Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A squash player's Christmas list

The snow falling outside has reminded me that it's time to start shopping and that reminded me that not everyone knows what a squash player might need or want to find under their tree on Christmas morning. I personally haven't opened any well meant racquetball paraphernalia but I've heard many the sad tale.

1. A WISPA calendar!
This one is obviously for the boys but could be good, clean entertainment for the whole family! The days of the thong are long gone (can't believe I even mentioned it:).

Order yours at WISPA for only £12.25! Miss August is my personal fave:)

2. Lessons!
Holy moly do we need these! Find out where your love plays and get them a couple of lessons with their club pro - they'll love you for it and will have to thank you when they finally win something.

3. That groovy ball warmer thingy.
Remember this? We had a bunch of players asking where to get this beauty. Seems more of us would rather have a warm one in the bag than a cold one on court (or something like that:)

Get them for 10 Euros at Jet Bounce
and let us know how they work!

4. That new Jonathon Power DVD

He's my fave. Simple as that.
It's only $79.00 - go on o
rder it at JP

This instructional DVD has it all: 100 drills (!), a downloadable list to keep in your bag and commentary and demonstration by JP himself that explains the proper execution and goals of each drill.

I've got the one before this, "Exposed", and loved it.

5. A PSA tournament CD
There's nothing like watching your favourite players playing. Rewinding to figure out how they hit that shot? Of course you are. And who films these things? Jean Del
ierre that's who.
Check out the growing list of matches at

6. A "S.C.R.U. Squash" t-shirt

Truly, the finest squash t-shirts in the galaxy. How many times do we have to tell you?
From the famous "SCRU Squash, Let's Drink" (worn here by Nicol David) to the new Melanie Jans Signature Line, you can't lose.

100% Canadian. They don't brag, they mostly boast.
Super Charged Racquets and Upparel. Check em out.

And what about a couple that money can't buy?

A drop shot -

Santa, please put a drop shot in my stocking this year. Puh-leeze.

A companion event at this year's Canadian Nationals -
So that I can go and play in the same tournament as Jonathon and Mel and the best from around Canada!

Squash in the Olympics -
Duh, because we deserve it.

Free referee clinics!
For my friends who don't really know the rules so much.

More songs about squash!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Open Letter to Squash Canada

Dear Squash Canada,

How are you?

It’s Robert and I am writing to you as fan of our game and as a past participant of the yearly celebration known as “The Canadian Squash Championships”.

I’m desperately waiting for information for the upcoming nationals. Where is it going to be held this year? I’ve heard rumours about Montreal (fantastique!) but the cynics are grumbling that you’ll probably hold it in Toronto again (yawn). I overheard someone say it could be Ottawa. That could be fun:) I check your website,, almost every day for news but so far nothing and I’m becoming a bit impatient.

(I’ll grant that you’ve got last year’s event info up but, oh jeez, you still haven’t posted any photos! All the page says is “Information Coming Soon!” - That tournament was in April! What the hizzy? Did someone lose the film?)

I’m worried about you Squash Canada. And I’m worried about our beloved game. We’re talking about the NATIONALS here! Where are the press releases? Where’s the fanfare? The posters? At the very least, where are the posters that are supposed to convince us to come and play? Last year I didn’t see a poster at my club. Check that: I didn’t see a poster in Vancouver. (If you sent out an email reminder to your members I didn’t get it.)

Squash Canada, I did a little research on the number of participants taking part in the nationals and what I found was a little disconcerting. In 2005 the Canadian Squash Championships, in Vancouver, hosted 434 players (which is still a ridiculously small percentage of Canadians playing) but last year the number had dropped to under 300. Ouch. I’d like to think that it’s because the host club (White Oaks) opted out of having a companion event (where A’s through D’s could play instead of being forced to play in age categories) but I’m not sure. The numbers have been shrinking for a while and I bet you're worried that your sponsors may catch wind of this.

So, let’s bring the numbers back up! Let’s invite ALL Canadian squash players to their nationals! Mandate that the next host club include a companion event so that every level of player can participate. Here’s an added bonus: I can guarantee that a lot of the players playing in the companion event will buy tickets to see the Open matches. We love the game so much that we’ll fill the stands in front of the glass court. Your sponsors will love to see that!

Anyway, give it some thought Squash Canada and let me know as soon as you can where the nationals are going to be. Christmas is coming and I want to know how many Air Miles to ask Santa for.

