The Growing Squash Craze

Women’s Squash World Champion, Nicol David, lunges for a return shot

Across the United States, squash is becoming increasingly popular as a sport, where only a few years ago most kids played for fun, now it is a new resume-builder for getting into a well-known college, especially amongst Ivy-league schools. Around the world, foreign players are being recruited to Ivy-league squash teams, which makes competition among Americans extremely intense. According to an article written by Nancy Keates that was published in The Wall Street Journal, “Parents, coaches and squash officials say that in the last three years, squash has become a lot more like other hyper-competitive junior sports. That is, the pressure is making a lot of people spend more money and behave in a somewhat less than refined manner,” (Keates, How Squash Got Serious).

Recently squash is becoming extremely competitive, not only among its players, but the players’ parents. Parents are becoming involved in the children’s athletic squash abilities because they know that it could be a ticket to an Ivy-league school. Parents will spend over 100 dollars a lesson for children as young as eight. Keates goes on to say, “Most players at high-level tournaments now arrive with private coaches — some of whom are former world champions who charge up to $25,000 a year per child,” (How Squash Got Serious). There is some speculation that children with wealthier parents have an unfair advantage of becoming better at squash because they can afford great coaches. Parents are even sending their kids across seas to Europe for an entire summer to build their squash-playing skills.

Ivy League College Squash

Many spectators and old-time squash players find this astonishing. One former national squash champion, Dominic Hughes, voices his opinions about the new insanity involved with squash, exclaiming: “‘It started out as a social, laid-back, fun sport. Now some kids don’t ‘play’ anymore. They take lessons and do drills, all to get into college.’” (Keates, How Squash Got Serious). Parents are seen yelling at referees, who are sometimes the children that were last on the court.

Because of this squash-craziness, the sport’s governing body issued a new code of conduct that targets people who act inappropriately during squash tournaments. According to Keates, “ U.S. Squash CEO Kevin Klipstein said the organization has to send out several reprimand letters every week now,” (How Squash Got Serious). For more information on the accelerating competition among American squash players, read Nancy Keates’ article here.

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