Sunday, December 19, 2010

A squash player's Christmas wish list

I realize that I'm putting this out a little late but it's a well known fact that squash players are procrastinators: Ask any pro and they'll tell you that everyone signs up for a tournament just before the deadline:) There are still a few shopping days left.

1. Because we like to read when we're not on court: A copy of "Run to the Roar" by the winningest coach in college sports history, Paul Assaiante and James Zug.

Just one of the many great quotes: "Today is the present. They call it the present because it is a gift."

2. One for the boys: The new WISPA calendar:) 'Nuff said. PURCHASE HERE.

3. More reading! How about a subscription to Squash Magazine?

4. Lessons. And more lessons! Your local squash pro can do wonders for your game and it's about time you realized that your practice-to-games ratio needs to be flipped on it's head if you're ever going to win an "A" tournament. (Okay Pacey?)

5. Some new gear. Style is sometimes more important than substance and your team could probably use some help:) Check out Squash Republic: Their growing catalogue of shirt designs is quickly earning them a reputation as the #1 online clothing store for squash players.

Pictured here wearing the "Drop Shots Not Bombs" design (L-R): Christian Coufal, Birgit Coufal (Austria’s # 1, WISPA ranking 70) and Gerald “Hasi” (which means bunny) Hasslacher (Austrias no 125).

6. For the gamer: Check out the new version of "Racquet Sports" from Ubisoft.

Dood, you can play underwater and you don't have to ask for lets! Nice.

7. Club photo! At our squash club, the Vancouver Racquets Club, we're lucky enough to have a great crew of players playing singles and doubles and a great photographer to help us document it all:)

Photo © 2010 Chad Forbes.

8. A new MANTA racquet!
Available at S.C.R.U. Squash

9. A subscription to SQUASH TV

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Squash makes PTI's "Turkeys of the Year"

Just when you thought the world had forgotten about Baset Chaudhry and his much-lamented outburst,  Pardon The Interruption placed him on their "Turkeys of the Year" sports clip montage. They call Chaudhry the "Squash-Taunter" and describe him as "a big hairy bully." Ouch.

Check the video here and skip to 1:26 for the "Squash-Taunter".

Friday, November 12, 2010

PSA World Series Squash Finals Graphics

The ATCO PSA World Series Squash Finals takes place January 2011 and I'm giving a big thumbs up to the group responsible for the graphics. Hopefully this is just a teaser and there's more to come.

I don't have confirmation but a little detective work makes me believe that Fleishman Hilliard Public Relations is responsible for branding of this tournament and the one page website with the trippy purple video.

Anyone know what the "Z-Court" is that they mention? Wouldn't it be cool if it was the squash court equivalent of the "Z-Pool Table"? Throw some extra corners in there to hide the drop shots?

First one to send me a photo of the "Z-Court" wins a Squash Republic t-shirt.

UPDATE: Squash Zag has pointed out that Fleishman Hilliard is the public relations firm for the ATCO PSA WSSF while Greenspace is the design firm behind the branding. Check out the work they did for the 2009 edition. Nice.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Taking it to the streets: Squash that is.

Click on the image on the left to check out this hilarious video of French prankster/comedian RĂ©mi Gaillard playing squash in a phone booth. Check out his site: Thanks to Nicola for the link:)

Squash 360 talked about doing this a while back and I think it's time to take squash to the streets of Vancouver. Pacific Centre mall? How about a few "No lets" at the The Bloedel Conservatory! Conduct warnings at the Wall Centre!

Send us some ideas and if we use them in our video we'll send you something cool. Promise.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Squash Shortlisted for 2020 Olympics? Yah so?

Here we go again.

You may have heard that our game has been shortlisted for the 2020 Olympics but did you hear the real reason we didn't get in last time? Mr. Ramachandran, president of the World Squash Federation, was quoted as saying that Rugby Sevens beat us out previously because, at that time, the "IOC was going through a bad phase because of recession in Europe and they needed additional revenue. Thus, rugby was included." Hmmm. So it wasn't because of poor ball visibility or the perceived impropriety of players arguing with referees? It was about the money? Duh.

(As an aside, the NBA has instituted a new policy meant to curtail complaining by players because, according to Commissioner David Stern, "that's not a good thing.")

The IOC hasn't decided where the 2020 Olympics are going to be held yet as they're still hyping the 2012 games in London, but I'm loathe to start getting excited so soon. Instead, I'm going to look forward to World Squash Day because it's only 10 days, not 8 years, away!

Friday, October 8, 2010

David and Matthew win Commonwealth Gold in squash!

Congratulations to Nicol David for her 3-0 (40 min) win over Jenny Duncalf and to Nick Matthew for his 3-0 (66 min) win over James Willstrop.

