Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bring It On Home

The PST signing of David Palmer, former World Champion and British Open Winner, is in my mind a great moment for the PST. Palmer, while being at the tail end of his illustrious career, still will manage to lend a jolt of credibility to the PST. Perhaps the PST will eventually become partners with the PSA, who has soundly rejected and even threatened their players from playing in the US Professional Squash based tour, the brainchild of its maverick commissioner, Joe McManus. I don't want to reopen the case of the PSA ban, but what I do want to do is take this time and while taking a break from the tedium of my Technology job, see where my thoughts about producing a world number 1 ranked U.S. born player leads.

It's no mystery, that no U.S. born player will make it to the "top ten" world rankings without a great deal of help from our more experienced and talented squash brothers from the UK, Europe, Australia and anywhere else. For those with deep pockets, and who can afford travel and expenses overseas, there's no need to care about international squash coming to the U.S. They can seek it out and sustain international coaching and competition. It's expensive, but if you can afford it what better way to spend the money. There are a number of retired world class former squash professionals residing in the U.S. but their services come at a premium rate. Squash is an expensive sport, no matter how you look at it, just like tennis, golf or fencing. These are highly technical and demanding sports. Fortunately, for most of these other sports the resources are more readily available here in the U.S. Then it becomes the question of so you have a world class coach, where do you then find players of similar caliber? While most junior squash development is primarily focused on college squash, almost no development is focused on professional squash. We could go into all the reasons, but our country is primarily concerned with attaining monetary success. Monetary success is how we measure ourselves. Nothing wrong with that, but it is not the ONLY measure. Squash doesn't pay well but neither does teaching, non-profit, governments, etc.

My son still maintains a dream of playing professionally, his passion and love for this game is sometimes overshadowed by his immense frustration at becoming better. What he has achieved he's achieved mostly on his own, he is the equivalent of a self made man. We all admire self-made men on one level but on another we still value more success through the easy road. I believe in what he is doing even when he doubts it himself and because the PST has come along offering the opportunity to play and aspire at a higher level of squash, he might reach some of his goals. While I admire those PSA professionals and attend those PSA events nearby, the PSA does little or nothing for professional U.S. Squash development.

Someone whose squash mind I admire greatly mentioned to me the other day that he is waiting for someone to write an article on why Ilingsworth and Gordon (US 1 and 2) play on the PSA and compete all the way in China and lose in the qualifiers or opening rounds when they could play on the PST? Yes, absolutely. What will it take to bring those players to the PST? What will it take to lure Allistair Walker, top 10 PSA, currently residing in the U.S. to join the PST? Will it take one more signing, a Linceau, a Shabanna?

Squash is one of my passions, and call it patriotic, nationalistic, whatever you want, I want to see a U.S. born player someday on the PST play for the World title against the players of the PSA, a sort of "superbowl" of squash. Wouldn't that be something. As for Ilingsworth and Gordon, bring it back home, play on the U.S. PST tour, show some junior who dreams of playing professionally that it's within your grasp, here in the U.S. and that aspiring to professional squash is a noble calling and not merely a means to an end. Back to work, oh, should Linceau, Shabanna, Walker, Gordon, Ilingsworth sign with the PST I hope they sign on the condition that the PST does away with the "No-Let" rule.

1 comment:

Dave Foley said...

Well said, and I could not agree more. We in the US need to throw our support to the PST and Joe McManus.