All the best,

Monday, October 27, 2008

Nuff Said

Bill Bowerman
Co-Founder of Nike

Photographed in the Nike store on 5th Ave, NYC.

Friday, October 24, 2008

New Manta Racquets - A sneak peek!

My graphic design firm, Pacey + Pacey Design, was recently hired to overhaul the artwork for Manta's line of squash racquets. We reworked the colour schemes, redesigned all the logos and even named one of the racquets - The X Factor. The final prototypes have arrived and if you're a member of Squash Republic's Facebook group you've seen these photos but if you're not I'm pleased to present this sneak preview of Manta's highly anticipated 2009 Collection.

The entire line will be available for sale online January 1, 2009 at Super Charged Racquets & Upparel (aka S.C.R.U. Squash). Nice.

Anonymous comments?

Just a quick note to say thanks to those who have taken the time to read my blog. Big props to those of you who have taken the time to comment. It's nice to know that I'm doing more than just practicing my typing. If you have a question or want more info from me don't post anonymously cuz I won't know how to get back to you: You're anonymous:)
You can always email me at info[at]squashrepublic[dot]com. Word.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Nice threads dood!

I thought I would put a photo online that's "just for the ladies":) (Click the photo to see it larger - you have to!)

Raise your hands with me if you want to bring this "style" back to our lovely game. Word!

From the copy block: "On or off court, Hawk squash racquets will catch your eye." Indeed. I, for one, will be playing my afternoon match shirtless and in high socks. (Sorry about that Jody:)

Anyone out there have a Hawk racquet? Couldn't find them.

(Who thinks the guy on the left resembles a certain Vancouver, men's A, squash playing writer with the initials S.K? LOL)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

From the Archives

A fan of our blog sent us an issue of Squash Magazine from 1982 that is absolutely priceless. (Thanks Neill!) It's a genuine slice of our sport and one that, once you stop giggling, makes you realize how much our sport has grown up. Or has it? Check out this cover:

Doesn't she look great? I bet she feels fantastic too. I do wonder if she should be playing squash in leg warmers though.

Don't worry. The editors of this magazine got smacked (and rightly so:) for this cover which was obviously an attempt to get more subscriptions. I quote: "Are you having an identity crisis as whether to make your magazine a sports journal or another Playboy?"

If you think this cover is great wait until we show you the fabulous court fashions that "Hawk" squash racquets were promoting in 1982!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Squash Hotties? Indeed.

I just happened across this photo of Vanessa Atkinson on the website for the Los Angeles Athletic Club and had to post it! I love the idea that she might be walking down the hall, past the "museum quality art collection", and just start playing squash against the wood panelling.

That she looks absolutely stunning and quite capable of kicking your arse (on or off court) is a bonus.

Makes me thankful that our game has come so far since the days of the "thong incident", no? (Speaking of which . . . Good luck to Miss Botwright on her retirement:)

Here's another image that I love:

This composite photo was taken by AKA Photography in Toronto for the 2006 Women's World Team Squash Championships in Edmonton. From left to right: Alana Miller, Melanie Jans, Carolyn Russell and Runa Reta.

Is it any wonder that I love this game?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

More squash toys (& tees) you can't live without!

I've heard that players out there are having some difficulty finding the Karakal "Hot Ball" we mentioned previously in our blog. Karakal France says it doesn't make it anymore and I'm not selling mine, sorry. Well chin up you lazy thing, there's a new toy in town that promises all the benefits that Hot Ball offered.

"Jet Bounce" also promises that you no longer need to hit like a brute to warm up the ball!

Check this puppy out (and peace to Squash 360 for the tip):

Jet Bounce's "Ball Heater" promises (and I quote):
1 - more effective game time!
2 - less danger of violation!
3 - optimal ball storage!
4 - use at any time!
5 - reusable!

What more do you need? Want it to fix your backhand too? That'll cost you more than the ten Euros they're asking for this court panacea. Buy yours now. Tell them we sent you:)

Are your balls nice and toasty yet?* Are they attracting flies? Not to worry! We've got the squash freak's solution for that one too: A bug zapper shaped like a squash racquet! For real! Man, I can't make this stuff up! (I love that a national squash champion told us about this gem. Thanks Mel!)

This from the website: "The Shock Bug Zappa is shaped like an ordinary squash racket. But with two slight modifications: it has a slightly larger head and a fine mesh surface. The mesh surface gives an electric shock when it comes in contact with a bug. The head gives you a larger contact area to ensure accuracy. Bug hits racket face. Bug perishes." Sweet!

