As the Kent Open is underway at the Maidstone Club in England we thought it fitting to profile a long-time figure in the squash community. Join us as we Get to Know Alan Thatcher:
Day Job: Newspaper production editor (I design pages and write silly headlines)
Squash Roles/Titles: Chairman, Kent SRA; Founder: World Squash Day; Promoter: Kent Open and Kent Squash Festival; Co-Promoter: ISS Canary Wharf Squash Classic; Promoter: Kent Grand Prix Series
Marital Status: Thirtieth anniversary looming in July !!
Kids: James (wizard programmer) is 25; Laura (artist) is 23
Pets: Our beautiful cat Poppy died recently at the age of 17.
Home town: Maidstone, county town of Kent
How long is your commute? 36 miles
Method? Car. (The journey usually takes an hour but can take twice that long depending on the infamous Blackwall Tunnel under the River Thames)
Last conference attended: Kent SRA meeting last week
Number of plane flights in 2009: Eight (best trip was to Chicago to help out at the US Open)
Last book read: Why Men Hate Going To Church (by Mark Driscoll)
Favourite gadget/technology: My new i-phone
Interests, hobbies, outside of squash: Gardening, art, writing comedy, helping people
Location of last vacation: My back garden. Our holiday to Tunisia in April was cancelled because of the Icelandic volcano and we were blessed with fantastic sunshine in the UK.
Favorite Meal: Fillet steak (but I’m trying to follow James Willstrop and Vanessa Atkinson down the road of vegetarianism…)
Guilty Pleasure: Fillet Steak and red wine …
3 Words your friends would use to describe you: You Fat B++++++
Years playing squash: 35 plus
How would you describe your squash game: Ballet with a racket ( or racket with a belly!)
Sweetest victory: Making my debut for Kent at the age of 57 and winning 10-9 in the fifth !!
Most painful loss: My first ever game 35 years ago with my late brother Mike. I twisted my lower back and it still plays up now!
Fondest squash memory: Taking two games off Jonah Barrington in an exhibition match.
Favourite Player: Peter Nicol
Best squash advice you received: You’ll never make any money in squash
Racket: Anything Free (currently Harrow and Dunlop)
Home club: The Mote Squash Club in Maidstone
Favorite quote: Happiness Is A Supple Pelvis (I made that one up)
Currently you are one of the key organizers of the Kent Open, can you tell us about the background and goals of the event?
The Kent Open is the focal point of the Kent Squash Festival, which has been running for three months in the build-up to the pro event. We have introduced squash and racketball to more than 300 children at 20 schools in Kent. We will keep going until we have reached every school in the county and then start over again.
You are a writer, TV commentator, compere/MC, tournament promoter … that is quite a skill set. Is there one role you especially enjoy?
Most rewarding or satisfying parts of squash roles?
The smile on a player’s face when their hard work pays off – and they realise I wasn’t talking rubbish after all!
Things you could do without?
People stealing your sponsors.
How do you juggle all of these activities?
A combination of ADHD and the Holy Spirit. You can achieve anything.
Frustrating aspects of running a pro tournament?
Top seeds pulling out injured causing you to rewrite six pages of the event programme.
Quick word association, thoughts, one or two quick words on:
Squash on TV: I’m working on it
5 Let Rule: Rubbish
Squash Governing Bodies: Brilliant (cough)
The Squash Genie pops out of the bottle granting you 3 wishes to improve the sport … what do you ask for?
Cash, cash, and more cash.
What might the average squash enthusiast not realize about role, efforts of someone organizing a squash exhibition/Tour?The sacrifices you make in terms of time and family, with no guarantee of financial reward.
What might the average squash enthusiast not realize about role, efforts of a Squash Promoter? Perhaps on the logistic, business and/or financial side of game?
The financial risk involved in putting tournaments together, and the sad fact that squash has a handful of low-life scumbags who stab you in the back and try to steal your business.
To date, accomplishments you are most proud?
Being part of a great team at Canary Wharf.
Launching a community sports club called TriSports to help the homeless and disadvantaged.
Unfinished business, priorities for 2010 and beyond?
Spend more time with my family
Help the WSF as much as I can
Move TriSports to a new, bigger home
Finish the comedy show and the musical I’m working on
Lose 30 pounds