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.



Jim Coddington said...

It is one thing to overhear unfair talk in an elevator and it is quite another to publish what, seems to me, unfair talk. Rumors of not training? Do you think publishing rumors is fair? If it is true, please cite your source or somehow prove it. If it is not, please don't publish it.

Anonymous said...

Will,interesting comments, I do think you are correct in us trying some new things, trials,coaches etc. I think all of us in the squash community have to start thinking "out of the box", look at new ideas,we are avery conservative group a bunch of us & some new bllodcertainly wouldn't hurt

Anonymous said...

You think Hisham Ashour has a work ethic? Compared to the top pros? Hahahahahahahha. You literally know nothing about squash whoever wrote this trash. Who is to play instead of Julian, Gilly and Dylan? Who???? Please inform us. This was the BEST team the US team could field minus the loss of Harrity who has top 30 potential. Ever see him play? Probably not. At this tournament, motivation is needed. These pros have been around the game and tour long enough to know what they need to do for strategy in between games. Yes, obviously a great tactical coach like Pearson, Way, Robertson, Wagih and others are great to have. But having a motivator there to push you to go all in for your country is still great to have and that's what Paul does. International pros at Trinity? How many of Trinity's players played full time PSA before college? Hm? What about Harvard, Yale and Rochester? Get back to me on that, its not a big difference. Dylan Murray has won 3 or 4 US jr Nationals in a row, that's phenomenal for US squash standards and he is a former British jr Champ finalist, why don't you survey 100 top international squash players and ask what they would give to be in the British jr open finals. Who was to go to France instead of Dylan? The runners up or consolation winners? He almost went 2 up on Azan from Malaysia, did you watch it? Gilly played great for the USA and you can tell he plays for the team. If Julian hadn't pulled out of Germany, Gilly's win would have finished the upset. As it says in your profile, you are an aspiring coach, which essentially says you are a rookie. Why don't you leave the analyses to the pros before people think this entry was done by a squash player/coach with knowledge of the game and international competition. Save it. Your bit about Hisham still gets me. He is without a doubt one of the most talented players ever to play (arguably more than his brother) and he wasted it by not working on his fitness and playing on talent alone. When he did train hard finally, he had a career year, but that was short lived as he reverted to old ways. Its sad that he wasted his true potential. That bit about his work ethic still makes me laugh. The only thing you got right in that whole bit was Gordo (and Gordo is his nickname which everyone calls him by so don't act like its a joke). He works his tail off and is where he is on hard work, dedication and attiude. He is a great leader for US squash. Other than that, garbage garbage garbage. I hope this can be seen by everyone and isn't deleted because it attacks -with honesty and truth - this entry.

Anonymous said...

Don't be scared and not show that anonymous entry, show people the truth.

Squash from Delphi said...

Anonymous about Hisham, don't confuse training with work ethic, work ethic is being really smart and learning the game his career didn't start at the top, he got to where he is not just on talent and his great personality. Some of the smartest people have a great work ethic but are lazy, talk to the person who invented the wheel, I am sure they worked hard at coming up with such a great idea. Hisham is probably one of the best and great squash minds out there in all aspects of play. Do not confuse effort with results, which you seem to do. Whether Todd Harrity reaches top 30, it takes more than saying he has that talent. My point about Dylan Murray, when your coach says he is a "phenom" on the international level and at best hundreds of club players in the UK would beat him easily, it is embarrassing. I know you have a lot of country pride as I do, but the difference is I published my comments and observations with my name because I believe that this country will produce top pro squash players, we aren't there yet and if we are to commend ourselves for mediocrity then we have a long way to go. Tell it like it is, there's always elements of truth in rumors. I am simply a most humble student of this game, unlike yourself I have no qualms stating I know very little about this game, hence, it remains a great "enigma" to me. But it's good I struck some nerve in you just be a bit more courageous and put your name to it, if you believe in what you say.

Anonymous said...

There is an open tryout for the team, its called the SL Green.... You seem to think that throwing money and names at the team will make it better which is puzzling. The problem is that squash in the US is small (but growing). The talent pool is getting deeper by the year, and US Squash is fostering this growth but it will take time. I would be surprised if the 11 contries who finished ahead of us didn't have more squash players than us. I'm all for brutal honesty and there are plenty of things in the squash world that deserve criticism, but this article is way off base, not to mention counterproductive.

Anonymous said...

Hi, you make a couple good points and couple dumb ones.

I agree that Paul Assaiante should not be the head coach. He is a great motivator, game manager, but he is not the greatest tactically,everyone knows that. Chris Walker or Hisham would be good choices to act as coach in these competitions.

