The Czar League

One of the many pleasures of the just-completed U.S. Open was sitting for an hour behind the front wall and talking with Frank Reidy.

For the past twenty-one years, Reidy has been the czar behind the Czar League. A warm-weather squash doubles league in the Philadelphia area, the Czar League consists of teams whose combined age reaches a hundred.

Nowadays, century squash doubles is a common occurrence, beginning with many, many club events and ending with the giant national championship—the U.S. Century Doubles—founded in 2007 at the University Club of New York. But back in 1995, the idea of a century league was unusual. So thank the Czar for making century squash as common as it is now.

The league runs from the first week of May to the last week of July. Playing dubs in the summer is now normal. Many clubs have air-conditioning, people are working harder and chained to their desks rather than getting away for weeks on end and more and more people are keen to get on the court every month of the year. (There were more sanctioned squash tournaments between April and September in 2015 than there were during the entire calendar year in 1995).

Like many squash people, Reidy and his co-director, Bill Rux, love poking fun at everyone. This is most evident in Czar League’s weekly newsletter, the Tin Banger. A typical couple of sentences from one of the 2015 editions:

A protest is planned to be held at GT [Germantown Cricket Club] in an attempt to bring fairness to the selection process [for who makes the Czar League playoffs]. No chicanery, skull drudgery, gerrymandering, or other types of buggerduckery will be tolerated, say they. But I have covered this league for many years and I don’t think they will be able to inhibit the czar from getting his own way. I for one will be keeping a close eye how the story unfolds. Both the Czar and the Tsar will be in attendance at the GT bar next Wednesday to handle any questions, inquiries, or doubts concerning your playoff positioning. Of course fairness (sic) will guide their decision making.