Friday, June 3, 2011

Primum Non Nocere

One of the principal guiding rules of the medical profession is summarized in the Latin phrase above, which means "First, do no harm."

Hanging on the walls or glass doors of most squash clubs all over the world is the phrase, "Non-Marking Soles Only," a warning that not all sneakers are fit to play on a squash court. Every now and then some knucklehead will go onto a court, oblivious, and try out the game, leaving behind a bunch of burnt rubber streak marks that take time and money to remove.

Would it be excessive if I were to say these people should be shot? Maybe trampled upon by a thousand well-trod squashists fed up with such behavior? Perhaps just slapped around a bit?

As I panted outside a squash court recently following a match, I looked up and there was the sign. But in my delirium I thought it said "Non-Marking Souls Only."

That would be nice.... Non-marking souls non nocere.


  1. shooting would not be excessive, with a warning of course.

  2. Let's try a new non-violent option first: "No Shoes, No Lob Service."

    Seriously, if bowling alleys can figure this out surely we can.

    In my experience the offenders are usually people who find the racquetball courts occupied, and have checked out a racquet at a control desk as plan B or C. So: 1) don't give them a racquet without checking their shoes; 2)give them a loaner pair of shoes and take one of theirs like the bowling alley does (cheap squash shoes are cheap!) 3)enforce the rule and by all means conjure up violent consequences.

    How many people own a squash racquet but do not have proper shoes? Access to the racquets would seem to be the control point. In the nature of things, the offenders are unlikely to be repeat offenders since they're only on the squash court by default. They are thus inclined to ignore the signs because it's a one time thing.
    Still, I agree there should be a special circle of hell for the marking souls.

  3. Dan, I think you have an excellent idea.


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....