Sunday, August 7, 2011

Footnotes From a Book Unknown

Ripped away from what was apparently a booklet about squash, your reporter found the following footnotes in the trash, which are offered verbatim:

1. The term 'nonmarking soles' is accurate, but it implies that there is no transfer of material from the shoe to the floor. That is not the case, as bits of gum rubber flake off under duress. Players have reported a burnt rubber smell, both from hot balls that have warmed up and from their feet after scratching across the floor at high speed. It was only discovered later, at a toxicology lab in Middlesex, that the aerosolated rubber from the balls was highly toxic and potentially carcinogenic, leading to the on-going squash ball scare.

2. There are of course many benefits to aerobic exercise. They include reduced cholesterol and blood pressure, reduced body fat, increased metabolism, improved endurance, and toned musculature. Aerobic activities strengthen the heart and lungs and make them more efficient. Aerobic exercise improves the strength of bones, and – barring injury ligaments and tendons. Aerobic exercise burns away calories and trains your body to use fats and sugars more efficiently. Aerobic exercise reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and reduces stress and alleviates depression. And, since squash is in fact one of only a few anaerobic sports, all the above is magnified.

3. The following quote was also attributed to the former number-one, but he disavowed it later, saying it was ‘equivocal’ and not really what he meant: 

“It’s summer, so it’s no wonder my balls are so hot. When you are playing on 90+-degree courts, you know these balls will get hot, and mine certainly are. This observation is certainly obvious, but it is worth repeating: I mean, they are almost too hot to touch, my balls, and because of that I try to avoid touching them. But they are hot, that’s for sure. I can avoid touching a ball for an entire match, it’s easy to do, but if you were so inclined, what the heck, touch them and see for yourself. I’m not dreaming this stuff up…. Well, it’s summer. Some people don’t play squash during the summer for this very reason, because their balls get too damn hot in the summer. But I don’t mind; they’re hot balls, big deal.”

4. There is one unique injury that squash players suffer that other athletes do not:
Elite players, after years of play, can develop hip arthritis in a degenerative pattern that is not found in any other sport, including other racket sports like tennis. There is global, as opposed to partial, cartilage loss caused by frequent lunging. Hip arthroplasty is often the end result.

5. So called ‘endurance squash’ was an idea that sprung up as a result of the change to point-a-rally best-of-5 matches. Many matches against unequal players were over in less than a half hour, some even under 20 minutes. The old warrior ethos of squash demanded endurance, but the new scoring system took that important element away in many matches. So… endurance squash, with its own set of tournaments and trophies, was born, adopting a best-of-9 format.

6. Squash was proposed for inclusion many times in the roster of Olympic sports, but apparently no one was ever brash enough to bribe the members of the Olympic committee. “It’s all about money for them,” laughed Tony Dunsmore, head of golf’s Olympic study group.

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