Get your Shock Bug Zappa here. Practice your backhand with this puppy!

* Did someone say "Warm Up Your Balls"?

Jeez, I wish there was a shirt that said that.
What? There is? Oh, thank the gods! And it's only $25 Canadian?

Tell me where I can buy it already!

Super Charged Racquets & Upparel.

Yep, S.C.R.U. Squash. The best squash centric
t-shirts in the galaxy y'all. They don't brag
they mostly boast. For realz.

Next up: Squash Fashions through the years. (No, not the thong photos again. Jeez. That's so tired.)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sole Redemption

My mother taught me a lot of things that have come in handy in my life but I honestly never thought she could help my squash game. I remember when I first started playing and she would come to cheer me on. She would clap and scream and, at Denman, she would bang on the glass with the best of them. Eventually she learned the right times to cheer:) I digress. . .

My mother taught me how to sew. This skill helped me to squeeze another couple of weeks out of a pair of shoes that really should've lasted longer than they did. Shouldn't squash shoes have reinforced seams and rubber toes for those of us who like to drag our toes? (I count myself and Nicole David in this elite group:)

Standard wisdom says that you should change your sports shoes every six months if you're an active person. Six months! I'd be happy if my shoes lasted that long. (Jeff at the Pro Shop loves the planned obsolescence of squash shoes, don't ya Jeff?)

Well, this year I'm starting the season with a new pair of the red Stabil's and I plan on nursing them through the whole year even if I have to sew the soles back on. See you in six months Jeff.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Music to squash by!

You need music. You need it to help you get through the off-season workouts and to get you ready for the big game. Who better to tell you what to listen to than our crack team of Squash Pros by Day, DJ's by Night?

DJ Grandmaster Melly Mel
(aka Melanie Jans) has been rocking the house music for a long time and puts the grooves in the nick everytime. Bring it! (Seriously, the roof is on fire.)

Top 10 set:
01_The Salmon Dance - Chemical Brothers
02_Let’s Call it off - Peter, Bjorn and John
03_Faster Kill Pussycat - Paul Oakenfold
04_Hung Up - Madonna
05_Do you Feel Me - Tiesto featuring Julie Thompson
06_ Takil - Soydan
07_Feel Good - Gorillaz
08_Flashdance: - Deep Dish
09_Swanky - Felix da House Cat
10_Dreaming of Boys - Party Ben (K. Bush and MIA)

DJ Deft Touch's
(aka Runa Reta) favourite style of music is anything that makes you dance like you're in your bedroom and no one is watching. The pinnacle of her DJ career will be an afternoon guest DJ spot at the Jericho Sun & Surf this August!

Top 10 set list:
01_Bamboo Banga - M.I.A.
02_Pump Up The Jam - Technotronic
03_Lose Control - Missy Elliott
04_It's Not Right - Whitney Houston
05_Ay Mami - Zeph & Azeem
06_Jump - Madonna
07_Push It - Salt N Pepa
08_Sweet Dreams - Eurythmics
09_Dirty Harry - Gorillaz
10_Brass Monkey - Beastie Boys

DJ Big C Queen of the T (aka Carolyn Russell) looks to rock the house at Garfinkles in Whistler!

Top 10 set:
01_Gimme More - Britney Spears
02_Give it to me - Madonna
03_Flow Rida - Elevator
04_Apologize - One Republic
05_Can't Stop - Maroon 5
06_Paralyzer - Finger Eleven
07_Board Meeting - Timbaland
08_Damn Girl - Justin Timberlake
08_Don't Stop the Music - Rihanna
10_Better Now - Collective Soul

Monday, July 14, 2008

SCRU Squash Mobile for sale!

This is breaking my heart! I am having to give up my beloved 1987 Cabriolet as we can't fit two cars into our little garage. I'm posting it here in the hopes that another Vancouver squashie is looking for the perfect summer car.

Only asking $2,000.

Who will take care of "Cabbie"? If you're interested email me: boaster[at]scrusquash[dot]com.
Craig's list link

Monday, July 7, 2008

Squash Republic Blidget

In our continued effort to inform and enlighten the global squash player we have created a Widget for your desktop that will let you know when we post new content. No more "subscribing" or checking back every now and then! It's over there on the right: Download it now! (And then go practice your figure eights.)

Is it on your computer yet? Good. Then you'll know right away when we post the top ten musical tracks by our guest squash pros turned DJs. Sweet.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

More on goggles!

