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January
’08 Global Gallery

…Glass Floors
… Magic Magnets … Strange English
… Marathon Men … more

Global Gallery,
Jan 5th, 2008

The Monthly Round-up of the Interesting and
Inane of Squash this month from
Martin Bronstein, dean of the Squash Press

© 2008 All
rights reserved.
all photos© 2008, Debra Tessier and Fritz Borchert

ANOTHER
YEAR, ANOTHER HALF-A-DOLLAR

Happy
New Year to one and all, friends and foes alike.  To
my friends because they make my life so enjoyable and to my foes for
making it so interesting.  And to all Squashtalk readers who continue
to make this website the major source of squash news from around the
world

NOW
THE UK CAN COMPETE WITH HARVARD, PRINCETON, YALE….

I
was speaking to Alan Thatcher, the man who has his finger in more squash
pies than even Paul Walters (we’ll come to HIM later). He
tells me a friend of his has planning permission to build a new squash
facility in Kent, not far from the white cliffs of Dover.

This
club will have 16 courts, including three permanent 4-wall glass courts
and one doubles court. It will be not just the biggest in the UK, it
means that  England, the home and birthplace of squash, will
now have a facility to rival that of  Harvard or Princeton or
Yale or Bodoin, or any university or prep school in the USA.

It
will mean that there will finally be a permanent facility that can
host major, world-class squash tournaments. Now, all we have to do
is find a bunch of sponsors to fund such a tournament.

GLASS
FLOORS….YES, NO OR MAYBE?

My
squash spy, Deep Split Throat, has told me that the PSA is circulating
a questionnaire to all PSA promoters which will be tabulated at the
Tournament of Champions next week in New York City.  This momentous
occasion will decide whether PSA will endorse the glass floor, which
almost ruined the World Open in Bermuda, let
each individual promoter decide whether to use it or not, or ban the
thing entirely.

You
can be sure that the ASB people, who came up with the idea (?) will
be in New York lobbying for its use.  It certainly won’t be
in use in New York although it is said that the Naval Academy has booked
the court for the College individual championships in Annapolis.

I
shall be in New York for  all the Tournament of Champions action,
so will be keeping an ear close to the  (wooden) floor to report
on the results of the vote.

IS LAUGHTER GOOD FOR YOUR SQUASH?

If
you value your ribcage, do not play squash with Andrew Shelley, chief
WISPA honcho. His belief is two jokes to every shot and if you are not
sore from laughing within minutes of getting on the court with him, you
have probably spent too much time listening to Pat Robertson – or
is it Oral Roberts?

I
have a counterweapon to Shelley – hitting the ball through my
legs or behind my back. He finds this so incredibly funny that his legs
collapse  until he is a pool of laughter on the floor.  I usually
win the next three points.

In the latest WISPA bulletin Shelley writes:

“2007
has seen me continuing with many subtle improvements to my game.
I continue to win all the knock-ups; which is important as I continue
to lose all the matches which follow them. Overall though, my standard
has improved during the year. For example, after several months of
dedicated practice I have mastered the technique of wiping the palm
of my hand against the backwall with real aplomb. If I ever start
playing the Tour I should be able to smear the glass rather well.

"I
am also very accomplished at developing a pained expression and a
slight limp in the changing room before playing; but waving it away
as a problem. 

"For
2008 there are several tweaks I plan to add to my game as I move
step by step towards greatness. I will begin to call my drop shots
down even before I have hit them as it will save time after the rallies.

"Finally,
I will perfect what I already do quite well i.e. keep my opponents
stuck firmly on the Tee.”

Like I said, a funny man.

…AND
NOW MEDICAL EXPERT

Paul
Walters, having conquered the world of squash equipment, squash promotion,
player management, magazine publishing. Tournament organizing and PSA
manipulation, now turns his talents to snake oil. Sorry that should
be  sport fitness. Through his I-thisthatandtheother company,
he is now pushing the Trion Z. Read his breathtaking press release:

The
World’s #1 Ionic/Magnetic Sports Fitness & Therapy
Bracelet

Trion:Z – Worn by Top Squash Pro’s

Trion:Z products are endorsed by David Campion and Sarah
Fitz-Gerald
and are worn, without remuneration by
hundreds of professional athletes worldwide
on the courts,
fields, and tracks of Tennis, Basketball, Football, Cricket, Squash,
Baseball, Volleyball, Racing and Action Sports and over 250 Pros on
the PGA TOUR, LPGA Tour, European Tour and Champions Tour.

Now
as somebody who has fallen for this magnetic pitch in the past, (buying
small magnets and sticking them on my back to help with lower back
pain), I can tell you it is pure baloney. Having done some research
on these magic magnetic belts, bracelets necklaces and such, there has
never been any credible evidence produced to justify the claims in the
above copy. But of course, by the time you have found this out, you’ve
already parted with your cash.

“Endorsed by David Campion and Sarah Fitz-Gerald.”  Campion
was a very promising junior in England before injuries stopped his progress.
The wearing of the Trion Z has obviously not restored his health. Sarah
Fitz-Gerald is Walters’ fiancée who, poor woman,  gets
roped in to every one of Walters’ projects.   When Walters
started producing the England Badminton magazine, who was the first big
profile of? Why, Sarah Fitz-Gerald of course.  What the badminton
aficionados made of a squash player being profiled in badminton magazine,
gawd only knows.

