SquashTalk>Features>Global
Gallery
>June 2001 Global Gallery
>Who
is Martin Bronstein?
>Read
the past Global Gallery Columns

SquashTalk Opinion

Global Gallery
The Spin (Beck)
Rob Dinerman
Team Kneipp
Walker’s Notebook
Sarah Fitz-Gerald

Clios
Corner
(Zug)
Guest Columns
Letters to Editor

What’s New
News Index
Features Index
Web Links
E-boast Newsletter
   (sign
up now free)

Aging
Stars:
Life Begins at 30…

GLOBAL GALLERY JUNE 2001 Martin
Bronstein’s astigmatic view of the world of squash.

© 2001 All rights reserved.
photos © 2001, D Tessier, R Beck and V Winchell


LIFE BEGINS AT 30.
From now on I’m going to call this year’s British Open the Over Thirties Open.
Let’s consider the facts: Sarah Fitz-Gerald wins her first British Open, she’s
32 years old. Chris Walker gets to his first ever-British Open final two days
before his 34th birthday.

Del
Harris knocks out world number one Jonathon Power at the age of 31. Stephen
Meads, 32, pushed Power to five games in the first round and Mark Cairns 33,
kept Peter Nicol on court for 72 minutes in their first round match. Then
there was Liz Irving, well into her 30’s knocking out her pupil Vanessa Atkinson
in the first round. Astonishing performances, all of them.

STATISTICS
There’s this company called Horizon Software who are deep into squash;
any software that you care to describe that can be used anywhere in squash,
Horizon have done it.

The
‘live’ scoreboard on the web during the Open was theirs; the huge scoreboard
at the National Indoor Arena was their creation (and now being used in all
major UK tournaments).

So
I was sort of flattered when Horizon’s Adrian Battersby came up to the press
room and said ‘Right, we can put up eight statistics, what do you suggest?’
So, with almost no forethought I rattled off: forehand winners, backhand winner,
lets requested, lets awarded, strokes, unforced errors, hit tin, out of court.
Fine, he said. Ten minutes later the men’s final started and between games,
lo and behold, these statistics were being flashed up on the screen.

The
only drawback was that ‘hit tin’ and ‘out of court’ did not tally to the unforced
errors. I had seen those two statistics as a sub-set of unforced errors, but
the caller was counting every shot that hit the tin. There was also lot of
discussion afterwards about the unforced errors statistic: who was to say
which was forced and which was unforced ? Easy, I said. An unforced error
is when a player has full access to the ball and the time to play a shot of
his/her choice, but muffs it. Well, responded somebody sniffily, that’s your
opinion.

COMPETITION
NUMBER ONE.

In not more than 25 words, define an unforced error. (“When a dude screws
up big time” is not the sort of thing I’m looking for). The winner to
receive a copy of Peter Marshall’s autobiography, Shattered.

COMPETITION
NUMBER TWO.

We have decided to get rid of the Hit tin and Out Of Court statistics in favour
of Outright Winners (Kills) and one other. What do you think the eighth stat
should be and why.? A suitable prize for the best entry. (Email
entries to Global Gallery @
Squashtalk.com
) Here are the stats for the two British Open finals.

WALKER PALMER
FITZ-
GERALD
OWENS
16
15
Forehand
Winners
15
7
8
17
Backhand
Winners
14
6
33
9
Lets
Requested
12
9
20
8
Lets
Awarded
11
8
2
4
Strokes
2
1
23
18
Unforced
Errors
11
5

WHAT’S
A FEW THOUSAND MILES BETWEEN FRIENDS

The Horizon tournament software is so sophisticated now that as soon a name
is entered, up comes a player’s picture and national flag. English players
were identified in the draw by their county rather than country. The computer
recognised this quirk and would put up (ENG) instead.


Except when the county of Kent came up and then the computer, taking the three
first letters, immediately put up the national flag of Kenya. Some of those
players were not amused to have their Brit nationality taken away in such
a cavalier manner.

The
BOTTOM LINE

As old as I am, I was still totally flabbergasted at the way the British press
reacted to pictures of Vicky Botwright wearing a thong. There was a journalistic
feeding frenzy and Stephen Line’s photos, handled by a photo agency, were
used by almost every national newspaper.


Normally intelligent radio and tv stations were falling over themselves to
interview her and when I got back to London friends who wouldn’t know a squash
racquet from a frying pan were asking about “the thong”.

Within
hours of my mentioning this nudity on Squashtalk, a man from Chicago had emailed
me pleading for information as to what web sites he could see the glamorous
glutes. And then a guy sitting next to me told me that Miss Botwright’s body
was already on his PC as a screensaver. Miss Botwright was quite unfazed,
not realising that some wannabes would give their right thingummy to get that
much free publicity.

We
don’t know how much Line made from the photographs – someone suggested around
$10,000. As for Vicky herself, the last I heard was that a shrewd agent had
arranged a photo shoot for her with the Daily Mirror who were going to give
her £5,000 (£7,500) for the privilege, far more than she has ever earned as
a squash player. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry or write to Dear Abby.
It’s

JUST
A WEE BORDER, LADDY

The furore over Peter Nicol’s switch to England still goes on. I spoke to
one Scotsman who told me that when Nicol announced his switch – not defection
– and his reasons, most Scots said ‘Ok fine, if that’s what you have to do
professionally, go ahead,’ with no rancour.

But
when he appeared on a television program draped in an England flag, pushing
nationalism right into their faces, that was when Scotland rose up against
him. The Scottish SRA took a poll among its members on whether they should
allow Nicol to plays for England in next year’s Commonwealth Games and the
result was a resounding NO!

I
find the whole flag, waving, jingoistic nationalism very unpalatable, but
sadly a part of international sport. The Olympic Games have been hijacked;
the medals tally by country is a miserable abuse of a movement that was meant
to be athlete against athlete, not country against country. Soccer is full
of mixed nationality teams and fans accept the foreign players without thought.
Nobody accuses them of being traitors to their country.

The
fact is, playing for one’s country is a very small part of professional squash…it
may come up once a year. The true focus of a professional squash player is
on his individual performance and progress in the sport. Nicol did not change
countries for nationalistic purposes but to further his career as an individual.
There are many astute observers who feel that Nicol’s mixed performances over
the last three months are due to the mental stresses of his decision. That
is very sad.

NOT
MY HOUSE
You may have read about a new house being built in Surrey, England that has
30 bedrooms, 30 toilets, 20 bathrooms, a banqueting hall, a 28 seat cinema
and squash courts. It is called Updown Court giving the impression that it
is the future home of a squash person, and with a name like Updown Court,
a squash referee.


This is not true and, as I live in Surrey, some of you may assume it is mine.
On my earnings as a squash writer, I couldn’t even afford to pay for the toilet
seats. They say it is being built for the Crown Prince of Dubai. I wonder
if he needs a mature squash coach?

COLLEGE USA
Schedules
Team previews

DEPARTMENTS
Latest news
Tournament Calendar
Bronstein
Global Gallery

Player of the month
Videos
History
Pakistan Squash

School
Squash

Camp Index

Features Index

Player Profiles
Worldwide Clubs
Worldwide Links

Rankings
Jobs




More Good stuff:
About Squash
   
Just
starting

Books
Juniors Squash

Women’s Squash
Regional Reports