Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tics, Anyone?

As I've noted before in this blog, it sure is something to listen to the professional women tennis players at Wimbledon grunting catharticallly after every stroke. The men either don't do it or do it only occasionally, and at reduced volume. Somehow or another, the high-decibel grunt has become part of the culture of women's tennis, kind of like human vuvuzelas trumpeting their presence to the assembled throng. 

I've also noted the manic pre-point dance that the women do. It's called 'happy feet,' and the idea is to keep those feet moving at all times so that no inertia sets in.

There is no more manic happy-feet dancer than Marion Bartoli, a Frenchwoman whose obvious hyperactivity disorder is apparently mixed in with a strong obsessive-compulsive streak, since her pre-point dance involves wild flailing of the arms following ritualized movements. You have to see it to believe it.

All of which got me thinking about movements made by athletes when they are not actually playing the point. What if we were to take some of these actions and put them on the squash court, what would we have?

Well, in the case of Bartoli, her spastic pre-point dance on a squash court might actually put her opponent at risk, since she violently swings her racket on the forehand and backhand side as she is pogo-ing around the court. Her opponent might very likely run off the court, terrified.

Another stylized tic that tennis players have is to reach behind them and grab a towel to wipe off their face. Apparently it is uncool to wear a headband or bandanna in pro tennis. The reality is that they are using the 15-20 seconds it takes to do this to catch their breath, so you'll see a lot of face-wiping in the latter stages of a tennis match. But could you imagine that on a squash court?

Even a mild motion would just not work in squash. Derek Jeter, the Yankees' fading shortstop, always walks into the batter's box and puts his rear hand up, signalling to the umpire that he is not yet ready and to hold the game until he is. It's a totally unnecessary thing for him to do, but he's been doing it anyway his entire career. If a squash player were to hold up his hand as he prepared to receive a serve, his opponent and everyone watching would view him as a madman.

There is something about being in the same room with your opponent that cuts down on the crap. In squash, its two bats and a ball in a box. There's no room in there for bull.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Oh Squash God, Hear My Plea ...

Oh squash god! Hear my plea!
Fix forthwith my bum right knee.
With much sacrosanct piety,
And corporeal anxiety.
My knee, o lord, and thanks from me.

Knee cartilage wears down with the years,
My stomach grows larger with the beers,
Yet I still must beat my squashist peers,
But my balky knee adds to my fears.
Please squash god!

I swear I’ll return once more to church,
No more leaving god in the lurch,
Hell, I’ll feed Him some rainbow perch,
I’ll even fund sacerdotal research!
But please, seriously squash god….

I don’t mean to bug, protest or prod,
But I need that speed, not be a clod.
Hammies are good, plus left and right quad,
It’s just the right knee that needs fixing god.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

No It's Not, It's DEAD!

Because of the woeful inadequacies of the Google search engine, which are multiple yet obscure, I have noticed that I am receiving a lot of clicks on a blog I wrote last January about SquashZAG being up and running. I called it "It's Alive!" 

Unfortunately, soon after I posted that blog the site's owners apparently gave up on the site and it has lain fallow ever since. So no, it's not alive, and this time it is most assuredly dead. Stick a fork in it, it's done. It's time to de-bookmark it.

There, Google, stick that in your search engine!

Monday, June 6, 2011

In Your Face!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: wear protective eyewear. If it can happen to these guys, it can happen to you....  This video is from PSA Squash TV's newly available archive.

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.