Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What To Do on the Eve of the Decision?

The IOC decision will be made on Sunday, September 8. 

Squash remains the underdog, with wrestling being the betting-man's choice for re-inclusion. I think squash will come in second place, with soft/hardball not having any chance whatsover. However, no one knows how the IOC will vote. Although soft/hardball has a lot arguing against it, there is a lot of advertising money backing up the sport, so the sport may be brought back into the Olympic fold in a cynical grab for ad revenue. Wrestling has done some work making their sport better, but have they really done enough? And would it make the IOC look silly to throw them out and then readmit them in the space of just a few months?

We in squash know how appropriate the sport would be to the Olympic ideals, but who says those ideals are governing the Olympics anymore?  And yet, who knows, the bid process may have changed the opinions of just enough of the voting IOC members that the sport may possibly squeak through. It is possible, and on that hope I choose to remain optimistic. 

As it so happens, on the very eve of this momentous decision a great squash event will take place. On September 7 John Nimick's Squash Engine, the group that is responsible for the wonderful Tournament of Champions in NYC, will put on their 4th "Showdown at Symphony," at Boston's Symphony Hall. Details about the event are here.  The "Showdown" pits two top Egyptians against two top Brits: Amr Shabana and Mohamed Elshorbagy, versus James Wilstrop and Nick Matthew. 

In this one-night playoff, matches are to 2 games, with a 1- or 3-point tiebreaker played if the games are knotted at 1-all. It is a fun night, but the fact that the next day will be such an important one in the world of squash will make the atmosphere positively electric. Definitely worth attending if at all possible....

The IOC Better Choose Carefully: Part Deux

If they don't do the right thing, the dog is toast. Capiche?

Monday, August 26, 2013

The IOC Better Choose Carefully: Part I

Olympic decision time is nearly here, and it seems that prayerful meditation has achieved some promising results: 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Achieving Quiet

I have not been blogging much lately because, fact is, this has been a phenomenally bad summer for The Squashist. I have not been able to play much at all, spending most of my time in a perpetual Groundhog Day of rehabbing. Not playing has kept me away from writing about squash, since to do so would put me in a bad mood, since I can't play!

I had been playing last spring for some months with a balky knee, and as a result didn't try to make heroic gets. I played less often and spent more time rehabbing in the gym with light exercises. I thought my knee would gradually get better, but that turned out to be a very misguided notion. One day, wouldn't you know it, I planted my foot to turn and something gave. I felt a sharp pain and got off the court immediately. 

It turns out that I had a small posterior meniscal tear and a traumatic bone bruise. I went to my orthopedist and we decided to see if rehabbing it would work. I went to my PT, got some rehab advice from him, and that has been what I've been doing. We had set a date for mid-August for me to go back to the ortho for another look, hoping that I might be ready to play. But the knee, while considerably better, does not feel completely okay, so we have set another date, in mid-September, to check the knee again. If not better by then I will go ahead and get it arthroscoped; I probably should have done that 3 months ago. 

All this has transpired at a time when the company where I work is undergoing severe financial strain, and as a result a few people had to be cut and salaries were reduced across the board. As the editorial director, this causes all types of personnel problems for me, not counting the obvious economic impact of my own reduced salary. 

I was thinking about this rotten summer I've been having today, because in the old days, back when I had a good knee, I used to love escaping from daily woes by going to the squash club and playing almost 3 hours of singles squash, then maybe getting together a doubles game, then going to the gym for a half hour weights session, and then finally getting in the steam room and boiling myself silly. The result from all that activity was a wonderful sense of mental quiet, a quiet that those who meditate seek to attain but that I never have. The only way I have ever achieved mental calm -- no internal dialogues, no replaying of interactions with others during the day, no arguments replayed in one's mental cinema -- is through the physical morphine of squash. 

I need a dose. Fast.