The eighteenth-annual World Squash Day on October 12 will celebrated in style at the 2019 FS Investments U.S. Open Squash Championships. The theme of this year’s World Squash Day is The Big Hit: an attempt to get as many people as possible to play squash on the 12th.
US Squash will be facilitating thousands of people in that effort. The finals of the men’s and women’s draws at the U.S. Open and the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame luncheon and induction ceremony will be the centerpieces of an exciting day at Drexel’s Daskalaskis Athletic Center. Downstairs on the Kline & Specter Courts, the 2019 U.S. Skills Levels Championship will be in full swing.
In addition, the U.S. will bristle with competitive squash play: there are junior tournaments scheduled in Greenwich, CT, Baltimore, MD, Whippany, NJ and San Francisco, CA; and a professional women’s doubles tournament, the NBCC LA Open in Los Angeles.
The Big Hit hopes to encourage clubs to offer introductory sessions and then to follow up with mentoring sessions to make newcomers feel welcome and keen to come back for more. World Squash Day hopes that the Big Hit will help the game reach a new target of attracting one million new players to the sport before 2030.
The U.S. Open is also promoting watch parties. Around the world, clubs are encouraged to host clinics and exhibitions wrapped around tuning into the Open finals on SquashTV.
“After the disappointment of having squash denied a place in the Olympics, it’s time we changed the negative narrative and started talking up all the wonderful, positive things that make our sport so special,” said WSD founder Alan Thatcher.
“Squash is the fastest growing sport in America, which is now the biggest nation for participation with around 1.5 million active players. Squash is the ideal athletic endeavor for the time-conscious modern lifestyle. In forty minutes on court you will enjoy a huge, high-intensity work-out, with full cardiovascular benefits.
“You will burn close to 1,000 calories and the endorphins released into your bloodstream will give you that perfect, healthy high. Squash is also great fun, a physical and mental challenge with a group of opponents who will quite likely end up as friends for life.”
WSD was originally launched in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks in the U.S. Many squash players died in the attacks. One notable casualty was Derek Sword, an avid 29-year-old squash player from Scotland who played at the New York Athletic Club. He worked as an equity sales analyst on the 89th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. He had just gotten engaged ten days before the attacks.
To honor Sword, a group of New York and British friends hosted a memorial match in London in January 2002 which led to the creation of World Squash Day.
Each year since 2002, WSD events have taken place across the globe—exhibitions, clinics, publicity stunts, tournaments—that expose the game to new people and sustain and deepen a love of the game for those already involved.
“The early years involved matches in New York, London and Edinburgh,” said Thatcher. “Among the supporters were Peter Nicol and Martin Heath, who were junior team-mates of Derek’s back home in Scotland. Both played in some very special events during those early years, and it is great to see them having such an impact with their coaching in North America. Fittingly, Peter is involved in a new squash project in Manhattan and I hope they will be doing something special for World Squash Day.”
Special WSD T-shirts are available in North America from Squash Republic here.
Article first published by US Squash here