Sunday, May 2, 2010

3 Wishes from the Genie

Don't confuse arrogance with excellence. I watch enough squash in the US and there is this arrogance about squash that is, frankly embarrassing. We in the US have a chip on our shoulders. Here we are one of the greatest countries in the history of civilization and when it comes to squash we look foolish. The US Squash organization doesn't help matters, they promote glimmers of immediate hope while sacrificing long term goals. What do I know? Not much, but I do know this, that we will never EVER producce a top 10 player in the world doing what we are doing.

Someone once asked me if I had a few wishes in this world before I die, what would they be. It didn't take me long to formulate my answer. First and foremost would be that when I drive into the city on a hot July day I don't see Ozone warmings but see a crisp hot blue, deep blue sky. Secondly, I'd like to see poverty eradicated, I would like to see every person of color celebrating the dream of this country and not wallow in its nightmares and find themselves disenfranchised. And finally, most dear of all to my heart, I'd like to see a US squash player reach top 10 in the world. I would die a most happy man, even if only the last on this list would be achieved.

When I read that Gilly Lane beat top 10 Peter Barker in Montreal recently, I thought, wow, this is the most magnificent achievement in US squash history. And this came a couple of years after Julian Illingsworth beat Ollie Thuummen in what was at that time the greatest victory a US player ever achieved in international squash. And here Gilly Lane didn't beat a top 20 player he beat a top 10 player!

I saw Gilly Lane play in the Rhode Island open a few years back. Nothing special, just solid 200 ranked level squash. Three years later what did he do? He went and trained in Europe and elevated his game to new levels. What's going on here? We have so many professionals and past touring professionals coming to the US and what are they contribuiting to the US game? If they are here why then do we have to send a serious US player to Europe or England to take his game to the next level?

To me, the US Squash Organization is like NASA. I challenge them to put a US player in the top 10 before this decade is out, like Kennedy challenged the establishment to put a man on the moon...We did that 40 years ago, surely we can do this and send a US player to the top 10 position.

It may not, most certainly not, be Gilly Lane or Jullian Illingsworth or Chris Gordon, but I dream that it might be my son, and if not my son, then my grandson. We will get there, and we'll get there, if the desire and dedication is there, and may my weary soul rest in peace when we do.

1 comment:

Gina said...

Well-written piece...