Smashing Emergence Of Squash
What could one play with a racquet and a ball? There is never a specific boundary to set the rules and design one’s own game. Badminton, Tennis, Qian-ball are several games played just with a bat or racquet and a ball, but how fascinatingly the rules differ. One of these games, popularly played in and around Europe is Squash. It might be an English-originated game of the 19th century but now it is played equally in tournaments all around the world.
The origin of the game dates back to an amazing discovery of the game when accidentally students started hitting the ball to the wall of the school for play. The whereabouts of the origin were found out to be an English school around the mid-19th century.
Early Days and Development
The name, “squash” itself suggests the smashing of the ball about some surface, and so it played likewise. Racquets are used to hit the ball with force on a wall till it bounces back to the opponent. As compared to other racquet games, Squash developed recently but pretty quickly. The first official Squash was created in 1928 and the game took to fame in the early 1950s.
There were several ups and downs to accept this school game as a championship tournament. Though it evolved as a sport, it failed to make its way to the Olympics. Women were also not allowed to play in this rigorous sport till recent time. In 1967, things took up the gear, and England along with other Commonwealth countries established The International Squash Association. Now, it is played in world-level tournaments in countries like Egypt, England, Australia proud of its players. The top charts with names like Gregory Gauthier and Camille Serme are not new to the sports world. With the ever-increasing popularity of the game, it is played by millions around the world, one-third of them being women. With fervent attempts as always, Squash is aiming to make it through the Olympics by 2024.
Though the game is played in pairs, doubles or more per team are also allowed. The players in odd numbers are given leverage to shuffle between the teams making the game lively along with fewer players.
Formulated Rules and Ethics
Similar to all the sports played internationally, Squash also developed its rules for a fair and uniform game. The ball is hit to the opposite wall using a racquet directly or with a bounce. The game starts with a toss and continues for 11 points. For a series of games, the best of three or five are chosen, with all played on the same rules. Apart from being a sport, games are generally encouraged for better fitness and wellness. People who don’t enjoy working out in gyms, doing yoga or Pilates opt for games for fun and exercise.
Squash administers the strength, endurance, and agility among the players. Acute concentration and action are required in rapid moments. Playing squash was found to reduce stress, strengthen muscles, and improve the concentration levels in the players.
The equipment of the sport is designed on several levels, suited for the players from amateur to professionals.
Racquets are generally similar but the balls used might of different colors indicating the level of the game played. For instance, a yellow ball is used in advanced games whereas a blue one is for beginners. Racquets are usually made of Aluminium of Graphite, for being light weighted and quick for movements. The balls are made of hollow rubber.
Playing this sport for fun can be expensive at times. It can be played informally with a wall and basic equipment, but playing it like a sport needs a designed court and rules to adhere to. Players need to be members of the clubs or sports groups to get access to proper grounds.
Since its origin, several Squash federations evolved, giving memberships to common people to come and play the game like a sport. The game is tough and demands the usage of the correct gear and athletic wear to avoid any harm during the play. The high-quality racquets, balls, sports shoes, or the rent for the court can be costly if played regularly. Still, Squash is applauded as a complete game for full body and mind development along with inculcated skills.
A proper game when viewed by spectators catches several terminologies like “appeal”, “let”, “stroke”, or “tight”. When the player intrudes on the ball, a let can be appealed by the referee, and a stroke is granted. The referee allows replay of the particular game point if any objection is found or raised. Several strategies are developed for scoring good game points like dominating the T, hitting the ball straight to the corners, etc. With their expertise in different techniques, players are referred to by titles as Power players, shot-makers, or Retrievers.
The world rankings are published monthly by the “Professional Squash Association” and players such as Mohamed El Shorbagy, Ali Farag, and Nouran Gohar have topped the charts significantly.
The game is played in all world tournaments but hasn’t ventured into Olympics or Paralympics yet. The game is played both in indoor and outdoor venues. The outdoor arena is constructed using glass walls to facilitate a clear view for the spectators.
Many times, special tournaments held in incredible places like The Al-Arham International Tournament of Cairo, on the base of pyramids, and The Tournament of Champions of New York were held during night-time. Such splendid locations attracted throngs of spectators boosting the morale of both the sport and the players.
In the past two centuries, since the origin of Squash, there had been significant developments in its rules, play, and popularity. A complete set of exercises and play in a short time, it is fun to play without any hard and fast coaching. No doubt, there is still the need to boost the fame and advantages of this game to bring it forth on the world platform, but the developing efforts are worth praising. Today, this sport proudly claims the membership of around 20 million players worldwide, with several courts and federations under it.