About 15 years ago I saw you, Rebecca Macree play Cassie Jackman at the US Open at Brown University. I think it was Cassie Jackman, does not matter, I was watching you. You had such a beautiful game , but what I loved most about you was your court presence. You challenged everything, referees, the ball, your opponent, the four white walls. Whether or not you could hear a stick of dynamite go off in the next court (anyone who knows you knows you are deaf) didn't matter, you were simply amazing to watch.
Ten years later I sat next to you at the TOC and we struck up a conversation. I noticed most about you was your exquisite eyes, these calico green eyes. It was exhausting talking to you because you read lips and I had to emphasize my pronunciation. I had had a deaf friend in college, so incredibly intgelligent, that after talking with him I had a headache and my jaws just screamed. It was the same thing. I loved talking to you and listening to all your recollections about squash. It was your last tournament and you were retiring.
I was too shy to ask you out but after we parted I spent months trying to contact you. I wasn't very successful. You were excited about leaving the tour and perhaps finding a life partner and starting a family and having a "normal" life. That was so charming to me because it seemed what you were doing in squash was more normal than anything you could possibly do. But I was at the time an overweight corporate type who loves squash probably more than anything. Rebecca, if you are reading, I'm fit and lean and mean. But forget that, what spawned this post was an article I read about the top 10 women squash players of the decade. You weren't on the list! If it were a popularity contest I could understand it, few liked playing you and probably many more didn't like refereeing your matches. But that edginess in your game was what made you stand out, you were in a world of your own, and when I watched you play, they, those on the outside, the hearing just didn't get it. I thank my brilliant deaf friend Steven from years back who taught me some things that allowed me to understand you a bit.
I was at that Atkinson match in the quarters of the 2005 TOC (your last major tournament before retiring), she was the world number 1, you looked awful early on but then you seemed to hit your stride and took her to 5 games. You lost, you retired, but I was so happy to have seen you go out at your best, a fighter, elegant but yet such a scrapper.
You belong on that list not because of any physical challenge, but because you had and probably still do such a beautiful game. I hope you found that happiness you left squash for, if you haven't, well I'm here in New York and will be for awhile:)