Mending Bodies

In the midway that is Vanderbilt Hall during the 2012 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, a lot of talk happens and it all seemed medical this weekend:

—Gilly Lane is retiring. The twenty-six year-old Philadelphian has a serious back issue (something about C-4 and C-5 not being nice to each other) and is stepping back from the PSA tour. Gilly got to 48 in the world (in May 2010) which is the third highest in U.S. history. The first, second and fourth guys on the all-time list also went to college, so perhaps one lesson of Gilly’s career is that U.S. intercollegiate squash is not the horrible, mung-encrusted abyss from which no budding squash player can return.

—Frank Stella, world’s greatest squash player who is also not bad at art, has been recently grounded by two back surgeries, one hip surgery and double knee replacements. But all is well now, although he’s not back out on court yet. 

—Will Carlin’s mother is a saint. Will retold me the story of his eye surgeries, the first coming more than twenty years ago when he was the number one player in the U.S. He had to lay in bed with an eye patch on and not move for ten days. Then a few years later he had to do it again, another ten days in the dark, with his mother helping him get food.

(When I told this to former world racquets champion Neil Smith, he responded with his own tale of thirty days laying on his side; both Carlin and Smith have had numerous eye surgeries which, having gone through one last month, I can attest are very much not fun.)

—I had a long chat with Jonathon Power up in the stands during the Lexington Partners Legends Showdown event on Thursday evening. I asked him if he trained much for these Legends events. He scoffed with a giant laugh. “Not at all. The last time I played squash was October. I’ve got only so many matches left in my body. I’m not going to waste them on training.”

That has got to be one of the classic squash quotations of all-time.





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