Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Dark Cloud Over This Year's Pro Squash Tournament Of Champions

I spent less time than usual at this great tournament during my favorite squash time of the year. But a major shadow was cast over the excitement and electricity of this event. Many  were talking about the demise of the squash courts at 86th street. This is truly and absolutely a tragedy. I know people are hungry, there are wars, revolutions, murders, crime, refugees, but this is right up there. Anytime you destroy or take away something some of us hold as dear as life itself -- squash -- it is a tragedy. There's some ambiguity surrounding this closure, that it will occur in 2 years and that the courts if demolished along with the building  which is  to make way for a high rise,  might be rebuilt; but in all honesty, perhaps once they do the square footage math, it's quite evident that squash, once the staple of sophisticated urbanites, is on its flight to the suburbs. Having played this sport for 30 years and having  played at many of the clubs in Manhattan now since long gone, including possible 86th Street, it's a terrible and devastating loss. I don't mind saying that because I've nothing to feel guilty about in the "keep it in perspective"; I pay a ton of taxes, work like crazy, and all I really ask for outside the health and happiness of my family is a place to play squash with my fellow squashers at an affordable price.  Where have all the courts gone? I am reminded of all those squash joints all over the City that no longer exist:

Park Place
Park Avenue
5th Avenue
Printing House
Downtown Athletic
soon 86th Street.

I probably left out a lot more. But I am posting the link to the official article in the press.
Oh, and lest I forget, a pro squash tournament without one of the Ashour brothers in the draw didn't help relieve my somber mood.