Friday, May 21, 2010

Slicing Up My Feet With Razors

The squash equipment we use today has gotten a lot better.

I was reminded of this by a great old video you can check out here on SquashZAG that shows Mohibulla Khan and Geoff Hunt engaging in a long, old-style point that involved less shot-making than you would see today and more attritional back-and-forth play. The difference of course is in the rackets they used then and the rackets we use today, which among other things have higher racket-head speed and larger sweet-spots. I can remember playing hardball way way back when with a (in hindsight perfectly ridiculous) metal racket that was significantly heavier than normal. This racket was soooo heavy and made of non-breakable metal, and thus it was great for a guy (that would be me) with very little money, because it would last a really long time. It was only after several months, when I realized my wrist was developing tendinitis, that I threw out the still-unbroken racket. I think that was the one and only time I ever threw out a racket that had yet to break.

Happily, racket technology has advanced. We also used to build up the top of the racket with tape in order to reduce the possibility of breakage as we scraped the racket head along the wall; nowadays, not many people do this, because the racket heads come with sturdy build-ups and don't seem to need it like they used to. 

Another important advancement has been with shoes. I can remember limping home after a tough match, filling the bathtub with water, and soaking my feet for a half hour or so. I would then take a razor and cut out the bumpy calluses and blood blisters that had developed on my soles, sometimes shearing off 2-3 square inches of hardened skin at a time. 

My wife, a psychologist, was concerned....

I told her I wasn't sick, just in love.       

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ode to a Winning Squash Ball

Well see here, my black rubber friend with two dots that stare like eyes!
I must say I'm quite fond of you for today's squash match surprise.

See, I played a level up today—not hoping much to win—
Against a very tough player with great court movement, good spin.

But at the loud clang of the tin at the close of the first game,
Behold! I had eked out a win, a faint echo of some fame. 

At the break my sweat-drenched opponent I could see was bone-tired.
But my winning of game 1 was so sweet I became up-fired!

He's drinking water from the fountain like a dog at his bowl.
All that running the diagonal will surely take its toll.

As the second game begins I feel cautiously elated,
And as it unfolds my opponent's more and more deflated.

I hold my shots so brilliantly, my footwork, ahhh, superb.
I feign shots leftward, hold, then shoot to the right, which helps perturb
My weakened opponent, who has taken to heavy sighing,
A reflection of the fact that on court the sucker's dying. 

Another game for me, and he's off court slurping like a fool.
A mess of gasping breath, twitching muscles, rivulets of drool.

Game 3 starts, and my opponent starts mouthing his excuses:
A twitchy back, a cough, a late night drowning in his juices.

And soon the tragic tale is through and I its mighty hero,
While my flummoxed opponent limps home, feeling like a zero. 

In the bag you go, squash ball, I'll save you for another day,
You've got plenty of nap to keep you till the next time we play. 
God help me if a seam should split you and ruin your facade!
Forever and ever I pray, saints preserve you, please, o god!