I should have just put this photo of myself up last week as a warning to wear your goggles. Much more effective imagery and less grief:) Kinda dramatic eh? With the lighting and all?

I remember exactly when this happened. I was having a post-match pint at the Denman Fitness in August of 2004 (!) when I happened to see a couple of new players chasing a cold ball around the court. I thought I would go down and show them some drills so that they could make the most of their 45 minutes and I could pass on what had been taught to me. Suffice to say I neglected to take my goggles onto the court: "I'm only going to show them some drills." The drill was practicing drives and length so I was very surprised when one of the guys tried to impress me with his cross court and ended up with his racquet meeting my face. "I'll get the ice!", he screamed as he ran off court.

I probably should have gotten stitches that night but the Canucks were on TV and I hadn't finished my pint. I really didn't want to sit in Emerg for three hours. If I had gone to see a professional I would definitely not have had to pull out a sliver of bumper guard two weeks later. Yep. That grossed the wife out for sure:)

This is the logo I designed as a result of my brush with disaster and, yes, I forgive you C:)

Do I need to mention that it's trademarked? Didn't think so.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Who needs goggles anyway?

If you haven't been hit in the face with a ball YET then you probably think you're going to be fine. Wrong. It's only a matter of time and let me tell you, you'll change your mind about the minor irritation of wearing goggles when you're recovering from the major irritation of swelling and stitches.

There are so many styles of goggles these days that you really have no excuse for not wearing them. I know a guy who wears a Ken Dryden mask! Dood is safe in that thing:) And you've probable seen those groovy wraparound shields that put RoboCop to shame. Well, in the spirit of summer cross-training, I've looked into what other sports are using to protect their peeps and this is the winner!

Ain't nothing getting through this cage. Not the ball or the racquet and not your mama neither. They come in pretty colours too!

You should know that the fellow in the photo above (Hi Owen!) wasn't wearing his goggles! He did want to mention that his opponent was drunk. Oh.

Anyway, first one to leave a comment telling me the sport these cage goggles came from wins a prize. Yay! (*Ed note: Greg, you've won. Now send us an email so we can get you your prize:)

Next up: The physics of squash. Sweet.

We'll post soon.

It's the summer.

We're outside. Cut us some slack. Jeez.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Hey ref! What's the call?

By Guest Blogger Runa Reta!

Have you ever been in a group conversation and had no idea what they were talking about? Do you mitigate the chances of looking like a complete idiot by creating some “go-to” phrases that will get you out of a tough jam, like “oh, that is SO pedantic!” or (when speaking of philosophy or other such obscure fields) “well, that is an existential question that I dare not enter into”….If you are reading this right now as a squash player and shaking your head as if you’ve never done such a thing….you’re probably lying to yourself.

Here is the proof: if you have ever refereed a squash match, or assumed yourself to be a connoisseur of the sport, you have likely witnessed a player being hit by their opponent’s racquet while trying to strike the ball. When confusion arises as to what the call should be (ie. stroke, let, no let), it seems that the classic “go-to” phrase, the one that demonstrates a sophisticated knowledge of the game, is “was the player hit on the back-swing?” Everyone: the ref, the players, the spectators all turn to one another with this question. But does anyone REALLY know what this assessment means for the call? Or is this like that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer keeps insisting that the postal company will “write off” the mailing damages, without actually knowing what a write-off is?!

What’s the call if you are hit on the back-swing, versus being hit on the follow-through? Is there a difference?

According to the WSF rules, there isn’t. In fact, from what I can tell, there is really only one clause that addresses the problem of hitting an opponent with the racquet, which states that a stroke will be awarded if a player’s “reasonable swing” was impeded from making a “good return” (12.8.2) ….which certainly clears everything up! [Yes, insert sarcasm here] I think, in layman terms, this means that if you hit your opponent at any point of your “not showing off/imitation Jonathan Power” swing, while going for any shot, other than a dodgy reverse boast off the frame, (or some other return that only you find to be ingenious), a stroke will be awarded.

Putting aside the fact that the WSF squash rules are more porous than a US-Mexico border crossing, I think the more disconcerting issue is that we have been using the wrong terminology all along! Nowhere in the rules is there talk about “back-swings”, which could be the source of this continued confusion. It’s actually all about the “reasonable swing”! So the next time the referee is searching for the right call, we should all be turning confidently to one another with the new and improved “go-to” phrase: “reasonable swing?!?” We still won’t know what that means for the call, but at least we’ll be able to nod our heads and wink at each other, secure in the knowledge that we are all completely clueless and lost in this wonderful sport together.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Squash BC Logo Poll: Results

The keypunch voting machine has been referenced, the ballot box has been emptied and the Chads are all clean: The official results of the Squash BC Logo Poll are in.

