Thursday, January 20, 2011

Has Bill Veeck Taken Over As PST Commissioner?

Recent announcements coming from the PST's commissioner, Joe McManus, have this fan a bit perplexed. A woman on the men's tour, 100k USD to a PSA top 10 player to sign with the PST, a 14 year old junior and now an elite PST draw? I'm waiting for McManus to provide haircuts between games as well as bring an incarnation of Eddie Gaedel to the courts (the only midget to bat in the big leagues). Can you imagine Venus Williams in the men's tennis draw? I thought the PST would provide aspiring professional or former college great squash players a place to play at a higher level and bring higher level squash to the paltry professional American squash scene. Someone forwarded a letter from McManus to supporters that clubs can now option for the "elite" draw as part of the PST tour. Does this mean we can see the same players whom we've always seen: Palmer, Hindi, Ball, White? What about exposure for all those aspiring professionals? We won't see them on the elite tour.
And the addition of women or a 14 year old junior American player. This is the kind of stuff that makes us a bit laughable. I guess if you're going to put a woman in the men's draw, I'd prefer Vicky Botwright, but she retired; she looked great on court and she'd certainly fill more seats wearing a thong. Natalie Grainger playing on the men's (sorry he/she or she/he) PST tour? What is that going to accomplish, men and woman aren't equal in the sports arena, there's no value judgement there, they are different -- only in this country do we strive for equality across the sexes. I for one am glad women are constructed with hips preventing them from playing the front court like a man. I've always complained when woman are allowed to play in the amateur men's draw, sorry, I don't like to play someone young enough to be my daughter or someone I pardon myself everytime I bump into her...but that's a different argument. Is David Palmer really going to play Natalie Grainger as physical as he plays Shahir Razik? Doubt it...or what about a 14 year old junior? I'm all for making exhibition matches but did Heather McKay ever play on the pro men's tour? She was the greatest woman squash player ever and one of the greatest female athletes, but she did play exhibition matches and that Frank Satterthwaite match in NY years back as documented in his book Three Wall Nicks and Other Angles...was interesting reading. I'm hoping the PST is having a bit of an identity crisis and will get back on track, I've been to only one of their events and just loved it. It was squash at its best and purest, great players playing on courts where the game was made to be played. And please don't add Jahangir Khan or Hashim Khan to the PST .
As for an elite tour. Forget elite squash, it goes against everything American. This is an American tour, showcase players that will help aspiring American professional or encourage great amateurs to pursue this game at a professional level. Okay, I'm off to the TOC qualifiers, to see some top 100 players battle it out to qualify for the main draw. Two of the three US players gone in the opening round qualifiers, the third is the top US player with an automatic place in the main draw. I'm just thinking, 5 years from now would love to see 10 US players working their way to a bid in the main draw, one or two getting to the qualifier final...where did they get their start? They played on the PST for a while it was tough competition on that tour, it took them to a different level.

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