A word of advice: Don’t wake the Moose
By KIM SCHRAMM – Squash Mad Australian Correspondent
When you’re a talented teenager you aspire and strive to become the very best. Nothing stops your enthusiasm. You have all the energy in the world and you just want to see where it will take you.
With stars in your eyes you muster up the courage, and the dollars, to become a member of the Professional Squash Association. You join the Tour and eagerly await your first event to start earning those vital tour points which will in turn, help build your world ranking.
While the lifestyle of a touring professional conjures up images of a wonderful time travelling the world, having lots of fun and meeting new people – reality soon hits. For those that reach the top the lifestyle can be grand but for the majority it is the case of hours and hours of unrelenting training pushing your body every day to the absolute limit.
The long hours of developing and fine tuning your craft, countless strikes of the squash ball, strengthening of your core to withstand the constant twisting and turning of the modern game and maintaining a disciplined lifestyle merely gets one ready to play.
Then the physical and mental pressures of battle, recovery sessions, travelling and the demons associated with dealing with those inevitable losses all take their toll and only the strongest will survive.
For a person to compete year after year in the Top 100 requires a very high degree of commitment and discipline. It is just so demanding that many players give it a year and give it away.
Good quality players can generally reach the Top 100. A sound professional approach and a degree of extra support will see the better players make the Top 50. The exceptional will reach the Top 20.
Before they reach 25 years of age most squash players have made a decision. Those that carry on are damn tough and fully committed to pursuing success. By 35 the body is beginning to tell them it’s time to slow down and consider the future.
One Aussie athlete continues to defy the ageing process and what is considered the norm. There has to be a reason why. So I began to delve into the mindset of this very wise and enduring professional when I asked what motivated him to keep going.
His answer was truly inspiring: “I love playing Squash! I also enjoy training, improving and the challenge of competing. That might sound like a cliche but to be still going at this age one certainly needs a good dose of all of the above!”
When I asked him about the secret to his longevity he explained “It isn’t a secret as such, I just WANT to play! It may sound simple but without that basic desire anyone is going to struggle. I have just never lost that desire to compete whilst others have. I tell you Kim when any individual gets it into their mind that they are going to do something they tend to be pretty hard to stop!”
His answer didn’t shock but it wasn’t expected. At 40 years of age, the oldest touring professional in the Top 100, countless titles to his name and nothing left to prove, he was still as passionate about the game as he was when he first got started!
He is now about to embark on the first leg of the Australian Pro Series Squash Tour which will see him travel over 14,350 km to compete in 8 events over a 9 week period!
• May 8-11 Top End Open Darwin NT – PSA Challenger 5
• May 16-18 NT Open Alice Springs NT – PSA Challenger 5 AUSTRALIAN PRO SERIES
• May 22-25 City of Perth WA Open Perth WA – PSA Challenger 5 AUSTRALIAN PRO SERIES
• May 29-June 2 City Of Kalgoorlie-Boulder PSA Golden Open Kalgoorlie WA – PSA Challenger 5
• June 10-14 Maggie Beer South Australian Open Tanunda SA – PSA Challenger 5 AUSTRALIAN PRO SERIES
• June 20-22 Double Dot Media Christchurch International Open Christchurch NZ – PSA Challenger 5
• June 26-29 ILT & Community Trust NZ Southern PSA Open Invercargill NZ – PSA Challenger 15
• July 7-13 Victorian Open Melbourne VIC – PSA Challenger 15 AUSTRALIAN PRO SERIES
I’m exhausted just thinking about it, but he calls it an “experiment” – a longevity and durability challenge! Even at 40 years of age this old pro is still making tactical changes to his game!
He isn’t driven by records or numbers but he has certainly created some very impressive statistics along the way. He is the oldest ever winner of a tour title, he has amassed 47 career titles and appeared in 69 tour finals. He has reached a career high 38 and currently ranks at 76.
He is the legendary Michael Corren. That title won’t sit well with him but I find you can only have admiration for his longevity, professionalism and achievements. Affectionately known as “Moose” the gentle giant stands 186cm tall and remains a highly competitive threat to any opponent.
Corren is an inspiration to many youngsters and his records are important benchmarks for others to strive toward.
If you feel his achievements are already very high, I’m sorry to disappoint you further. Mike isn’t slowing down. “I have no plans to stop so don’t be surprised should you see my name in the 2018 Commonwealth Games squad!”
Personally, I wish the Moose well and I’m looking forward to writing about his 50th tour title very soon!