We go now to our own Squash Situation Room for the breakdown.
Forty-three (43) total votes were cast and you should know that we didn't vote. Not even twice. (Ed Note: We at the Squash Republic don't like the logo. Surprised?)

Of those 43 votes only seven "Loved" the existing logo. Hmmm. How many people are on Squash BC's executive? Six you say? (I keed. I keed with you.) On the other side of the spectrum, ten people "Hated" the logo. Ouch. That's almost a quarter of the votes!

Three voters didn't even know that Squash BC had a logo. (Or they're being sarcastic which we appreciate:)

The largest group of votes fell into the "Yawn, I guess it's okay" group: 53% of the voters or 23 votes. If I was running for office and the majority of polled voters said that I was "okay" I wouldn't call my Mom to report the results.

So what now? The Squash BC AGM is just around the corner - this Saturday as a matter of fact - and I wonder if our little poll will be mentioned. We know that the current and past presidents of Squash BC both know about it but will they listen to the people? I hope that they decide to canvass their membership* and look at updating their brand. If they do, we can help:)

Next week we hope to have some feedback from those in the know. We'll get back to you and maybe share with you the logo we submitted for their approval over two years ago. Peace.

(Ed. Note: Our poll was mentioned, and a link supplied to our blog for easy voting, in Squash BC's email newsletter to members.)

Next week: Guest blogger Runa Reta on "Racquet Interference."

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Squash Ball Warmer!

Squash toys you never knew you needed! Part 1: The Squash Ball Warmer

You're in tough: It's 8-6 and you're serving for the match against someone you've never beaten before. You know you shouldn't be thinking about it but you can almost taste the ranking points that are waiting for you in change room. You see yourself drying your mom's tears of joy and being toasted by admiring fans, don't you?

"Focus!" you whisper to yourself as you serve a beautiful lob serve - the kind you have been working on with your coach - and you watch as they return it straight into the tin. The match is yours!

But wait, they're pretty sure that the ball is broken and they tell the ref. The ref checks and, by gosh, it is broken! "Here's a new ball," the refs says as he throws down a frozen lump of rubber that you two are now expecting to warm up to "game heat". You try to stay focussed as you drive the ball to warm it up but you can feel it slipping away: The match was yours! You should be off the court bitching about having to ref so soon after a monster match while everyone congratulates you for winning. Finally the new ball is warm and you serve for the match again. You serve it out, don't you? Of course you do. And your opponent then goes on a tear, scores four straight and wins 10-8. ALL BECAUSE OF A BROKEN BALL!

Well, I'm here to tell you that those days are over amigo! Karakal has produced a dandy little appliance that solves all those nasty issues: A squash ball warmer. Nice.

What are you waiting for? The box promises it all!
• Your technique will improve!
• Diminish the risk of muscular injury!
• Keep your concentration on the match!

I quote from the back of the groovy package:
"With Hot Ball, (© 1996-1999 AETOS), your ball will bounce appropriately upon first hit. All your concentration is now at your disposal to execute your shots and no longer for warming up your ball!" - "With Hot Ball there is no need to hit like a brute to warm up the ball. You will thus reduce the heroic achievements needed to fight the cold and welcome the odour caused by excessive heat!"

(Ed. Note:
I translated this from the French on the package and it's been a while since I spoke French:) I'm pretty sure it said that or something close:)

Next week: Logo Poll Results

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Squash BC logo poll extended

We have been asked to extend the time limit on our most recent poll. The new deadline is May 15, 2008.

Please feel free to give your opinion on the Squash BC logo (pictured below) by voting in our poll on the right. Your responses will assist the association in their decision on whether or not to replace, or redo, their logo. Thanks for your input! We will publish the responses on Monday, May 19th.

Monday, April 28, 2008

How to be a Squash Ambassador

Last week the squash community of Vancouver was given the opportunity to watch an exhibition match between the world’s number one women’s player, Nicol David, and five-time world champion Sarah Fitz-Gerald. The match was competitive and highly entertaining, with Nicol winning 3-1*, but there was something else going on that night at Hollyburn and it had more to do with the promotion of the game of squash than it did with entertaining the masses. As I watched Sarah and Nicol do their post-game thankyou’s and their Q&A’s, it occurred to me that I was witnessing more than just two players at the pinnacle of their game, I was watching squash ambassadors in action. (* Ed note: Sarah won their next match, the following week in Victoria, 3-2.)

The dictionary defines the word “ambassador” as “a diplomatic official accredited to a foreign sovereign or government . . . to serve as the official representative or his or her own country”. What we had that night, in Nicol and Sarah, were two highly decorated officials representing the game of squash. As all true ambassadors they have a mission and theirs is to promote the game we love.

What the hizzy is a Squash Ambassador?
A Squash Ambassador is simply someone with a passion for the game who is consciously promoting the game in their own way. No, you don't get to wear a red fanny pack or cute red hat if you decide to become a squash ambassador:)

Why do we need them?
Squash is at the cusp of something big: It’s played by around 15 million enthusiasts on all five continents and has been seriously considered for inclusion in the Olympics. In fact, squash has just recently been shortlisted (again) for the 2016 Olympics. The problem is that the sport still needs to increase it’s profile on a global level (thanks Mr. Delierre for finding a way to film it properly) and on a local level too.

How can I become a Squash Ambassador?
I know what you’re thinking: “It’s easy to be an ambassador of the game when you’re a elite player travelling the world but I’m only a local club player.”

What can you do?

Here’s a simple checklist that I’ve come up with that could help you on the road to becoming a Squash Ambassador. It’s by no means exhaustive but it’s a start. Got more? Send us your comments.

1. Learn the rules. This may seem obvious but it’s the first the step to a strong foundation. Check with your local squash associations and take a refereeing clinic or actually read the complete rules not just the abbreviated ones.

2. Teach the rules. Now that you know the rules it’s important to share the information that you have collected. As you move up the ranks it’s easy to forget that you once played the whole game without knowing when to call a let. Educate your amigos.

3. Become a coach. I’m not suggesting that you need to become a full time coach but why not offer some of your insight to players that are ranked below you? Take an introductory coaching clinic and teach someone new to the game how to play! You're a coach if you help a friend between games - helping someone with their game plan makes you concentrate on the game more.

4. Take lessons. A good player never stops learning or trying to improve their game and a great secondary benefit of this is that you will be supporting your local pro. It might be a good ide to fit in some drill time, with a partner, between matches too.

5. Be a good sport. Oh, this one sounds preachy but it can’t be over emphasized. Whenever you step on court to play chances are that someone (other than your mom) is watching and taking note. They might be considering taking up the game and your behaviour could colour the way they view the game. If you respect your opponent, and your referee, the game can’t lose. (Told you it was preachy:)

6. Support the game. Opportunities like the Nicol/Fitz-Gerald exhibition don’t come around much and if you don’t support them they will become less and less frequent. Go and watch! (To be honest, I was a bit disappointed at the turnout. Vancouver, you can do better.) Enter tournaments and join your city league while you’re at it.

7. Stay informed. It’s up to you to stay on top of what’s going on in your community but the resources are there if you know where to look. In British Columbia: > Our provincial association’s official website. Lots of info on upcoming clinics and a complete tournament schedule. > Vancouver’s original website for the squash fanatic and home of the best squashcentric t-shirts in the galaxy and a resource for info on local events. Check out their huge photo gallery too!

Next week: “Squash toys you never knew you needed.”

Monday, April 21, 2008

What's up with those Squash Association Logos?

If you're a squash fan in Canada who regularly surfs the web for info on Canadian squash then you've seen this mismash of logos before. The eleven logos here represent the various provincial, and territorial, associations that exist in Canada to serve the squash players of their regions. (Ed. Note: : The "mismash" below was taken from Squash Canada's "Links" page today so blame them if the logos are outdated:)

Why is this important? I think it's important because these logos are a reflection of the state of our game. We all say that we want to be recognized as a vital and integral game - Olympic worthy even - but we also have to say it off the court too and our marketing speaks volumes!

So what do we make of this group? How do we decide which ones work and which ones don't? There is a lot of discussion in the design industry on just what makes an effective logo but in the fifteen years I have been in the business I've come up with my own checklist.

1. Concept: The logo should visually represent what the company, or association, does or is involved in. (Half points for racquets, balls and "whoosh" lines but only if you were the first, second, or even third, association to do it.)

2. Distinctiveness: The logo should be unique and recognizable. Think "Nike". (Hmmm, let's rethink the racquets, balls and "whoosh" lines.)

