Manhattan Squash Show

One of the most engaging examples of pandemic pivoting in 2020 was the Manhattan Squash Show.

Starting in early April, with the new Manhattan Community Squash Center closed, John Musto, the head pro, collaborated with my former US Squash colleague Laurelle Holley, as well as Cortland Tate and David Heller, to produce a daily video show. They completed seventy-four episodes.

Each show, a bite-sized twenty minutes or so, was uploaded to YouTube

The Manhattan Squash Show was a robust mixture of a vlog, instruction manual, podcast, history lesson and just some fascinating, geeked-out analysis. It was a great midday snack (they were uploaded at noon each day). Usually about five hundred people viewed each episode.

Musto hosted about thirty guests—I appeared on a dozen episodes talking about members of the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame. Other guests of note were Mike Riley, Andrew Shelley, current Team USA stars like Haley Mendez and Chris Hanson and Anil & Jean Nayar. Musto gave lessons on technique, fitness and tactics, mostly from parking spot 454 in his parking garage (with Musto’s wife Laura filming). The core of the show was point analysis. Musto screened, in slow-motion and real-time, a single point from pro matches, dissecting what was happening and why.

At the end of the summer, with Manhattan Squash back at full-tilt and Musto giving lessons all day every day, the show came to a close. Musto promises it will be revived as a weekly show this winter.

One thing I enjoyed was a replication of what was happening with disturbing regularity in my home while I was on Zoom calls: our dog would bark or our cat would come in for an ill-timed visit. Musto’s dogs and cats did the same. In fact, once Musto texted me a shot of Tiger the cat, evidently exhausted after perusing a foundational text for the Manhattan Squash Show: