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March 15, 2004

Victoria Squash Tournament

Took in a good three hours (spectating only) of what I assume was the city’s top Squash action on Saturday, the finals of the 2004 Victoria City Squash Tourney at the Vic Squash Club, 1811 Cook St..

From outside, the club looks like a small Martinizer shop, or say under-funded urban unemployment office. Yet this like 10-foot-wide façade hides a narrow hallway postered with your Can. National and World squash stars and your community newspaper clippings. Pass a little weight room, another hallway, then hey! five courts (three glass-backed) some mini three-tiered benches to sit/stand on and watch (at first) a bunch of my-level middle-aged beer-gut-toting men sweat it up. And (the big men) finish a game and sit down and have a beer. Little kids running around, sweaty men in white headbands, hairy legs bulging out of calf-socks, taking back cans of Kokanee. This wasn’t no road bike race.

And I and they are all thinking: who’s this guy (me)? Someone public? The guy at the front desk was eyebrows and shoulders shrugging when I asked to watch and wasn’t a friend/family/sig.other of a competitor/member. I mean, everyone friendly enough, just a real family atmosphere. And so felt a bit party-crashing, esp. when two friends I play with came to check out the afternoon finals with me.

By this time we’re (us three outsiders) really into the matches: a 13-year-old-looking girl is just walking all over this 40-year-old lady (yells coming from the crowd Go Mom! to no avail), smacking the lengths pretty good (the 13er girl), got the control on the boast recoveries, no emotion. I could still take her. Another female battle on one of the enclosed courts, where I mentally cringe, salute and empathize over the edge of the back line between a pretty fit styling girl my age and her early-mid-age rival in androgynous haircut, big poofy orange/blue shorts, coke-bottle eyeware, also pretty cool-looking in a Royal Tenenbaumish but more sincere way. I could take both of them, though.

Good thing I stuck around a bit longer to get totally demoralized/inspired by the real top players. I mean we were probably taking in the C (lowest at this tourney) players so far. So like this second batch of maybe 10 players had better be the As because you can smell rubber burning as they just ker-smack the double yellows in clean cut drives, lobs that stop flat at the back nick, boasts feather close to the tin. All over the court in battle, unforced errors few and far. And this is the women A.

And then the young top men. Not blow-out-of-the-water good, but I certainly will have to play a few hundred more games to be anywhere near that level. Oh, except for this Columbian kid, the tourney champ for 2004, apparently training in Victoria before going pro/scholarship/something big in the States. He’s all of 5’5”, styling low-profile yellow Adidas court feet, matching glossy red/yellow soccer-like top and shorts, thin-trimmed goatee, curly black locks, I mean totally smashing the ball. And this kid’s a show off, winding up the racquet three times before squeezing in volleys. Actually, he had crazy fast volleys four feet from the front on full-on drives from his opponent, the club’s pro and - as a really nice Aussie UVic exchanger introduces me after - the university’s S. club organizer.

Other notes of interest:

  • A lot of people had fat double-wrapped grips.
  • There were a lot of women playing, and a lot of young girls.
  • The courts are physically cut-off at the out lines, which are actually angled away from the court so it’s real obvious when the ball bounces out.
  • The women wore all the cool sexy sporty clothing, spandex skirts, v-tops, one-pieces; the men wore high-school gym (except Columbia boy): the worn out mismatched Ts and cotton shorts, saggy white socks.
  • Oh that Aussie guy said that 13-year-old with all the potential is a lay-by in Down Under slang.
  • The 13-year-old is dating the Columbian (“back stage” about to embrace)?

Posted on March 15, 2004 11:29 PM | TrackBack

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