From time to time there erupts on the squash scene much ado from doom-and-gloomers who are convinced that squash is dying a slow death in the US. They point to court closings (an unassailable fact in cities, alas) and bemoan the old days when clubs abounded. Their conclusion: the sport is doomed.
But my own experience argues against that. I see a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of players.
So I was interested when the PST's e-zine noted that the Sporting Goods Manufacturer's Association had found a significant uptick in squash participation.
This was a professional, accurate analysis, with a total of 38,172 completed surveys. They found more than 1.1 million US residents had played squash during the previous year (2011), with about 400,000 of these being more frequent, 'core' participants. Most -- 64% -- of these core squashists fell between the ages of 25 to 44, putting a lie to those who say the sport falls off after college.
The findings show a nearly 40% jump in some squash participation between 2009 and 2011, demonstrating that increasing numbers of folks out there are interested and giving squash a try.
Which is an important point: Whenever I meet someone interested in trying out the game, I always get them on the court and give them an introductory lesson. I make it a point to use the easier beginner balls, and anyone who is a true squashist should do the same: get them out on the court and have a few beginner balls handy.
The true squashist is a squash evangelist who not only loves the game but makes it a point to transfer his or her own enthusiasm for the game to others.