Out Front

Barbara Cooper, another person whose book I reviewed last year, has a new book out. 

The squash guru in Toronto has made a name for herself on the web for advice: 


And she now has edited: Out Front: Business Building Strategies From Frontline Entrepeneurs. This is an interesting book about branding, selling and living by a wide variety of businesspeople, coaches—even a dentist. 


The book has done well: it won an award from the National Academy of Best Selling Authors—http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avF2lGW6ENc

Halls of Fame

America has always been obsessed with honoring past athletes and its sports histories. The oldest major sports hall of fame in the world is baseball’s (started in 1936 and its first building opened in Cooperstown, NY three years later). While cricket, football and rugby only started their halls of fame in the past fifteen years, various U.S. sports have had halls for many decades (ice hockey 1943, tennis 1954, basketball 1959, American football 1963 and golf 1974). 

With squash, it is also the same. There are halls of fame around the world. Australia started its in 2005; New Zealand in 2009. The World Squash Federation opened one in 1993. Squash Ontario started in 2005—it is located at Niagara on the Lake. 

But the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame & Museum, the oldest and most vibrant tangible squash hall of fame in the world, is going strong with fifty-one inductees so far since our founding in 2000. 


Yesterday there was an article in the Times about cohousing, a planned community movement that I wrote about in August 1993 in a newspaper in Berkeley, CA, the East Bay Real Estate Weekly. Quotes from the same people and discussions of the same issues.


The article reminded me that I’ve been freelancing for a long time and I went back to look it up. Last week was my twentieth anniversary of my first appearance in print: it was 3 March 1993, in the Country Almanac, the weekly paper based in Menlo Park, south of San Francisco. My lede: “Dynasty. Cinderella team. Call it what you will, but Sacred Heart Prep’s girls basketball team is having a dream season. And it is not over yet.”

Ah, talk about dynasties, gets me thinking about Trinity squash. Anyway, my editor at the Almanac is still the editor and the paper is still coming out every Wednesday; EBREW is sadly gone, but not forgotton among a certain group of East Bay intellectuals.

I remember that excitement about doing a piece (on a typewriter and snail-mailing it into the office) and seeing it in print a few weeks later.

Twenty years: a lot to be thankful for, a lot of people to thank. And it is not over yet. 

Harvard Novelists

In the past seven years, four standout members of the Harvard women’s squash team have published novels. 

Jordanna Fraiberg ’94 has written one young adult novel and a second one is coming out this spring. Fraiberg twice won the national intercollegiate title and played professionally after college (though not enough to earn a world ranking). 

Galt Niederhoffer ’97 has written two novels and a third is coming out next year. Niederhoffer, the daughter of squash legend Victor, is also a filmmaker and turned one of her own novels into a film starring Katie Holmes. She was good enough to play in the heart of the ladder when Harvard was winning the national team championship. 

Ivy Pochoda ’98 has written one novel and a second one is coming out in July. She won one national intercollegiate title and went on to reach 38 in the world. 

And now Louisa Hall ’04 has her first novel out. Hall won three national junior titles, played #1 at Harvard for four years and reached 60 in the world. Last Sunday I reviewed her novel for the Boston Globe: http://www.boston.com/arts/books/2013/03/09/book-review-the-carriage-house-lo…

Casino Squash

Jeremy Stone, under his pen name Graham Tempest, has penned a second Oliver Steel thriller, Casino Excelsior. I just finished it, and it is another rollicking good run through some very hilarious and scary scenes.

In my Squash Magazine review, I criticized Stone for not including a sniff of squash in Casino Caribbean. This time we have a wealth of reference to the game. Steel, it turns out, earned a blue for squash at Oxford. Grant Pinnington has a cameo—old Boggy, the erstwhile Australian who ruled California squash, off-court at least, and made it to the finals of the 1999 S.L. Green one year


And most of all, some of the venerable kingpins of SoCal squash, specifically at the old South Bay Squash Club in Torrance, make an appearance: Alan Fox, Sandy Clark, Greg Stiles and Alec Anderson. Very nice nod. 

For more: http://www.grahamtempest.com/

Comedy Doubles

As we prepare for the World Doubles Championships in New York next month, my thoughts have turned back to correspondence I’ve had this winter with a senior official in the World Squash Federation. 

There are two kinds of doubles, hardball doubles and softball doubles—or as my British colleague Alan Thatcher calls it, proper doubles and comedy doubles. 

Very few people familiar with both games find them equal in any fundamental way: # of active courts or players; scale, seriousness and professionalism of pro tours; skill of play; passion of practitioners; and, of course history (one created in 1907, the other in 1986). We’ve had WSF-sanctioned World Doubles Championships since 1994—but the results don’t appear on their website, just the intermittent and farcical softball ones.

Somehow, the impression is that the WSF feels hardball doubles is just like hardball singles in the 1980s, a quirky North American game destined to give way to the overwhelming global game.

But what if the game grows in the opposite direction? What if we leverage the hardball doubles courts in Scotland, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia? What if we take concrete steps to expand our game outside North America

Here is Alan’s article from last summer, which he republished in January: