Monday, March 23, 2009

What if you held a National tournament and no one came?

Firstly, all you Canadian squashies need to thank the World Health Club in Calgary for stepping up to the plate and volunteering to host this year's Canadian Squash Championships. If they hadn't it would have most likely been held in Toronto again. Kudos to Jonathan Hill too for being the point guy on what's turning into a touch-and-go kind of event. He returned my call and emails right away. Thanks dood.

The official website is up and you can sign-up right now. $150 CAD gets you two PAR 11 matches, a "player kit souvenir" (?), Thursday night lasagna feast and dinner and dancing on Saturday night. Contact telephone number: (403) 239-4048. Registration deadline is 9:00am April 13th, 2009.

My only beef? Wasn't long ago that the Nationals meant that the glass court would be coming out of hibernation to dazzle us all with it's 360 degrees of viewing. Not this year. It turns out that the show court in Calgary will be one of the four glass back courts at the WHC. Don't get me wrong, playing on a glass court isn't the be all end all but you can sit a lot more people on four sides than you can on one. This is the problem: You can't buy tickets online yet to see the show court matches. Turns out that the WHC is offering the tickets to it's club members before allowing the rest of Canada to purchase them. Apparently they will go on sale to the general public this Thursday, March 26th. I sure hope that there are some left because it may actually be the deciding factor for a lot of us.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Whatever happened to World Squash Day?

It seems like all squashies are talking about these days is the confusion over PAR, and what it will mean to their club ladder or beer league, and the ongoing struggle to get squash into the Olympics. I'll leave PAR alone for now (only because it doesn't really have graphic representation - maybe I'll design an "I'm for PAR!" or an "Ask ME about PAR!" button:) but I thought I'd mention the latest surrounding squash's quest for GOLD.

It looks like squash is in fear of becoming the well behaved monkey tied to the organ and the IOC is turning the crank. We're "recognized" but not as recognized as solo synchronized diving and we're working hard. Seriously, the IOC has been yanking our chain since 1900 when Jeu de paume was a demonstration sport.

(Mon ami, qu'est ce que c'est Jeu de Paume? It was similar to squash, only competitors used their hands instead of a racquet to strike the ball and it was a demonstration sport. Just in case you think I'm making this up: LINK.)

The WSF has been a busy monkey (if you excuse the metaphor:). They've re-vamped their brand (see previous post), produced a Powerpoint presentation extolling the virtues of the game, created an Olympic Pledge poster, and had superstars sign it, and even created a snazzy video full of game clips and sounds and info all in an effort to catch the IOC's eye and convince them that we are worthy. The video, which you can see on the new WSF-affiliated website, includes this little nugget that still gets my goat: Squash is played in every major games EXCEPT the Olympics.

So what's new on the Olympic front? The death of one idea is making way for the birth of another. I quote from Inside The Games: "The world of Squash is uniting to support the sport’s bid for inclusion in the 2016 Olympic programme with a massive worldwide festival on May 23, it was announced today. The popular World Squash Day is being re-branded as Squash 2016 Day as national federations all over the globe organise a massive programme of events to back the sport's push to get into the Games for the first time."

Much like the effort to get Softball back into the Olympics ("Back Softball") the WSF has recently launched a new website and a groovy shiny new logo in an effort to raise awareness of the initiative and to raise funds to pay the organ grinder.

This latest squash logo is growing on me and their website looks good. Kudos to the WSF and who ever else is involved behind the curtains (Alan Thatcher, you still kicking? And who is Juniper PR in NY anyway?) I think I might even order a t-shirt with the new logo and celebrate with my beer league amigos on May 23rd. Wonder if they'll want to play with PAR scoring by then?