Check out the coverage at  and Squash

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

From the Archives: Michael Desaulniers for Athlete's World

When I first saw this four page advertising insert I thought "Here's a rare glimpse into that locker room of old!" Although my club has a co-ed steam room, the days of the "co-ed" locker room are past. (It seems that I missed everything by taking up squash so late:)

What I didn't realize was that it wasn't just the groovy camaraderie of 80's squash that I was missing, it was the fact that at one time sports stores actually catered to squash players! This advert is for "Athlete's World" (a Canadian sporting good store that's still around) and it harkens back to a day when sporting good stores were a better place to go to find squash racquets and shoes than Canadian Tire. Now I bet most of you buy your racquets online. (Ed note > Shameless plug: I sell Manta racquets:)

The other thing I didn't realize about this advert was that it featured an ex number 1 in the world hardball squash player who also happens to be Canadian: Michael Desaulniers. It turns out that I've played doubles with his brother! Six degrees of cool!

If you don't know about Michael, or you think that Jonathon Power was our first squash superstar, you really need to read this 2004 article by Rob Dinerman at SquashTalk. Dood, he beat Sharif Khan when Khan was on the top of his game!

If you know anything about Michael Desaulniers please consider adding to his Wikipedia page which is a little light on content.

Another cool aspect of this historical document is the appearance of the WSPA logo. I said "WSPA" not "WISPA":) A precursor of the PSA, the World Squash Players Association never made it to the internet (Go ahead, Google them.) Classic logo though.

Got any info on the WPSA? Contact me.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Robot Squash Referees

After squash lost out on it’s bid to become an Olympic sport there was a lot of discussion about the game and why it didn’t receive this arbitrary form of legitimization.

One group suggested that the rules were too difficult for the average viewer to understand. The WSF agreed and officially sanctioning not one but three scoring systems. No confusion there.

Another group forwarded the oft heard complaint that “the ball is just too hard to see on TV”. This was apparently also a problem for hockey at one time: Remember the glowing hockey puck? Luckily, it was generally agreed that this isn’t a problem and if you don't agree I suggest that you go watch a Jean De Lierre match video and tell me that you can’t follow the ball.

Perhaps the loudest group was the one that claimed that squash didn’t make the Olympics due to the lack of civility that a lot of players display on court. (We all saw the video of what’s his name from what’s that ivy league school and were hurt to see blogs write articles with titles like "Squash Players are just the worst!") The reason the players act this way? Their parents brought them up wrong? No. The refs let them. A player relies on the ref to keep control of the match and if they don’t bad things can happen.

I think it’s the decision making process that accompanies a call for a “Let”. But that’s not a reason to get rid of “lets”. (And please, don’t get me started on that wacky concept of five “lets” per match. I heard a rumour that this same group wants professional players to eschew the “let” altogether! Goggles and helmets will be mandatory.)

No, I’ve always felt that if we could just get rid of the referee as the “flash point of a match” we would be set. What I mean is, as it is stands now, the decision on whether a call is a “let” or a “stroke” is one person’s to make and if the player doesn’t like it he or she knows who to turn on. (I saw this in the Grand Circuit Finale where a disgruntled player lost his temper, and the match, at a suspected biaised call. Nasty words ensued.)

What if, instead, a player would request a let from the faceless robot who would render an obviously non-partisan verdict? We’re getting close to this with the "three ref system" where three referees vote on each call and the majority rules.

But wait, there’s something better and we don’t have to wait for robots!

It’s appropriately called the “Let, No Let Technology” and it’s available right now. (FYI - I've suggested calling it the "Robot Ref 5000" for marketing purposes:) According to Raghbir Badhan, of the newly resurrected “Unsquashble”, the only thing missing from the equation is someone who “has the guts to use it in a tournament.”

The "ROBOT REF 5000" interface. How simple is that?

This technology uses a web server that is accessible through any gagdet that connects to the web (iPhone, iPad etc) and allows three referees to consult without hand signals or raised eyebrows. Each ref enters their decision and then the result is flashed onto the ceiling of the court.

How cool is that? Angry with the decisions. Curse the roof not the ref and get back to the game.

I’ve seen it in action and it’s awesome. I only yelled at the roof once:)

Want to use it in your tournament? Email Raghbir Badhan:

Tell Raghbir that Squash Republic sent you and let us know how it works at your tournament.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Our poster design spotted out of Africa (again)!

If you travel to the outermost region of the European Union you'll find a little archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the disputed border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. And guess what? They play squash there and they seem to really like our poster designs!

Check out two new variations of the posters we designed for the PSA:

Nice. I'm glad they like them. Just wish they hadn't taken the credit line off. ¿Porque lo quitaste? Dios mio!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Squash Infographic

A visual guide to participation in the 2010 Canadian Squash Championships held at the Jericho Tennis Club, Arbutus Club and VRC in Vancouver, BC.

Created by Squash Republic in cooperation with Squash Canada.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Our poster design spotted in Ireland!

