World Squash Day

It was the lucky thirteenth World Squash Day and another huge day personally.

It started, unofficially, on Friday evening the 17th when we ran the speed-gun challenge after the end of the semifinals at the 2014 U.S. Open. A huge crowd stayed on hand to watch (so much for the debate about when to stage it). Talking with Sarah-Jane Perry before-hand, we were a bit nervous—we had no idea how hard the top women actually hit the ball—and pleased that she topped out at 144mph. John White, a former unofficial record-holder, hit 154mph and then Cam Pilley, stepping a bit closer to the front wall, reached 163.

We finished up work at half past twelve in the morning and so the first order of business on what was now the 18th and officially World Squash Day was to go have some food and drink with other squash friends at a pub.

After four hours of sleep, we were back at it just after dawn. I started the player introduction ceremony at the Penn State v. Lehigh match, attended the US Squash Annual Assembly, spoke at the Hall of Fame luncheon—four new inductees—and the Champions Dinner—honoring Carter Fergusson for attending the U.S. nationals sixty-two straight years, orchestrated a reenactment of the 1958 Sports Illustrated squash cover, wrote for the web and Tweeted for social media, rushed to Kinkos, talked with a hundred old friends, gossiped with World Squash Federation delegates and watched along with a thousand other people as Nicol David became the first three-time Open winner in its sixty-year history and Mohamed Elshorbagy defied expectations to capture his first Grand Slam.

The night ended, appropriately, at midnight when I left the players’ party after much hugs and hilarity. The only thing I didn’t do on World Squash Day was actually play squash. Next year.

2014 Hall of Fame

US Squash has just announced the four people who will be inducted next week at the U.S. Open into the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame.

A few incredible facts about each of the inductees:

Barbara Clement—As a girl in the 1920s, she learned to play tennis in Cape May, NJ with William Moore. One of the first African American tennis professionals, Moore was the son of former slaves. Barbara, like Moore, was inducted into the Middle States Tennis Hall of Fame.

Cool historical fact: Barbara’s father, Tom Strobhar, was a lacrosse goalie at Johns Hopkins and led them to the national title in 1903; he was inducted into the Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1969:


Goldie Edwards—She was adopted at three weeks old by a fifty-one year-old woman in New Zealand who already had a six year-old daughter. Goldie’s sister eventually married a man who was captured by the Germans during the Second World War and spent four years in a POW camp on Crete. Goldie grew up in Auckland and went to the universities of Otago [in Dunedin] and Canterbury [in Christchurch].

Her emigration story is remarkable. In 1960 she was working for the New Zealand psychological service in Wellington, when she got job at the University of Saskatchewan. Her friend’s father was the harbor master in Wellington and connected her with a Dutch freighter in port who agreed to ferry Goldie to North America. It took a month to go from New Zealand to Vancouver, via Hawaii.



Jay Nelson—He played under Jack Barnaby at Harvard, he’s overcome prostate cancer, but the one amazing fact about Jay is that he is the grandson of the famous Manchester City striker Billie Gillespie.  Born in Scotland, Gillespie scored 132 goals in 218 games (one of the top strike rates in history) and led Man City to the FA Cup title in 1904.


Don Strachan—Donny served in the U.S. Navy during the Second World War in the Aleutians, where he suffered frostbite under his chin. He would not let his two daughters play squash because his wife, Elisa Fitler Strachan, had gotten hit in the mouth with a racquet playing squash and had lost some teeth. Donny was a famous bon vivant and during college was friends with Benny Goodman and other jazz hipsters in New York. In in May 1931 he hosted Goodman at Cottage Club at Princeton—it was the first time Goodman led his own band.,++look+at+the+bands+you+could+dance+to.