Sunday, October 25, 2009

Calgary Open

In the end, Matt Giuffre took the men's title 3 games to 0 against Calgary's own Graeme Schnell. The pace of the game was compelling and both players were moving with incredible speed and hitting the ball with a marksman's precision. After the match, Matt represented Edmonton extremely well, giving accolades to the tourament organizers and showed the squash community in Calgary how to be a professional. Players everywhere can stand to take a lesson from Matt in being an ambassador for squash and being a role model for many up and coming players.

In the ladies final, Club favorite Kelsey Souchereau finished a close second, losing a very physical and heated match 2-3. Kelsey showed grace and character during the match, asking for a let for her opponent, when the crowd appeared to harass her. The pro from the Calgary Winter Club showed less than a favourable attitude, staring down patrons in the crowd and yelling words of intimidation when cheers for Kelsey abounded. Tough loss Kelsey.

I can see why the sport of squash hasn't taken off and become mainstream. Today I saw a junior lose in the C or B division to a university student, who only started playing a couple years ago. After the junior lost in 5, he cried and his dad (or uncle) accused his opponent of being a cheater. The dad then went and berrated the official. Needless to say, that this junior was from the Calgary Winter Club. Please don't get me wrong, I think that the Calgary Winter Club has an amazing program for up and coming players, but should perhaps foster a little humility and encourage sportsmanship, but if their prime role models act that way on court, it's a shame but they too will learn to play like that. On the bright side, players coached by Jon Hill at the World Health Club and Glenn Stark formerly from Glencoe did truly impress me with there demeanors on court, it is obvious that these coaches, although very competitve, enstilled values above winning to their players.

My biggest contention is that mainstream sports including hockey, soccer and now even golf and ultimate fighting have attracted huge followings. I guarantee we will see ultimate fighting in the Olympic games before we see squash if the attitude of squash professionals and tournament organizers doesn't change. The geologists tournament oversells there attendance cap every year, why? because the emphasis is on enjoying the sport of squash in a fun and exciting atmosphere, where cheering is encouraged and players don't take them self too seriously. The UofC charity open is also becoming another popular tournament for high end players to showcase there talent for loud and boisterous crowds carrying signs and noise makers.

Here's my point, if the world squash federation ever wants to see squash in the Olympic Games, there needs to be an emphasis on promoting squash among the masses as a fun and enjoyable sport that everyone can play. To date, the federation has does very little to get people who don't play squash to even be interested. It isn't enough to promote to the fuddy duddies who already play. Instead, attitudes need to change, players need to encourage the sport among their friends who don't play, get them to come out and cheer for them, loudly and draw in crowds. Sports where the crowd can cheer and get excited for there favorite players seem to develop a greater following than sports where athletes are prima donnas and spectators are forced to remain silent.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.