Hardball Singles Update

By Kevin Klipstein

(L-R) Henry Steinglass, Tefft Smith and Charlie Baker.
(L-R) Henry Steinglass, Tefft Smith and Charlie Baker.

US Squash’s mission to promote, develop and increase participation in squash throughout the United States includes all versions of the great game of squash. Squash in the US traces the origins of the present dynamic interest and participation to the hardball singles game over 100 years ago. Though almost all play has since switched to the international softball version of the game, evidenced by the fact that there are now more international or converted racquetball courts than hardball singles courts in the US, there still remains an active group dedicated to the hardball singles game.

A newly invigorated Hardball Singles Committee has recently developed in support of these efforts and includes such squash luminaries as Mark Talbott, Tom Harrity, Kevin Jernigan, Eric Pearson, Meredeth Quick, Louisa Hall and Don Mills. The committee is chaired by Philadelphia legend Charlie Baker and also includes Tefft Smith and Henry Steinglass.

Through Charlie, Tefft and Henry’s leadership, US Squash created a separate fund called the “Hardball Singles Restricted Fund.” The Hardball Singles Committee will develop recommendations for spending donations made to this fund towards the promotion of hardball singles. US Squash recently added a separate section of us-squash.org dedicated to information relevant to hardball singles, similar to the communication model for distributing information for doubles squash or targeted areas to other constituents such as women and juniors.

The Hardball Singles Committee is already exploring opportunities to encourage experimenting with playing hardball singles on different courts, such as playing with the hardball singles ball and even the hardball doubles ball on the international courts. There are a dozen tournaments nationwide this season and more interest in these varied formats is expected as the promotion of hardball singles continues. These efforts are important to maintaining player interest in squash for players of all ages. US Squash will continue to support all forms of squash, and integral to this is ensuring a supply of balls through our partnership with Dunlop.

Those wishing to participate in this initiative or know more about the “Hardball Singles Restricted Fund” may contact Charlie Baker at charlie@bakerindustries.org or the US Squash office at office@us-squash.org.