Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dashed and Bashed

This has been quite a week. Yes, I was dashed and bashed as PST Squash said, but you know it was well worth it. First off, I want to tell you that as cliched as it might be every cloud has a silver lining. I met this wonderful squash guy, named Sasha, he reminded me of someone once years ago that I got on court with and we had a most contentious match, we later became really good friends. I want to thank Sasha for reaching out to me and I want to apologize for saying he is "what's wrong with squash". He is actually, although I disagree with him on many points, what is so good about squash. We played a match, had a tough match, we played hard points, but in the end we came off the court and became friends. His emails back and forth about Mark Talbot were really something. I happened to have caught Mark towards the end of his career on the softball platform and judged him accordingly.

I respect more than anything else in this world knowledge and wisdom. As Ezra Pound said if at 50 you have no wisdom then you have nothing. I appreciate Sasha's wisdom. He is 50 and has great wisdom. The beauty of squash is it brings together on court people and players of disparate backgrounds and upbringing. Ultimately, squash is one of the few things in life that on court it doesn't matter where you came from, Greenwich or East New York, Princeton or nowhere, what maters is how you play and carry yourself on court.

I love the history of Squash and Sasha has a great sense of that history, he opened my eyes to that even more and I have such respect for that.

The point of this? This is a game that brings people together, whether on court or on the platform of something like DSR. It's a symphony, so many different instruments and players but we all want the same thing, great squash, we all want this harmony of excellence.

My son whom I consider one of the smartest squash (not just squash) people around, said that, "hey dad, you sometimes go off on a certain tangent, but I know where you are going, because I know you and you want a level of excellence that was not achieved." Not bad, it comes down to believing that we can some day put in the World Open or Olympics, if that comes about, a number one team. Let's instill results and not effort, let's figure out how we get there from here. I love this country, it has so many flaws, but it is the best last hope of anything, I want it to be number one in everything including the sport I love beyond belief -- squash!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Squash...this game, it's an enigma, what can I say. When you love it and have a passion for it you see things all sorts of things. Here is what I see. Sorry Paul Assiante, I read your latest blurb about the US in the World teams, an utter embarrassment. Dylan Murray is no phenom, if you want to know what a phenom is go and watch Jahangir Khan beat Geof Hunt at the age of 17 in the world Open, that is phenomenal. Let's face it rumor had it Julian doesn't want to train. Gilly Lane, yeah some success good for him but not for the team. Dylan Murray, I watched your match against Malaysia, you looked like a top 200 player. Chris Gordon, damn Chris, you are complete, not Gordo, but Gordon. You are a beast, you are at the top of your game push through like there is no tomorrow, because there really isn't. I rode on the elevator after one of your matches a few years back and listened to the most disparaging remarks about you as a player and as a man. I am happy to say, that guy had it all wrong, you are a workhorse, my hat off to you. And I watched you solo hit a few weeks back, inspiring.

What is the structure for the US Team, do we have trials, tryouts, or is it the usual political selections? Open this thing up to all the hungry players out there, hold try outs. Who is the alternates? Who is it for Assiante to run down the list of those on the horizon what qualifies him? The US team is an embarrassment, sorry Paul, this is the big leagues the world stage. Trinity recruited pros from overseas everyone knows that and had great success. How would Mike Krzyzewski fair in the NB, on the Pro level, not very well -- as a Squash mind you are...okay let's not confuse effort with results. You are a great motivator, but not a great squash mind. Chris Walker on the sidelines? Why is Chris on the sidelines? Maybe, he's there to jump in when things really fall apart. Chris Walker what was his function?

Where do we go from here? Open up eligibility to tryouts. A series of tryouts. Let's put a team that isn't based on sentiment or current promotion. I don't want to hear the word brilliant associated with any US player, we ARE NOT BRILLIANT, we have no phenoms, we are mediocre and let's take it from there. Let's put a structure in place that makes players hungry and challenge and fight for every spot on our team. You want the Olympics, this is big business and not squash college recruiting.

Coach. Bring in Hisham Ashour right now bring in his work ethic and his absolute brilliance as a coach. He will be the next best thing since...I don't know, maybe god. This guy is the supreme squash mind and future great coach of the game. US Squash take this stuff seriously, stop embarrassing this country on the world stage of squash. Open this up to anyone and everyone who wants to represent this team, make every player earn their spot. If Julian isn't in shape, well any player knows if you aren't in shape you will be injured. I love your game Julian, but step aside if you don't want to train like it is your last game and like you want to win for your country.

If this were the Olympics, what would you say about a country that finished 12th our of 30 something. Probably nothing. We have the most incredible players and coaches and former best players in the world and what do we do, basically nothing. If US Squash really wants to do something, put together a Squash institute with all these great squash minds over here, let us take from them to build our program to promote our game. Paul, direct this, but get off the front lines, you don't belong there. I want Hisham Ashour or someone like him to lead us forward. I want the boards and the chairman's and the "suits" to think beyond their mean little strategies for our game and I want vision, a visionary, that should we make it to the Olympics in 2020 we are competing with Australia, Egypt and England on the world stage. We can do it, let's do it, but let's do what it takes to put us there.