If you really have money to spare, send me $100 and I shall send you
a copper bracelet. People who sell these make exactly the same claims.

ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY TWO MINUTES OF CONTINUOUS ACTION

Did you notice the score line of one of the semi-finals in the Club
Sportif Cote de Liesse Squash Open in Montreal ?
  Here
it is:

3]
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) bt [2] Daryl Selby (ENG)   11-8,
11-8, 3-11, 11-10 (2-0) (132m).

That’s right  132 minutes, two hours and 12 minutes. We
thought those matches went out with  Hunt and Barrington, but
when you get two young very fit  players trying to improve their
ranking, anything can happen. I spoke to Daryl Selby in Bermuda and he
told me that he got a bad decision at the end of the fourth. Had he got
the stroke he felt he deserved, he would have won the game and they would
have had to play the fifth game!

So
if four games took 132 minutes, that’s
an average of 33 minutes per game, with the two minute intermission,
the match could have lasted for 167 minutes, which would certainly have
beaten the existing world record. I reckon Gawain Briars of PSA must
have been pulling out what little hair he has left because the reason
they reduced scoring from 15points to 11 was to ensure that matches would
be finished inside the hour, and so keep the one-eyed monster happy.

The next day Rodriguez faced Shahier Razik in the final. He lost but
the scoreline shows how close the four games were:

Shahier Razik (CAN) bt [3] Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 11-3, 10-11
(0-2), 11-10 (3-1), 11-10 (2-0) (107m)
 

Three
of the four games went to a tie-break and poor old Rodriguez was kept
on court for another 107minutes.  And this is why even the
top players do not relish the prospect of playing this tough South American.
He chases, and usually gets, everything. In February  2005 he was
ranked 299 in the world.  A year later he  had jumped up  229
places to seventy. Last January he was up to 50 and in the new rankings
for January 2007  he is at number 30.   Worth watching
in the coming year.

IF THIS IS ENGLISH THEN WHAT DO I SPEAK?

I’ve left this bit until last. It is sort of longish, but I felt
we should print it all just so that you got the full flavour of the gibberish.
My point is not to make fun of the writer, but to lament the carelessness
of putting out a press release  that is simply incomprehensible.
Surely, somebody at the Italian Squash Federation (FIGS) knows a native
English speaker who could read through and put them right. If, when you
have finished reading this, you can explain “an imperdible situation” I
would be most grateful.

Herewith
the FIGS press release:

"At
the attention of sport writing

"Below
the official notice prints of the Open “Città d’Italia
of Riccione” men and women.
 

"In
attach the picture of Manuela Manetta actual number one woman in
Italy n° 25 WISPA ranking, and the other Simone Rocca e Marcus
Berrett at the last open Città d’Italia of Milan
.

——————- official notice prints —————————

"Open “Città d’Italia
di Riccione” men and women board.

"15-16
of December in Riccione the “2° Trophy Città d’Italia
of  Riccione” category Open man and woman, within the prestigious
FIGS National center the one that hosted in May 30th European Teams
Championship.
 

"The
Top 40’s Italian squash player in the two category
men and women, they will be competing in the next week for the 3.000 € Prize,
leathers organizer from prestigious Italian fashion brand “Piquadro” and
for the always aspired Mont Blanc Pens, and for the tons of gadget
always given in Riccione.

"To
participate and reach a good position in this tournament is fundamental,
for Italian Squash Players, because is just from the score  collected
in this circuit that is possible to get admitted at  the board
for the Italian Squash Title, that this year additionally to the
prestige has also a money price of 31.000 €.

"The
circuit  “città d’Italia” Open
are 6 appointments during the season, this one of Riccione is the third
of this agonistic season, the first two have been won by the well known
champion Marcus Berrett at the moment number one of Italian ranking,
ahead of the Scottish Chris Small and the Italian actual Champion Simone
Rocca.

"Riccione
Squash thanks to the help of the sponsors,
Olivero.it and Punto stile of Riccione, it has succeeded in organizing
this prestigious tournament.

"Italy
squash movements is growing fast in the last few years, the income
(giune 2007) of the Italian Federation of Squash (FIGS) into the
board of directors of the most important and only government sport
organization the CONI (Comitato Olimpico Nazionale Italiano) is the
cornerstone for the Italian agonistic squash improvement. So this
is an imperdibile occasion for onlookers and squash passionate to
appreciate the best Italian athletes in this discipline, and obviously  to
go in Italy for Christmas shopping."

My
dear friends at FIGS. Next time, call the British Embassy…call
the American Embassy, call the Norwegian Embassy, they all speak good
English. Pick up any English speaking tourist off the street, even if
he/she is dead drunk, they will help you to sort out what you want to
say.

I was actually tempted to re-write the above in good English and send
it to them, but I honestly could not fathom what they were trying to
say.

Agonistic? Whaaaa?   (It
means athletic. I bet you didn’t know that unless you studied
Greeek.)


That’s all for January …