosting the ‘Responsible Gaming Conference Malta’ what do you want attending delegates to take away from the event?MB: We hope that in organizing this conference we will not only bring key stakeholders together, but also based upon discussion and open challenges allow us all to bring forward a fact-based discussion on responsible gambling and digital gambling policy in general. We want delegates to leave the conference with a greater understanding of this complex yet important issue. Because at the end of the day, gambling is part of people’s personal entertainment and in a digital borderless environment, it is the customer who decides in function of his/her informed choice and service proposition._______________________Maris Bonello Share Sharelast_img read more

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