Brothers Bostwick

I acted as the moderator of a fascinating evening at the Racquet & Tennis Club earlier this month. It was a discussion with the brothers Bostwick, Pete and Jimmy and about their incredible athletic careers. We expected thirty people. Forty signed up. Seventy showed up.

The Bostwicks were hesitant about doing the event, thinking that they might run out of things to say. Instead, the conversational juices got flowing and I had to cut them off after two hours, and we had just lightly touched upon so many of their stories.

World champions in court tennis. Great ice hockey players (Pete tried out for the Olympic team) despite growing up in South Carolina. Pete played at Forest Hills, and in the 1959 U.S. Open in golf, at Winged Foot (missed the cut, but was one stroke better than Jack Nicklaus) and thus is probably the only guy to play in our national championship in lawn tennis, court tennis and golf.

Jimmy also qualified for the U.S. Open, in Rochester in 1968 (also missed cut) and won the French Amateur in 1964. Both won the Gold Racquets in court tennis and racquets, something no one else had done.

Pete told some stories about playing golf with Ben Hogan and lawn tennis with Nicklaus. Jimmy talked about Pierre Etchebaster. Pierre’s advice, every time, no matter who the opponent was or which court or what the tournament was, it was the same: “One point at a time. No mistakes.” 


Just did a talk at the annual dinner of the Northern New Jersey Squash Racquets Association.

I started off by saying that I think they have the longest name of any squash association in the world, or at least this side of the border—you suspect that the Squash Pekwachnamaykoskwaskwaypinwanik in Canada might beat it, if you could pronounce it.

It was a great night. A ton of people. Awards. Exhibition between Baset Ashfaq and Lee Rosen. It was nice to be at the Short Hills Club, which was the home of Tommy Iannicelli, the squash pro with the largest number of vowels in his name, only equaled by my co-author, Paul Assaiante. Sat with the Cipriano clan which including sipping a tasty Brandy Alexander after the meal.

Just minutes after running into a Dartmouth classmate who was having a late night game of squash, twenty years after we graduated, I was introduced to Mark Funk, who will be a freshman this fall at the college. Ouch 

The Glow of Barney Lawrence

Barney Lawrence died on Saturday 30 April. He was eighty-five.

Rial George Rutter Lawrence, Q.C., B.A., LL.B  was a legend, the absolute definition of ebullient.

I usually saw him at Lapham Grant weekends. The last time was at Apawamis a year ago. We talked for a long time, as was usual with Barney.  He was a good player, we tended to forget in later years—he told me a story about losing a close match to Diehl Mateer in the semis of a tournament in the1950s. But he was the great raconteur. He said he just recited the Gettysburg Address at his birthday party, he said. He was known for being able to reel off long stretches of memorized poetry.

The emails have been flying ever since the news of his passing came out. Kit Tatum said he was squash royalty. “One of the comments that Barney made at the Lapham Grant final luncheon speech was that he had made an ‘anonymous’ gift to the Lapham Grant event, and he sure as hell wanted everyone to know about it. The crowd broke up, and it was pure Barney.”

Ted Marmor talked about Barney’s warm, husky voice. “His distinctive role for after dinner talks was to speak a form of gibberish. That meant talking very fast, reversing sentences, reversing endings and beginnings of words, all the while smiling as if he were the funniest, wittiest, and most elevating speaker one could find.”

“I am deceptively slow these days” was his classic one-liner that Alladin Mitha recalled.

Guy Cipriano remembered Barney’s brilliant, after-dinner rendition of “Little Red Riding Hood.”

“We have lost a friend,” said Alan Fox. “Squash has lost one of its most colorful (and contributing) characters. Some of the glow goes out of the game for all of us.”

The masters trophy at the Lapham is named in part after Lawrence (the other half is another legendary guy who worked into his eighties, Howard Wilkins) and hopefully the glow will return, along with a Barney laugh and a joke or two.