Wednesday, June 5, 2013

US Squash Wants a Big Final Push

There has been much commentary lately about the chances for squash to finally get into the Olympics, and the commentary seems to boil down to this: Wrestling stands in the way.

But there is no doubt that this time the squash bid to the IOC is a good one, and that getting the sport into the Olympics would make a great difference in terms of worldwide funding for the sport. It means a lot on multiple levels, including for the fans, the elite players themselves, the squash associations around the world, and the Olympic experience. Although wrestling does indeed stand in the way, squash still might be able to pull it off.

Kevin Klipstein, CEO of US Squash, released this video in which he explains the current situation and asks for personal and club involvement to raise the additional funds necessary to make one final big push. I agree with everything he says, and have been impressed during this campaign with US Squash's dedication to pursuing the Olympic dream:

I plan on shelling something out for the cause, and I hope you do too.

I do notice that Kevin looks like such a nice guy in this video, but I actually played squash with this very same man a week or so ago and I can assure you he is not a very nice fellow on the court. He showed not a bit of mercy, which is a fundamental quality of an advanced soul.

As it so happens, I also played squash recently with Bill "Buck-Wild" Buckingham, US Squash's Director of Member Services, who much like his boss Kevin appears to be a nice sort, but give him a racket and all bets are off. He played very well though, upping his game to the point where your reporter was forced to resort to spasmodic lurchings about the court to squeeze out a win. Buckingham seemed to have it out for me.... I have to watch that guy....

And one more member of US Squash I'd like to mention.... Peter Lasusa. Peter and I go way back, back to Columbia, where we both attended college, and even further, as we both knew one another through intersecting personal friendships back in high school. Peter is a very successful businessman who became Board Chair of US Squash. That type of volunteerism is nothing new to Peter, who has been active in a range of causes over the years, including doing work in support of squash at Columbia as well as the University Club of New York. Peter proved so adept at his position at US Squash that they kept him on for a few additional years. His tenure has been an active one, and his counsel has been wise indeed, and is something that Kevin Klipstein and the rest of the US Squash crew will without doubt miss.

Peter and I used to have an active singles squash rivalry, and to this day Peter claims he bested me by at least a few percentage points over the full span of the years. I of course think he is delusional. The important thing is, he can't prove it! Peter then became obsessed with the doubles game, becoming a very good left-wall player, and on that score he did indeed prove too much for the Squashist.

Peter will be leaving US Squash as his tenure, extended though it was, is now up. I can only say to Peter, thanks, from the US Squash community, for an exceptional job. And if you'd like me to beat you in singles, give me a ring.