Often when one hears of a squash club, the most frequent questions asked are, “Do you sit around and eat squash?” or, “Do you meet and swap recipes on how to cook different types of squash?” Although these are interesting suggestions for a postgame snack—butternut squash soup with a grilled cheese sandwich—I jump at the opportunity and secretly take great pride in the invitation to give my research-based presentation on squash, the game that stole my heart.
Normally, I explain squash as being tennis in a room, a fast-paced sport that gives an adrenaline rush like no other. As presented by Squash Canada, squash is a racquet sport played in an enclosed room that challenges two players (or, in the case of doubles, four players) mentally and physically in strength, strategy, skill, and endurance. The objective is that players take turns hitting a ball against the front wall, allowing that ball to bounce once on the floor within the restricted area of play—above the tin and below the outermost lines, where the ball may strike the side or back walls at any time.
In keeping with the principles of squash, the UTM and UTSG squash clubs fully embrace promoting a space for interested U of T staff, faculty, and students to learn and compete in squash. Both clubs’ purpose is to provide an alternative environment for people who are looking for more comfortable and casual approaches to playing squash.
During St. George’s Clubs’ Week this past fall, I had the privilege of meeting Hinny Lam (president) and Aadil Randeree (VP) of UTSG’s Squash Club. Soon, emails began back and forth between Lam and me as we worked with our teams to arrange a collaboration tournament by the end of the term.
Last fall, the UTM and UTSG squash players met for the first time to play in a friendly intercampus tournament. Players of various skill levels came together to represent their campus and compete. The night ended with the tournament hosting some 20 players, resulting in Alicia Jarosz of UTSG winning the women’s category, Ashfaq Butt of UTM winning the men’s category, and each receiving a Sport Chek gift card.
“The number of times I’ve been told that people were thankful for the event was incredibly impressive,” said Lam.
With the positive feedback and the number of requests for another tournament, both clubs’ executives went back to the drawing board to have a second intercampus tournament.
On February 26, UTM Squash Club members travelled downtown once again to meet UTSG Squash Club members to have a fun-filled night of squash while competing. This time, the tournament ran much more smoothly, with more players and concluding with new friendships. Returning champion Jarosz won in the women’s category again, while new victor Sultan Akif of UTM won in the men’s category.
“Next year, I would like to have more women come out to the Squash Club and participate in this tournament [and other competitive activities],” said Samira Salim, VP of the UTM Squash Club.
This is one wish of both leaving presidents and organizers of the intercampus tournament—to have more players, especially women, come out to learn and compete in squash.
Disclosure: The author of this article is president of the UTM Squash Club.
This article has been corrected from the print edition. In the online version, the second half had been replaced with text from another article.