Friday, February 5, 2010

Don't Sell Squash's Soul to the Devil(s)

Why are there so many out there who feel that squash, this great game of ours, needs any validation from selection committees, squash organizations, television/mass media or corporations? Does squash really need to be in the Olympics? What would it matter? Is it a better way to market the sport? And to what end? Is the appeal for more players or spectators or money, ah, that all pervasive motivator --money! Is the idea to profit more from this sport? This sport is difficult and if money isn't the motivator now, what is it, dedication, devotion, pursuit of excellence -- not bad qualities, actually qualities you can't put a price on. I suspect money is at the root of those wanting this Olympic or any other validation. This is not a sport that has been contaminated by television dollars or mass marketing. I am reminded of Kahn's book "The Boys of Summer" about the old Brooklyn Dodgers, a time before television dollars changed that once great sport into a morass of corruption and greed. You could run into the players at a local deli and talk to them or on a subway on their way to a game. These players were part of the community of "Baseball" not segregated by huge amounts of money they nowadays make. I think if those who want profits and dollars from squash succeed I for one will someday be writing here about how incredible it was that you could once go up to and talk to the Ashour's, Jahangir Khan, James Wilstrop and Nick Matthew...ask them about squash, how to hit the "Mizuki", or seek out Peter Nicol and have a chat about his academy. "Money is the root of all evil", and I for one hope that I never see this great sport of ours march to the almighty dollar. These players who grow up playing this sport at the highest levels, don't do this out of desire for money or fame and material success, they are the truest athletes harkening back to a time, like Kahn describes, when players seemed to simply play the game for the love of it, as cliched and naive as that might sound. To all those who want to cash in on this sport of squash, be careful what you wish for, you just might be selling the soul and essence of this game to a committee of devils.

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