Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Chris Gordon Rocks the NA Open

Chris "Flash" Gordon played a monumental match tonight at the North American Open, succumbing in 5 games to Tarek Momen, PSA world #11, a talented front-court player who seems destined for top-10 status. The key game was the 4th, which went well into overtime, with Gordon forcing a 5th decider with a final score of 21-19. But Gordon, who had battled through tough qualifying matches to get into the main draw, finally ran out of steam in the 5th.

Gordon happens to play at Cityview, where I play, and which might well be the best squash club in New York City. As I've noted before, I often play very early. One day earlier this month, there I was, ready to go at 6:30 AM, hopping on court to play Bill Buckingham, the dashing bon vivant who has become the sine qua non over at US Squash. 

Bill, ever observant, despite the hour, noticed that the other court was active, and discovered that on the court was Chris Gordon, already a half hour into an intense solo drill routine. 

That's right, he'd been there since 6 am, working his ass off, alternating between court drills and stepping outside to stretch and do workout routines. 

Kids, that's what it takes to take the world #11 to the very edge. There is a lot of dedication in that guy, no mistake.

I was so energized by Gordon's example of athleticism that I smoked old Bill Buckingham, not giving him a game. It was very unkind of me. Sorry Bill.

Chris Gordon played a great match tonight. He proved he does indeed deserve to play on the all-glass court. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The IOC Is Like Your Crazy Uncle

I don't think too many people would have predicted that wrestling would be yanked from the Olympics program, but there it was, an announcement that the esteemed International Olympics Committee had met and, bucking all educated guesses on the subject, kicked out wrestling from the family. 

When they meet are they all drinking heavily, smoking pot, high on acid?!

It's decisions like these that make guessing whether squash has a good chance to be voted in come September pretty much an exercise in futility. 

No one knows what those crazy cats are going to do. And any decision that they might make will come as no big surprise to me. 


They're crazy. My advice: Don't look them in the eye, or they'll get really crazy. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The International Sophisticate Known as the Squashist

My last, incomprehensible-to-all-but-a-few blog reminded me of a funny event that actually happened last November. 

As part of my job I was attending a rheumatology conference, and about half the attendees at this particular meeting tend to be international. We had a booth set up and were handing out free copies of our rheumatology publication, and at the time I was manning the booth, engaging in small talk as people came by to grab a copy. In the booth with me was one of the owners of the company where I work. 

A crowd of rheumatologists makes its way to our booth. First up were three animated French physicians, which I knew right away because the nametags showed both names and hometowns. We exchanged a few pleasantries in French. At one point I had lived in France for about 4 months, though I was told more than once at the time that I sounded like I was from Quebec, which I took as mild criticism. But it made the visiting rheumatologists happy to hear their own language, however inelegantly expressed.

A few Americans wandered by, and then, lo and behold, visitors from Lund, Sweden approach. I couldn't let an opportunity like this go by, so spoke to them in their native tongue, trying my best to get the 'sju' sound correct, which is very hard to do for English speakers. But they were happy at my attempt, and walked away all smiles. 

The owner, watching in the booth, said, "Wow, that's impressive. Who knew you had all these hidden talents!", and then got back to what he was doing, which was going over financial numbers.

Then, lo and behold, two Egyptian physicians come by, both women. Well, I can't speak their language, but I thought we could certainly talk squash! "Hello, doctors, I see you are from Cairo, home of the greatest squash players on the planet!"

"Ah yes, squash," one of the women said. There was something about her face that looked upset, like she had just tasted something that was surprisingly bitter. "You know, squash was played and supported by Mubarak, and it would be difficult indeed to find anyone in Cairo who loves that man." Her friend nodded enthusiastically. "And so we hate squash!" She kind of half-smiled, grabbed a copy of our publication, and moved off. 

"Oh great, nice going," said the owner in the booth. "Now you went and pissed them off!"

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Finalen i Sverige

Jag tittade idag finalen av tävlingen Case Asset Management Swedish Open, mellan engelsman Nick Matthew and fransman Gregory Gaultier. Jag tittade 'live' Squash TV.

I det första spelet började Gaultier snabbt och Matthew verkade nervös. Men de nästa två spelen var fantastisk. Båda spelarna är kända för att vara i fin form, och båda sprang runt squashbana mycket snabbt. Det fanns två bra spelen, men Gaultier lyckades vinna båda.... 

Mycket bra squash.  Bättre än min svenska....