3. Execution: Even a great concept needs to be put together properly. It shouldn't look like you did it yourself. (I'm assuming you're not a designer but a squash pro:)

4. Memorability: When you see a successful logo you will remember it. Easy as that.

So with this simple checklist in mind have another look at YOUR association's logo.

(Ed. Note: Squash Yukon has recently updated their logo and no longer uses the racquet with the rooster or whatever that is. Squash Newfoundland put a dog - guess which one - on a racquet but their site is down. Nunavut, which officially separated from NWT in 1999 is still not online so we have no idea what their logo will look like. )

I'm not sure I want to critique all the logos above, or if it's even necessary, but I think it might be helpful to point out a few things. Firstly, have you noticed how dated some of the fonts used are? I'm thinking specifically of Manitoba, Newfoundland and Saskatchewan. And speaking of dating yourself, PEI, Quebec and Manitoba apparently still use the single yellow dot. What can you say about Squash Ontario's logo: "Come for the squash and stay for the fly fishing."

And what can you say about Squash BC's logo that they haven't heard before (mostly from me)? The dated font, the two heavy black lines (representing our glorious mountains?) and the red maple leaf as an after thought. If change is so scary then I suggest they start using their old logo again - the one on the left - the one with the "whoosh" lines and the single yellow dot:)

(Ed. Note: What do you think? Have your say in our weekly poll up there on the right.)

So, with all that said here is my pick for Best In Show: NWT! Yep. Even though the execution is poor (and that just might be because of the passing back and forth of JPEGs from website to website) I love the concept: I know that this association is talking about "Squash in the Arctic" and, if you visit their website, you'll see the concept taken further with a whimsical (did I just use that word?) illustration of two polar bears playing squash in an igloo. Brilliant!

And my least favourite of this group? Hands down: New Brunswick. Wow. I would love to redesign this one: Let me know if I can help.

(Oh, and it's not just Canadian squash logos that I have issues with either. Have a look at the US Squash Association logo and tell me that it isn't in desperate need of an overhaul.)

Yep. A round headed racquet you say?

Next week: "How to be a Squash Ambassador."

Monday, April 14, 2008

The trouble with doubles

I first tried doubles squash about five years ago and only because my entry fee to the tournament was waived. "Free squash tournament? Count me in!" Then they showed me the court we'd be playing on. It was freakishly large. I remember thinking that my partner was going to have to cover a lot of court but luckily I was partnered up with Stalony (inside joke:). Anyway, I got hit on the first rally of our first match by a fellow who I now know is notorious for this, (his name shall go unmentioned), and I was a convert. (Patrick Ow. Oops).

A couple of tournaments later my partner Debi and I managed to win a match and we were actually asked to referee. That was the first time I was introduced the doubles scoresheet. Wow! Holy confusing Batman! If you've marked on that sheet, first used in, oh, 1972(?), you know what I'm talking about. The lines were so small and the games were hard to distinguish between. Was I marking the second game for team two while scoring the first for team one? Luckily, (and this is what I love the best about doubles), there were lots of old pros hanging around to help us muddle our way through.

Fast forward to the 2008 BC Doubles and, lo and behold, the score sheet is still the same old confusing sheet of hieroglyphs. I decided to stop moaning and to do something about it.

I have redesigned the doubles score sheet so that even those new to the game can follow it and keep track of the score. This sheet is based on the existing horizontal format, not the new vertical format (can you say "singles score sheet"?) that has just been released by the WSF and Squash Canada, and, for that reason, I'm not going to include a scoring sample or "how to".

This sheet is version 3 and I expect that I might tweak it some more as comments come in from our local squash gurus. Please feel free to download it HERE and make use of it. Use it in your tournaments and replace our logo even - all I ask is that you please keep the copyright text on all copies you produce. Cool?

Thanks to Scott S, Marvin M, Rick K, Gerry T and Rip for their critiques.

Don't forget to let us know what you think of the new design.

Next week: "What's up with all those provincial squash association logos?"

Monday, April 7, 2008

Everyone wins when losers ref.

The question of who should referree a squash match - the loser or the winner of the previous match - is again becoming a hot topic of discussion. We think it’s time the losers stepped up to the plate.

It seems that US Squash agrees. Their "RailStation" website states that “Tournament match LOSERS are required to referee the next match as assigned by the Tournament Director.” In addition to that they also plan on penalizing the loser that refuses or fails to ref! There must be a good reason for this organizing body to make this a rule.

