It might surprise some who know me that I would ever undertake writing a blog about anything, as being both opinionated and chatty would seem to be prerequisites for the job. My wife sometimes complains about the paucity of utterances that issue forth from my mouth. I may grab the latest murder mystery I’m reading on a Saturday morning and sit there, reading and occasionally staring off into space, then reading again, pages slowly turning, chapters coming and going, death and dismemberment occurring to a cascade of nice sweet people with all the drama the human species can summon forth. Then, as the mystery is solved and the day fades, I speak the single sentence allotted to me for that day:
Well, I’m not that bad, but still…. My mother was born in Malmö, Sweden, and as anyone who has ever watched an Ingmar Bergman movie knows, Swedes can silently contemplate the pendulum swings of fate better than just about anyone.
But I do talk, and I am opinionated about some things, squash being one of them. Am I a great player whose opinions demand to be heard? No, I am not. I’ve made my share of great shots and had my share of unexpected victories, but I’ve folded miserably against players I should have beaten, suffered brain seizures when a little thought would have gone a long way, and endured excessive ribbing from joyful opponents celebrating my defeat. And I call those guys my friends!
I’ve been in A tournaments but never past the second round. I’ve won one B tournament (many years ago, alas) and been a finalist in a few, but more often I’ve succumbed in the semis, quarters, or earlier (as in the last few years, alas). I’ve been at this sport for 3 decades now, and like a lot of players I know I suffer from the delusion that I can still get better, if only …. [Feel free to fill in the blank.]
But I do have one qualification for this job. I happen to believe that squash is the greatest individual sport known to man. Truly. I can’t think of another sport where physicality and mentality are in such demand, where both body and soul are placed in extremis to such a degree. It is a richly rewarding sport, and I have been and continue to be grateful for having found it.
I’m aware others don’t feel this way. My little Jacques Rogge doll, the one with all the pins in it, reminds me that the unenlightened masses still hold sway over the fortunes of this sport. But the arc of history is a long one, I remind my Rogge doll, at which I forcefully jab another pin in his abdomen. Arrrgh!, my little Belgian nemesis cries, as I laugh maniacally. For a transcendent moment I feel I’ve entered into one of my Saturday mysteries, but no, no, that’s not the case, sorry….
Let it be known that this blog constitutes my own opinions, so get back to me with yours when the spirit moves you. But remember to address it to me,