The rest of your points are largely dumb. Dylan Murray may not be the next junior world champion and he is a class below the top egyptians. But he is the most talented junior prospect the US has seen in years. He reached the British Jr Open final the last time he did it, and is a world class junior and has great talent. If a player reaches a final of the BJO and isn't a phenom, then who is. He would have a good chance of winning against every junior in the world at the moment except the top 5 egyptians, and maybe 2-3 other guys. I think he played fine this world championship, but wasn't that fit. Keep in mind, however, he was called up right before the tournament started. He didn't train or prepare for a world championship..

You also say that " at best hundreds of club players in the UK would beat him easily, it is embarrassing". No offense man but that comment shows you know absolutely nothing about world squash. I would say Dylan would definitely lose to most top 150 players, and there are around 25 in England. Even so, other than the top 8-10 english players in the top 60, these would all be competitive matches. "Beat him easily" is most definitely the wrong term. Count in former PSA pros and other guys, I'll give you 35 in UK that can definitely beat Dylan and that's generous I feel. Even so, most would have tough matches with Dylan. your number of "hundreds" couldn't be more wrong.

I am also frustrated at the USA's finish, we should have been top 8. However, your idea of open tryouts is 100% wrong. I know all the top squash palyers in the US off the top of my head, and they are Chris, Julian, Gilly, Todd, Hanson, Murray, Khan. Chris Julian Gilly and Todd are a level above everyone else. Even if Julian is lazy and doesn't feel like training, he is obviously still a top 4 American player. Thinking otherwise is stupid. Additionally, your open tryouts are the SL Green championships. If that doesn't constitute a fair open tryout IDK what does.

Basically this post is full of empty frustration and rhetoric, which I can understand, but many points are flat out incorrect and exagerrated.

Keep in mind also that we were one unlucky injury form a top 8 finish. Julian was up 1-0, 8-5 against a player he would beat, but he got injured. That doesn't happen and we finish top 8. Matter of luck really.

Be optimistic for the future. All the signs point to USA becoming a top 4 squash nation in your lifetime. All the top coaches are migrating here, Lincou, Palmer, Johnson, Walker, Ashour, Hindi, PETER NICOL, Ali Walker, and many others I'm forgetting. I have witnessed firsthand the massive growth the junior and college squash scene has had. A ranked 10 player in BU19 from 2007 would be around 25 today. Squash is now becoming a year -round sport for many juniors. I've also witnessed firsthand at international tournaments the top american juniors taking games from the very top 3 juniors in England and the top 7-8 in Egypt. All signs point towards a massive improvement in our squash level, and there is no reason for pessimism. It may take many years for juniors to take the PRO route instead of taking an office job, but eventually more will take it.

I am speaking as a former national champion.

Anonymous said...

Your open tryout idea is useless. Squash, especially in the USA is a small world and everyone knows the top players. Only 4 players play pro all time or recently did, and they are Chris Julian Todd and Gilly. It is litearlly impossible for some lower lvl unheard of player to become super motivated and beat these guys in any sort of tryout. you may think they're bad or untalented or lazy, but they are the clear top choices and to think otherwise is very foolish.

Also, the selection of Dylan was the right move. Who else is there? You can argue that a couple of players Hanson, Khan, Mclaughlin are close to Dylan and maybe even a bit better, though I disagree. Even so, Dylan is the most talented out of all of them, and looks to be the next top American after Todd in years to come. Giving him this valuable expericen was the right move.

Anonymous said...

Will, Squash is an individual sport. The best players are talented individuals who grew up playing. Alot. The performance of a team at World Championships depends on the quality and passion of the athletes playing the game, now, in 2020, or in 1988. It is not a function of coaching, trials or the nature of the organization.
John McEnroe has frequently pointed out that the best U.S. athletes do not go into tennis. Do you think we haven't won a Davis Cup in a while because of the selection process?
The U.S. has more kids playing organized soccer than any country on the planet. Is it coaching, selection and organization that prevents us winning the World Cup?
How good athletes select their sport, and how passionately they pursue it is a cultural phenomenon.
To effect a shift of gifted athletes to squash, away from basketball or motor-cross or whatever is not a simple matter.
You refuse to believe it, but the U.S. player with the most wins in the top ten remains Mark Talbott. At the World Championships 25 years ago he beat Gawaine Briars, then ranked 9. If there are a group of 14 and 15 year-olds in the U.S., playing squash, with Mark's abilitiy, and most important his steely competitiveness, perhaps we will see fine results in 8-10 years. Otherwise, you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, emotional ranting blogs notwithstanding. This is not to diminish the efforts of the current players. As you point out, Gordon gets the most out of his game, and is to be commended for playing well above his talent.