I don’t know what Squash Canada’s stance is (they don’t answer my emails☺) but here in BC, the winner is expected to ref the following match. No recuperation or stretching time and no chance for a shower either! Five minutes after your victory you’re sitting there working and getting cold.

Interestingly enough, there is no mention of winners being expected to ref as a “policy” or “rule” on Squash BC’s website so then why is it a common practice in tournaments?

In BC, as far as I know, only the Dundee Open at Denman asks the losers of a match to referree the following game and the reasoning is simple: The winner is felt to have earned the right to relax, stretch and prepare for their next game by virtue of winning. As an organizer of that event I can assure you that there were NO issues or complaints regarding this policy. (It didn’t hurt that we strongly suggested that the winner buy their opponent a beer.)

I’m heading to the PACRIM tournament in Victoria this weekend, where they don’t let you stop playing until you’ve lost four or five games, and I’ll lose my fair share. In a tournament like this where you may play five games in three days it sure would be nice to sit and relax if you managed to win.

The onus for the change is everyone. Tournament organizers, give the winners a break! And players, quit your moaning and do your game proud: Learn to love reffing

Losers are you with me? Let’s stand up and volunteer to ref! Next time it could be us looking forward to some time off.

Next week: "The Trouble with Doubles"

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Nationals are coming. Yah so?

I used to get excited about the Nationals. I don't really anymore and this is why.

When I first got back into squash, in 2004, the Nationals came to Vancouver and I truly felt an excitement within the local community. I was lucky enough to be able to be involved (my father and I designed the event logo and publication) and , as it turns out, I was even more lucky to be able to play.

That year the organizing committee opted to host a companion event which meant that players from all over the country, at all levels, were invited to come together and celebrate the game of Canadian squash. I was a low B player and got creamed but I saw some of the most amazing players play and I really got inspired. I saw (and played on!) the glass court! I cheered on my friends and lent Jonathon Power a bandana. I met players from all over the country which was probably the best part of the event.

In 2005 we went to Toronto for the first time and while the games were spread out across the city centre there was still a sense of community. Again there was a companion event so I played safe in the knowledge that I was going to be matched against a comparable player. I was a high B player that year and even with a Canadian champion coaching me I got creamed again. But it was okay because I was hanging out with my squash buddies and we were ALL playing.

In 2006 the Nationals were held in Toronto again. Hmmm. I remember thinking that I didn't really want to go to TO again but I went and, to be honest, I went because there was a companion event and I wanted to see if I had improved at a national level.

To make a long story short: In 2007 The Glencoe Club decided not to include a companion event and I truly believe that they made a mistake. Their argument (if I remember correctly) was that they wanted to "showcase the best squash that Canada has to offer". What they forgot was WHO they were showcasing it to. It's the new players that need to see it, that will be inspired by it. These new players may one day be playing "the best squash that Canada has to offer" but even if they don't they will remember seeing it and it will

This year the committee at White Oaks, Niagara, have made a concession and included "A's" in the draw, along with open and age categories. I hope it's a sign of things to come and that next year's host will consider reinstating the companion event. It will help squash.

Next week: Everyone wins when losers ref.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Squash Republic's Website Goes Live

We're very pleased to announce that the Beta version of our online retail store for squash players and enthusiasts is now live. We'll be tweaking for the next little while so check back every now and then. Check it:

Let us know what you think it and don't forget to join our Facebook group (search: "Squash Republic") to be informed of new designs and to get in on our members-only discounts.


Friday, February 29, 2008

Welcome to the Squash Republic Blog

Hello and welcome to the first posting on the spanky new Squash Republic blog.
Starting this week I will be posting a running commentary on all things squash.

As I live and play in Vancouver you'll excuse me if my comments tend to the provincial but there are so many other amazing sites and blogs that cover every aspect of professional men's and women's squash that I'll generally leave that to them. (We'll be posting links to them down the road.)

What can you expect from this blog? Hmm. . . Not too sure myself. I hope that my opinions will generate discussion and contribute to the growth of our game on a local and national level. If that sounds a little grandiose that's ok:) Maybe this blog will just serve as a sounding board and, if so, your comments will be integral.

I will be posting weekly, or bi-weekly, polls regarding our game and I will post the results on the Squash Republic site. Our first one is one that I haven't seen a good answer for: "Is squash truly an Olympic sport?" There's a lot going on in that question. See if you can vote with your head or if your heart gets in the way.

The revolution has begun anyway so why not join in?
Power to the player!

Robert Pacey