One of our poster designs for the PSA was used recently for the Western Ireland Squash Open held at the Galway Lawn Tennis Club. (Love that the title sponsor seems to be Garavan's Bar.)

See the posters here.

More info on the tourney on SquashSite.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lasers are the future of squash!

Yes, you read that right. The future is here and it hasn't appeared in the form of another twist on the rules of our beloved game. (Don't get me started on that 5-let rule nonsense.) No, the future I'm referring to has an ironically retro Tron sensibility: "Laser Squash"!

Apparently, in 2004 a Dutch gaming company, "Laser Promotions B.V.", launched their patented prototype for a futuristic court-based game that has the future squash player playing with a polycarbonate wand instead of an old fashioned racquet. The wand has "nice features" such as the fact that "it vibrates when a beam is hit, simulating the impact of a "heavy" beam and a string of LED's light up." Nice. LEDs.

And forget about warming up those old analog balls - we're chasing lasers here dood!

If you reckon that squash didn't make the Olympics because viewers have trouble following the ball listen to this: "The setup of the laser and the sounds generated by the software, is very enjoyable for spectators to see and hear. It is a perfect combination to use a laser with an easy to understand and fun-to-play game."

And look at that cool court! I guess the one on the left is the "night" option. Isn't that totally Tron? The shot below is a promotional conceptual still from "Tron: Legacy". See what I'm talking about?

I can hear you ask, "Is it going to be the same workout?" Oh, yeah.
I quote: "LaserSquash evolves into a real fast and exhausting play when the players hit all beams quickly and successfully. LaserSquash is extremely spectacular to watch and adrenaline kicks when played."

And how many times have you wished you could play a game of squash by yourself? LaserSquash has a Squash ROBOT! "Danger, Jonathon Power. Danger!" Check this monster out:

It's such a workout that you'll double up your wristbands!

Don't dismiss this natural evolution of squash. Don't be afraid of the future! Step up and play LaserSquash with me!

Check out their website. (Yep, they're not kidding.)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Squash Pictogram for 2010 Olympics

As a graphic designer, one of my favourite aspects of the Olympics is the pictograms that represent the individual sports. I was really hoping to see an official pictogram for squash this year but it wasn't to be.

"The Twenty-four sport pictograms and a series of sport illustrations for the 2010 Winter Games were revealed in September 2008 and were created by Dutch illustrator Irene Jacobs of I’m JAC Design. The pictograms depict the 2010 Winter Games sports using a simplified silhouette with small details depicting the dynamism of the athlete in motion." *

Here then is my interpretation of the Vancouver 2010 Pictogram for the sport of squash.

(Check out the official Vancouver 2010 pictograms here.)

My next exercise is to come up with the London 2012 pictogram for squash. Shouldn't be difficult as I'm a big fan of the 80's:) Here are their pictograms which were just revealed in October.

* Hey
Vanoc, why didn't you hire a Canadian to create these illustrations? Just askin'.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Squash Inunnguaq

The Olympics are officially upon us and the patriotism bug has finally bitten me. The other day my wife put up a bunch of Canada flags at the front of our house and something changed in me. I'm wearing my team Canada jersey as I type this and I'm really looking forward to watching the opening ceremonies with my wife tonight. For those who know me, and who know my views on the corporate circus (and it's legacy of debt) that's taken over our city this change is pretty big. While I won't be getting a maple leaf tattoo, I don't feel like a hypocrite for realizing that this is a once in a lifetime event for our city and so, seeing as how we're paying for it, I'm joining the party. I just can't help wondering if I would have gotten into the spirit of things earlier had squash made it into the Olympics and Jonathon Power had been asked to carry the flame. Probably:)


(With apologies to Gonzalo Alatorre and Rivera Design Group, designers of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics logo.)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

2010 Canadian Squash Championships!

It's official! Squash Canada's 2010 Canadian Squash Championships are coming to Vancouver May 5-8, 2010. The host club is the fabulous Jericho Tennis Club (Pro: Shauna Flath) with the Arbutus Club (Pro: Larry Armstrong) assisting as a satellite venue.

I'm personally very pleased to announce that The Vancouver Racquets Club (Pro: Steve Lawton) will be hosting the Companion Event which will run concurrently and is open to male and female "B", "C" and "D" players. I've always argued that the companion event is an integral part of the nationals and having the companion event truly allows the squash community to come together to play and celebrate the game they love.

(Speaking of celebrating, I can't wait until Saturday night when both events will come together at Jericho for a party that won't be forgotten for a long time to come!)

The official website isn't quite live yet (should be up and ready for registration to begin by February 1st) but there is a Facebook Fanpage where you can go to for updates and info and post questions that the committee can answer for you.

UPDATE: Tuesday, February 2, 2010: The official website is live. Registration will come online shortly.

Why not comment and let us know what you think of the site and the 2010 CSC logo?