Tuesday 18 March 2008

Guardian blog reflects on squash's fortunes

The blog on the Guardian websiteA blog in The Guardian - Squash diminished by zero status - written by Oliver Irish, asks the question:

Without a Steve Redgrave-type figure, how can squash become anything more than a minority sport?

The posting has already attracted healthy debate ...

Highlighting the success of British squash players as opposed to the failings of its tennis players, Irish concludes that the sport requires a "Sir Steve Redgrave-type figure" to inspire a greater following.

James also interestingly observes that the only two occassions in recent years when the sport has made the headlines have resulted in negative press: Peter Nicol's move from Scotland to England and the back-firing PR stunt centred on Vicky Botwright's choice of clothing:

"The stunt succeeded in generating a lot of interest in Botwright's bottom, but very little interest in women's squash."

James asks what can be done to dig squash out of the "Other sport" sections in the press, but I felt it was a shame that he seemed to have his suspicions about squash's "City boy" image confirmed by his one-off visit to Canary Wharf.

The Canary Wharf Classic has a unique feel in the British squash calendar, and the good-humoured enthusiasm of the crowd that - by virtue of the event's location - are predominantly City workers, brings a lively atmosphere that others sports take for granted and squash often misses out on.

Anyone who has been to other events around the UK will acknowledge the quite different experiences that various venues and their crowds bring. Tournaments in Manchester, for instance, seem to be attended predominantly by the "squash community", and the atmosphere is very different to London. Not necessarily better or worse, but different.

It's this plurality of experience that gives squash - as a "portable" game - an advantage over other sports, in that it can locate itself anywhere where promoters have the will to put an event on.

Let's hope Irish catches some more live squash - but credit to him for bringing the discussion to Guardian readers.

Read the blog article and have your say ...

Squash diminished by zero status

1 comment:

  1. A good article, nice to see it published in a mainstream newspaper site - I have done my best to promote here too ;o)


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