Thursday, May 19, 2011

Another Home Run for US Squash

One of the interesting things about the game of golf is the fact that the scores are inputted following the round of play and one's handicap is calibrated accordingly. It means that a player knows exactly where he stands in relation to the rest of the golfosphere. That level of accuracy has always been missing in squash, until now. 

US Squash -- or USQ, as they like to be called -- has just instituted what I view as a game-changer in the world of squash, which drags our great sport into the modern era, kicking and screaming, so that we can also know in real time exactly where we stand. 

As part of USQ's Play Squash initiative, everyday club matches can be inputted into the association's website computer, thus influencing one's rating and ranking. If I play the same group of 3 or 4 guys 90% of the time, which I do, why not use those games to create a more accurate accounting of my level of play? Now I can do that.

If you were to look up my rating you would see only a handful of games, all played in 2009 during a time when I had an ongoing ankle problem (that eventually required surgery). My ranking went down and down through 2009, and that is where it has stayed, remaining idle because I have not played any sanctioned tournaments since then. But I've recovered since 2009 and played a lot of matches with friends, so my ossified rating now reflects the problems I had 2 years ago, not the present-day me. 

With the Play Squash initiative, that will change. I will start inputting all of the matches I have with players who are USQ members -- it doesn't work for non-members. And as I've opined before, if you are not a member of USQ then you are not supporting the sport and helping it advance -- with programs like this.  

Both players have to agree beforehand that this match will count -- and I bet the intensity level will ratchet up a notch or more because of that. The only other requirements are that the match must be best 3 of 5 and the approved Dunlop ball must be used.

So next time you are out on the court, ask your partner to play this match for real. No kidding around. Results go straight to your ratings, and from there on up to your ego. 

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