It is simply not done to attack a coach for praising his players. I hold no brief for Assaiante, but what you have written is absurdly unfair. What should he do? Bash them? I have read your blog for a while, and you certainly talk up the players at your club. (With no intention to offend, I had to giggle when you told us that a young player had performed the remarkable feat of defeating Jim Masland.)
Finally, I twitted you a bit the other day for your complaint that some journalism awards or other ignored bloggers.
Journalists do not write in such a passion that they ignore entirely the rules of spelling, grammar and logic. Formal English is not required on blogs of this sort, of course, but your piece is practically unintelligible at points. Perhaps you find that comment harsh, but your claim that bloggers were insulted by the awards suggests that you take what you do here seriously, and consider it to be of service to the game.

All the best, Sasha

Anonymous said...

Can't believe I managed to read this entire piece of garbage without puking.This whole piece is completely wrong. I don't know who wrote this but I have a feeling you have little to no knowledge of squash. Hisham Ashour.... really? He has no work ethic. He is one of the most naturally talented players yet he is too lazy to train hard and succeed. But according to you that is someone we want around our national team. Dylan Murray not a phenom... good one. He is one of, if not the best, American junior of all-time. But I guess that is no big deal. He is 18 years old... not sure what you expect from a kid playing in the Men's World Championships. This piece is beyond idiotic and I hope you take it down to save yourself from the embarrassment.

Anonymous said...

this was a down year for the americans.

Chris Truswell said...

Oh dear. This is why I think the internet is sometimes a bad mistake- it gives everyone a chance to voice their opinions, even when they have no idea what they're talking about. In real life, no one would really listen or give them the time.

The comment about Gilly makes no sense, he won all but 1 match playing at 2 against good opponents, whilst not training full time. He can't do more than win and can only beat the person he's up against. I think that deserves some credit.

Julian got unlucky, it happens. He's in decent shape, having just won back to back $10ks and beating Marwan in HK right before the worlds. I think you'll find he wants to win as much as any of the other players and his loss was a big one.

Dylan was the logical pick as a late replacement for Todd. Before that, the team picked itself- Julian, Gordon, Gilly and Todd are way above anyone else and Dylan is the best Junior by some way. In no way can those selections be viewed as 'political'.

As a Squash player, reading this makes me laugh, cringe and get annoyed at the same time. I don't know enough about the systems of US squash to make a comment about them so I won't but I know all of the players personally and I don't think it's right to shoot them down like that while you're sat behind a blog.

My final point, as a side note is that the article is very badly written which makes it even less credible than it is. Maybe you should get a young child to proof read your next entry before publishing it?

Best regards,

Chris Truswell

Anonymous said...

All those listed in this article are more than exceptional players. If you don't like how the selection process is done then why don't you contact US Squash about it instead of bashing all the great current US players on a public forum?
I have never heard of you nor have I ever heard of anyone you've "coached", so until you start shelling out great national champs like Dylan, Julian, and Gilly, you should keep those negative comments to yourself

Anonymous said...

I notice my response to your piece has not appeared. Did you find it too tough, or have you simply not found time to moderate it?
I look forward to your response.
Yours, Sasha

Anonymous said...

the U.S. now has more squash players than any other country on earth.

Anonymous said...

Hi Will,

Here is my e-mail. If you are willing to read it and at least suspend judgement for the few minutes it takes to get through it, I will send you a letter with two apologies- one, not abject but unqualified and heartfelt, the second so qualified that unless you're able to read it patiently it may irritate you as much or more than anything I've written already.
If you read it and we exchange a couple of letters I'll apologize to you on one count publicly (in case you think I want to do something slimy like dis you in public and then hide.)

I bet we can find a number of things in common. For example I'll guess you're as turned off as I am by Cipriano's material view. Did you notice he wrote that Harrity would be a fool to go to the Worlds because of all the contacts he could make at graduation? I find that positively slimy (although there are other reasons to go to graduation). You'd think Guy's whole life is lived in the office and one of those stodgy men's clubs in Manhattan. What a drab view of squash and of the world.

I don't shy away from fights but I prefer friendly debate. Since that that possibility doesn't now exist between us, I'd like to clear the air.

Yours sincerely, Sasha

By the way I have a little Latin and less (that is to say no) Greek.