Monday, January 17, 2011

The ATCO World Series Squash Final Goes Pffffffttt.....

I'm normally pretty sympathetic to organizations, particularly those involved with squash, which run into unavoidable trouble and have to scramble. I don't want others to act like a jerk to me and I hope I'm not a jerk to others. For instance, I'm in the publishing business, and sometimes ads don't work out quite the way the customer wanted them to. So we run a make-good, or an extra ad in the next issue, or something to let them know we have their best interests at heart. Usually everything works out fine.

Nonetheless, the news that the finals of the ATCO World Series Squash Finals will be indefinitely postponed due to a technical issue with the inflatable building in which they were playing the series elicits very little sympathy from me. So, here comes the jerkiness....

When I originally read that the tournament had created this very odd bubble venue my first thought was, 'Why, dear god, why?' You are playing in one of the great cities of the world, and you create a microenvironment that displays none of the city other than the inside of some latex?

And typically for the PSA, they have released short, constipated press releases that fail to discuss exactly what happened, when the final might possibly be played, who was the fellow responsible for the big balloon, what did it cost, will they get their money back, etc... 

I have an idea; both finalists, Matthew and Shabana, will be attending the upcoming Tournament of Champions in NYC -- not in a bubble, but in the magnificent Grand Central Terminal. I say start the tournament off with their final, giving them a bye to recover into the second round. We New Yorkers will show the PSA how these things should be done....

If the sport of squash wants to play with the big boys it will have to do better than this. I'm embarrassed, actually. This sport needs better than this...    


  1. so true. so true.

  2. You would have to go all the way to Cairo to get a decent report of what happened. The ill-advised and expensive structure blew apart in wind that it purportedly could withstand. See this report:

  3. Unfair, very unfair.

    I attended on the day and as soon as I arrived I was told there was a problem and that there would be an annoucement at 4 and refunds could be had immediately if people didn't want to stay. Within 20 mins (half an hour earlier than initially anticipated) an announcement was made that play was postponed for the day and that they hoped to play on Sunday but to follow the website for updates. By early evening the announcement was made that it was postponed indefinitely and that full refunds would be made without question. The money was back in my account within a week - if you have ever been to cricket and tried to get refunds for weather postponments, you will know how impressive that is.

    The next announcement was that it would be rescheduled later in the year once a slot in the calendar was identified.

    I think that's all pretty decent service and communication - compared to what happens on London transport frankly it's world class.

    The ONLY criticism I have is that we were not allowed to go inside the club house to wait and it was pretty chilly - thankfully my 6 year old had taken her DS so didn't mind the wait, but it could have been pretty bad.

    As for the suggestion to hold it as somehow a tag on to another tournament - I am not convinced for two reasons a) why should my daughter and every other fan who paid good money to go and see play, have to travel half way round the world to see a tournament that was scheduled to be played here (whether it should be held here at all is another debate) and b) surely by tagging it on, it devalues the Super Series Finals themselves, or the Tournament it's tagged on to.

    I said on another forum, I applaud the efforts made by The Greenspace and PSA on this one - if we didn't try new things we would all still be living in caves!!!!

  4. My point wasn't about the PSA's service, my point was that the great thing about squash is its transportability, and while it might seem cool on paper to make a bubble and have a tournament, it forgets one of the greatest assets of squash -- having matches in these great internal and, increasingly, external spaces. I think that decision was wrong-headed. That the bubble, apparently only rated up to 50-MPH winds, burst is a deflating end to an ill-conceived concept. London has many great spaces; use them, PSA, ditch the bubble.


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....