Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Squashing Down in the Deep South

I've been quiet on this blog lately because I've been working pretty damn hard and, when available, squashing pretty damn hard. Not a ton of time available beyond those two polar opposites, the dual lodestars of my existence. 

However, I recently got back from 5 days in the deep south where, among other things, I was able to play squash. Imagine that. 

I visited Sewanee, Tenn, not far from the Alabama border, where The University of The South is headquartered.  My in-laws are happily retired from teaching at the school and have stayed in the community. The college itself is well regarded, ranking #33 on US News' lists of National Liberal Arts Colleges. It's also relatively moderate in price: tuition and other fees total $32,292. In addition to the college there is also a well-regarded school of theology, which follows the Episcopalian tradition.

I viewed this visit as a wonderful opportunity to do some serious working out every day in their well-appointed gym and then to get on the school's one squash court and do some solo practice. 

I had been on this court before and so came prepared with my squash kit. Last time I visited I had pestered my in-laws to get me a game, so they asked around and gave me the name of a professor, purported to be the best squash player on campus. I was so wound up and ready to play, however, the poor man never had a chance. This time around I thought my time would be better spent with solo work, so that's what I did. Each day went like this: 45 minutes or so working out on the weights and exercise machines and another 45 minutes on the court practicing shots, working on my backhand, and going over footwork. It was great to take the time to do all that, particularly when it is so rare to find such time in my normal life. 

The court itself is interesting. It was clearly installed by a racquetball installer, which I say because of two quirks. First, racquetball courts often have a little plexiglass compartment located in one of the back corners in which one can put keys, valuables, wallet, etc. They are never found on squash courts, however, because the back corners are way too important to put anything other than smooth wall there. But lo and behold, this court has such a compartment. Another quirk is the floor, which like many racquetball courts is oddly shellacked, making the surface slipperier than a standard squash court.

Despite the funkiness of the court, The University of the South has managed to field a squash team for College Squash Association competition, and ranked #51 last year; among club teams, it ranked #21 (of a total 32).

I was working out and playing squash right in the middle of the school day, so wasn't surprised that I didn't see any other squash players hanging around. However, on my last day, after I had finished my session and emerged from the men's locker room on the way home, I saw a female student, who couldn't have been more than about 5' tall, walking quickly towards the court with a racket that seemed about half her height. She had a big smile on her face. 

I know that look. She's got the addiction....   

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