Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Jonathan Power and Rocky Marciano

I ran into Jonathan Power at the Grand Hyatt lobby while waiting to do another interview during the TOC Squash tournament at Grand Central Station. I didn't recognize him, but Shawn from SquashZag pointed him out. I started talking to JP and told him he was one of my son's favorite players, that my son studies his instructional videos, and contends he is one of the greatest players ever (my son's squash IQ is through the roof). I have a past blog posting listing the top 10 greatest players I ever saw and JP isn't on it....I apologized to JP for that. I asked JP if he missed competing at that high level and he said emphatically, "NO". Was it the training, the regiment, the grind, I asked. I don't remember his answer, because I remembered suddenly, that when he retired, he retired number 1 in the world. I said to him you retired at number 1..."that's right!", he said. I thought to myself, that's right, how many players in any sport, in any sport's history, can say that when they left the game, they left the game on top, number 1, the best for that time? Not many, I thought of Rocky Marciano, while he died tragically, he is most remembered because when he left the sport he was the heavyweight champion of the world. Would Muhammed Ali have been truly the greatest ever if he had retired after he beat Leon Spinks in their championship rematch? I have a lasting image of Ali being pummelled towards the end of his career. So, JP is really special, and while I'm no squash historian, I wonder just how many great squash players retired at number 1 in the world? Not even god of squash, Jahnsher Khan, did that, I'm almost certain.
True to my word, I did say I might someday change that top 10 list of greatest squash players I've seen -- and that's what I just did.

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