Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Je Crois Que C’est Stupide, Alors….

I believe is the principal source of squash news and commentary on the internet at the moment, and I’ve had it bookmarked for years. One reason I think the site is successful is its commentator, Framboise. (Like Madonna, she uses only her first name.) She displays a cheerful disregard for relating the news using an unbiased, classically journalistic approach, instead offering a much more personal look at the game and its players. She is unabashedly both pro-squash and pro the players who try to make a living playing the game, who she describes with obvious enthusiasm. As a result of her efforts, the players seem awfully human, as does Framboise.

Her wit emerges through her writing, and her reporting gives her an earth-mother quality, as when she notes that so-and-so is very very cute or that so-and-so looked a bit sad today. The result of all this is that Framboise is herself a ‘player’ in the world of squash – she has become one of the interesting personalities that one associates with the game.

She’s biased towards France, but cheerfully so, and ready to admit it should anyone ask. (Squashsite is an English-language site but has a subsection in French.). But she’s more likely to say she’s rooting for France because Thierry is soooo cute or Gregory is soooo adorable than for any other reason.

But, all that aside, she also knows her squash, offering very nice summaries of the action, often zeroing in on the psychological battle that is transpiring on the court in front of her.

However, her knowledge of squash doubles is a bit soft. In her recent blog during the Men’s World Team Championships, she spent some time interviewing Chris Walker, the US Men’s Team coach, whose guys played a very good tournament that just missed propelling the team into the top-10. Framboise talks to Chris here:

In this discussion she reveals that she is either unfamiliar with or uninterested in hardball doubles. She notes that Chris Walker still plays squash in the US, “but on the Doubles circuit, for a Hardball Doubles Team, I understand. I’m sure it means something for our North American friends, beats me though….” And with that throwaway line, hardball doubles is dispensed with.

Framboise, dear, I love you, but hardball is a MUCH better game than softball doubles. Mon dieu!


  1. It's true that hardball doubles has a lively circuit and softball doubles doesn't. However, all the big international competitions that feature doubles, they play softball. That's why people know it (and probably the only reason). More importantly, how many hardball doubles courts exist outside North America. I don't know the number but I would be really surprised if it's more than 10.

  2. Well, Anonymous, the fact is you got me on this one... Truth to tell, I've never actually seen a softball doubles match, though I've read repeatedly that it can be so long-winded that it approaches boredom, whereas a good hardball dubs match, with cracking shots flying about the super-sized court, is probably the most visually appealing of all squash formats. And your point about the paucity of hardball dubs courts outside of N America is also true. Framboise, for her part, may well have never seen a hardball dubs game for the very reason you cite, namely there ain't no courts. Oh well, we live in an imperfect world....

  3. Bonjour, young man...
    You are sooooo right, I really don't know fuckall about hardball, softball, doubles.... I admit it... I don't understand, and I'm sure there is a whole world out there for me to discover... But hey, I'm still young, plenty of time to learn...

    You can stop laughing now....

    More seriously, my knowledge of doubles is and will stay minimum. I lost the will to live during the Doubles competition in Melbourne for the CG, and I'm not about to cover and watch another double match unless I'm paid my weight in gold.
    And that's a lot....

    Still, you are so kind... I owe you a beer or two...

  4. Well, when next you're in NYC -- perhaps for the Tournament of Champions? -- drop me a line and I will arrange for you to see a great hardball dubs match, it really is fun to watch. And the bieres on me....

  5. Framboise may be a "personality" in the sport, but you might want to ask promoters what they think of Fram's sense of entitlement and prima donna attitude and actions. Should she not get the seats, hotel room, royal treatment; What's the expression? hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

    Just ONE example of this "complex" and behavior is what happened at Gus Cook's Richmond event. She walked out when she didn't get "treated" as she expected.

    As for "her boys" many cringe and try and avoid her when they see her coming and dislike the tone of her writing.

  6. Ouch. Not a good review!

    I've of course never experienced her actions at tournaments, so I can't comment one way or the other on that. I'm just a reader seeing what she has written, and i can defend what she has done. The fact is that most squash writing is just play-by-play stuff that gets tiresome if you read enough of it. She spends a good deal of time deliberately writing about everything but the actual match, which may seem strange in the world of squash but which is routinely done in other sports. When you have a minority sport, with few writers, you can only do so much, and the emphasis is on what happened at the tournaments. I think Framboise is a different kind of writer more interested in the personalities behind the game, and I think she spices up the coverage because of that. In short, I think there is room in the world of squash for that kind of writing -- I know I like it. Now, if she throws a fit at a tournament, that's not going to win her many friends. (Framboise, c'est nécessaire de jouer plus doucement....)


Sorry, but due to increasing spam, I've added the Word Verification step. My policy on comments is anything goes, as long as it is about squash and as long as it isn't unnecessarily nasty....