Squash Mad

Shabana fan lets it all hang out

Amr falls to a Naked Gun in Canada

Congratulations to Shahier Razik for running another highly successful Cambridge Cup competition in Toronto this week.

The final was an all-Egyptian affair, with Mohamed Elshorbagy overcoming Amr Shabana to claim his second consecutive title, in a tournament sponsored by Merrill Lynch and a team of other backers who must have been impressed by the entertainment on offer.

ShabanaJudging by the Twitter and Facebook images to merge, the social side of the tournament was pretty exceptional, too.

Dutch ace LJ Anjema gushed on Facebook:  “The coolest and most fun event I’ve ever played, with some of the world’s best eight players. The matches were spread out over Toronto to promote the game as much as possible. Our ‘home’ club was the Cambridge Club, probably my favorite club in the world.

“Imagine a massive locker room with leather chairs, wooden lockers and two semi-glass squash courts in it. Jacuzzi overlooking the courts. Sick! By the way, it’s men only…”

Now, your humble correspondent has enjoyed several trips to Canada, sampled their superb hospitality, and played squash in several of their “men-only” establishments.

I won’t get drawn into any arguments about whether this constitutes sexual discrimination, but I will reveal that there is a downside to this kind of arrangement.

Occasionally, you can look through the back wall just as you are about to play a shot and run the risk of having your concentration affected by the sight of naked men casually wandering around. Taking your eye off the ball is perhaps the wrong phrase.

This was clearly the case as Amr Shabana posed for a picture at the Cambridge Club before the final. I believe this is a new phenomenon, popular in social media, known as a photobomb. At least this guy covered most of his modesty with a towel.

Fashion makes a racquetbostonfashion

There is no doubt that the Boston Tennis and Racquet Club is a very fashionable establishment.

So much so that the courts and bleachers were used for an upmarket fashion shoot by the Boston Magazine.

I am delighted to report that the models involved here kept their clothes on.

To see the article and photoshoot, click here.

Food for thought

I enjoyed reading the latest column from former world champion Cassie Thomas, in which she praised squash-mad parents for the important role they play in helping to develop the next generation of talent.

However, no sport can be totally safe from the often eccentric behaviour displayed by some pushy parents. Last week I heard an horrendous report of a Squash Dad who was so upset at his son losing in a tournament that he stormed into the changing room, removed the lad’s packed lunch from his squash bag, sneaked out to his car, ate the kid’s sandwiches, and refused to buy him  any food as a punishment for failing to win.

I look forward to readers offering their suggestions for a suitable punishment for the father.

Learning from losing

Losing is actually one of the key elements of the learning process in any sport. If you can detach yourself from some of the automatic emotional responses generated by any loss (often anger, disappointment and jealousy) you can use such a reverse as inspiration.

There are always reasons why one player beats another, and simple analysis of these issues can often lead to enlightenment.

However, squash seems to attract an unhealthily high percentage of individuals who prefer to make excuses for a defeat instead of shaking their opponent’s hand, say “Well done” and admit one simple truth: they were the better player on the day.

These ridiculous people share one common trait: they never learn.

 

Posted on March 8, 2014

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About The Author

Alan Thatcher

Founder of World Squash Day, Squash Mad and the new Squash 200 Partnership, building clubs of the future. Founder of the Kent Open and co-promoter of the St. James's Place Canary Wharf Classic. Author and Public Speaker.

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