PST Commissioner Joe McManus canvassed fans in the recent online publication of Squash E-zine on whether or not PST professional sanctioned tournaments should require its players to wear protective eyewear. It's mandatory for its amateur tournaments. My son started playing PST pro tournaments and I absolutely encouraged him to wear protective eyewear. It is always, in my opinion as both parent and coach, "better to err on the side of caution". In a time when we spend billions of dollars on technology to make cars safer, why wouldn't we spend some money on investing in protective eyewear. Who would argue with the statement, if it means one player doesn't lose his or her sight from an errant squash ball or racquet, why not make wearing protective eyewear mandatory. The game is changing, McManus is correct. The PST with the No-Let rule makes the game more aggressive and exciting. Exciting doesn't have to mean dangerous. If there is one doubt on the safety of the evolved style of play, simply wear the protective eyewear.
Do construction workers wear hard hats, does a welder wear protective masks, does a professional baseball player wear a helmet? Of course they do, while most professions experience a small percentage of accidental injuries due to some mishap, the response should always be safety first -- at any level!. There is no reason, none, that players can't wear protective eyewear. There are issues with fogging and scratching and getting used to them, but all of these issues are easily remedied with proper well constructed protective eyewear. I have never had a problem with my glasses, I sweat profusely, I see clearly -- I recommend everyone wear the white colored prince court glasses. At $20.00 plus dollars, in my mind, there's no reason not to wear them. While I'm not a professional player, I have been hit with an aggressive racquet and a couple of times with the ball in the eye, squarely in the eye. But I was wearing my tried and true protective glasses.
Another critical reason is junior players copy professional players. I can't tell you how many times juniors will say they don't see the "pros" wearing protective glasses. I can only say they are wrong, it should be mandatory. If it saves one persons eyesight it's worth everyone wearing them. Once you are used to them you will be surprised how even when practicing you automatically put them on, they way you would automatically tie your laces.
I have a woman 4.5 student-player who could be a national champion and great amateur tournament player. My biggest challenge with her is not her technique or footwork but to get her to wear protective eyewear. She says it makes her feel clautraphobic, okay, but one-eyed darkness will really make her really feel clautraphobic. I tell her she can never compete because of this. We are working on it. Selena are you reading this?
And is there any professional squash player who can say the outcome of a match was determined by the use or lack thereof of protective eyewear. I'd like to hear from them.
McManus has shown he is the "commissioner" of this tour and he will openly discipline star players with suspensions for not adhering to the overall sportsmanship qualities of squash. I applaud him for taking this step; it is long overdue. Players will adapt, and perhaps the makers of the eyewear will listen to the players wearing those glasses and invest the money to improve the quality and effectiveness. I'm sure Prince, who already sponsors the PST with their torunament ball, would gladly contribute their protective eyewear, which is the best in the market, to the torunament players.
Next on the "commissioner's " agenda, should be getting rid of PAR scoring. But first things first.