Brief History of Squash

I love Squash! Not the the vegetable (or is it a fruit?) but the popular sport practiced across the world that for some reason that escapes my understading did not make the cut for the olympic games.

In any case, the more you know about something you like the more you can enjoy it. So, here you have a really brief story of squash. Hope you like it.

Squash traces its origins to 1830 in Harrow School, England where it was invented as an offshoot of the game of rackets. It began when underclassmen who either lacked the skills or seniority to play rackets, the popular game at the time, opted to hit rubber balls against the walls of alleys and courtyards. The students discovered that squashing balls against walls yielded a number of shots and required adept footwork that was enjoyable.

However, the game did not receive much attention until in 1864 when the first squash courts were built in the school. Its popularity spread fast especially among famous private schools and colleges and in exclusive men’s clubs. The sport debuted in North America in the 1880s.

That period saw the construction of four squash courts by St, Paul’s school, New Hampshire in 1884. Similarly, Honorable Cecil Edwards built a squash court at his Vancouver residence where pioneer players such as Bimbo Sweeney mustered the sport.

Another court was constructed in 1904 in Newfoundland at St. John’s Tennis club and others followed in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and later in Canada. By the 1950s, the game had caught up with the rest of the world.

Of interest is Hashim Khan, a squash player of Pakistani descent, who after working as a ball boy at a local British Officer’s court, went ahead to clinch the British Open title in 1951Currently, the top three countries that have consistently churned out squash champions are England, the United States, Egypt.

England, where the sport was founded continues to enjoy a massive following both as a sport and a recreational activity. Moreover, squash classes are offered at the college level.

Notably, the top squash player, Mohamed Eishorbagy hails from Egypt. Squash thrives in this country with budding players striving to attain the elite competition level and even to receive scholarships abroad. Similarly, the United States is home to new tournaments such as The US Open Squash Doubles Tournament that have played a pivotal role in boosting the sport in the country

-Stein

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