Doubles Turns 100; Squash Mag Turns 10; Media Watch

Last month the Racquet Club of Philadelphia celebrated the one hundredth anniversary of their lovely clubhouse on South Sixteenth Street. A couple of years ago we spent a lot of time on conference calls trying to come up with a way to properly acknowledge this fact, as it was also necessarily the centennial of the invention of squash doubles. 

When the RCOP built their new clubhouse in October 1907, the head professional, Fred Tompkins was stuck with a random space, forty-five by twenty-five feet, on the fourth floor: too large for a squash singles court and too small for a third racquets court. So Tompkins plastered the walls, gave his members a hard, bouncy ball and told them to go smack it.

The RCOP had its usual Jimmy Dunn weekend in mid-November, with a Tiffany cocktail party and a black-tie dinner dance to celebrate the clubhouse centennial. But nary a word about dubs. Our US Squash conference calls came to naught and now the infinitely greater game moves into its second century with no acknowledgement of the last one hundred years. And even no recognition of Tompkins. Dunn, Jock Soutar—they have their tournaments at the RCOP each fall. But Tompkins is not a name to be found.

Squash Mag Turns Ten

Ninety years behind is Squash Magazine. The Seattle rag first appeared in October 1997 and in this month’s issue celebrated both its tenth birthday and its one hundredth issue. There is a lot to praise, for Squash Mag is clearly the world’s best squash publication.

I get asked a lot of the “Where Are They Now?” questions about squash people and for Squash Mag’s longtime art director and gonzo journalist Randall Scott, the journey has been pretty interesting. He and his family moved from Washington state to Washington city and a year ago he set up his own art gallery on 14th Street near Logan Circle. No more Monkey Squash or Hardball Revolution, for Randall Scott is a pretty highfalutin’, chardonnay-sippin’, hipster scene.

Media Watch IV: CCQ

I just got a copy of the newest issue of Country Club Quarterly, a new glossy magazine published in Westchester, NY. It is a whip-smart, not-so-little mag, one hundred and fourteen pages (Bernie Williams on the cover; Bill Murray on the back page) and loaded with ads and Chi Chi Ubina, an old NYC pal, snappin’ a bunch of photos.

The main point of CCQ is that Georgetta Lordi Morque penned a long piece on squash and paddle tennis (platform tennis). Morque is the daughter of the great Joe Lordi, the old squash tennis and New York Athletic Club giant for whom the memorial squash invitational was named. Her article quotes me, so you know it is good, but it also had sweet shots of Julian Illingworth by Jay Prince and Jonathan Power by Ben nCollier  and a vintage paddle photo from thirty years ago that has more than a hundred people watching the match. Ah, paddle in the winter sun. Those were the days.