Who is a Woman Squash Player?  A series profiling women playing the game-who they are, why they play, and how squash has shaped their lives.

By Jennifer Gabler

Many of the profiles in this series have focused on national level players or coaches. But what about the women who continue to play squash just for recreation, exercise and the love of the game? Bev Rayfield has been playing squash for years, purely for her own enjoyment, incorporating the game into her family life and forming longtime relationships within the squash community.

Bev Rayfield, and her husband David, started playing squash while doing their medical training at New York Hospital. Bev is now hoping to play some national events.
Bev Rayfield, and her husband David, started playing squash while doing their medical training at New York Hospital. Bev is now hoping to play some national events.

While Bev and her husband David were doing their medical training at New York Hospital, David discovered the squash courts at the top of the hospital and started to play to get exercise and relief from his training. He showed Bev the courts and they began playing and drilling together. Bev also introduced other women at the hospital to the game and essentially taught herself to play. The Rayfields later joined Uptown Racquet Club (now called New York Sports Clubs) and became further hooked, playing in local B and C level tournaments.

Their squash life took an international turn when David was sent to Japan to serve in the Navy. The Rayfields went looking for squash courts and found a facility that had racquetball and squash courts. The owner of that club in Japan is still a close friend of the family.

After Japan, they moved to Texas so that Dave could complete his medical training. The Rayfields started a family and had two small children, which made playing squash a challenge. After taking a break from playing for several years, they moved their young family to Cooperstown, New York. In this small upstate New York town, there were hardball squash courts. Bev would take her small children along, park them in one court with coloring books and play in the next court. Bev recalls returning to squash as a total blessing, bringing her exercise and joy. The Rayfield’s last move was to their current home in Linwood, New Jersey. One of the reasons for their move to this particular town was that they would be close to a squash club and a vibrant squash community. They joined the Atlantic City Country Club, Bev and her husband playing for recreation and in local tournaments. For the first time they had a pro who could teach them, and they noticed a significant improvement in their games.

Bev attributes her longevity with the game of squash to playing consistently, even during the summer months, and to not having injuries. Going forward, Bev and David believe they will play squash “until they drop.”

Now that her kids, also active squash players, are moving on to adult lives, Bev is starting to play more competitively herself. She currently plays out of Greater Bay Racquet Club, joined a Philadelphia Squash Racquets Association traveling team and, as part of a men’s C team, helped to capture their league championship. Her next goal in squash is to play in some national tournaments such as the Howe Cup and see what it is like to play with national level women.

The Rayfields are a family that was new to squash but have built a whole family experience around the game. Whenever they are together, the conversation invariably turns to squash—a sport that has united them as a family, and brought them friendships and experiences they will always treasure.