By Kevin Klipstein
Fifteen years ago, I was a teaching pro at a few commercial clubs in Seattle. For the most part, life was simple for me then. I was in my mid-20’s. I rode my bike to work. I had a dog and a girlfriend. I hiked on the weekends. The Seattle squash community is second to none—a wonderfully diverse group of people.
What was not so simple or easy was anything to do with the administration of squash. Remember, this was 1995. I remember mailing a letter (how funny!) to my parents back east, telling them that “e–mail” was this really cool thing, and they should connect their phone line to their computer and join “AOL”. Wish I had bought Microsoft stock too (up over 650%).
With the internet in its infancy, communications worked at a different pace. Websites were barely reﬂections of organizational structures, and the one-to-many beneﬁts of email were being experienced by few. U.S. SQUASH’s (USSRA at the time) communication, programs and ability to support the squash community were, let’s just say, dated, even by mid-1990’s standards.
People played “A, B, C,” etc. level tournaments, rankings were published once a year in Squash News. The Insilco B/C/D series of local, regional and national events had long died out. Sanctioning a tournament meant close to nothing, results were rarely reported, and the Association offered no tools to pros like me to promote or increase participation.
I used box leagues which consisted of 8×11 sheets with boxes drawn on them and tacked to a cork board. I had a club ladder of course, using those circular tags with names on them (which are probably at half the clubs in the US still!) and occasionally posted a full list of squash players at the club with phone numbers. I never bothered to sanction my tournaments—in fact I had no idea how or why I would. What I always wondered, and what may still cross your mind occasionally too, was what does the USSRA do anyway?
Push “play” (really “fast forward” please) fifteen years, and what you see to- day is an Association that is now a leader among its peers in leveraging technology to support its members, teaching pros and coaches. Central to our efforts to provide support is the “PLAY SQUASH” program officially launching this month. PLAY SQUASH includes:
- Challenge Ladders
- Box Leagues
- Club Championships
- Club Rankings
“PLAY SQUASH” offers pros and coordinators the online software tools they need to easily organize play at the club level, and offers players engaging ways to enjoy squash on their schedule and at their pace, no matter their skill level. U.S. SQUASH Member Clubs use the software for free, providing access to the U.S. SQUASH database of players afﬁliated with their club. Also available to Member Clubs is no-fee sanctioning of annual Club Championships to encourage pros and coordinators to report results, adding data to each players’ profile and making for more accurate Club Rankings.
If you’re a U.S. SQUASH member, you can now:
- be listed in Club, District and National rankings based on results from ladder, box and team league and tournament play
- email other U.S. SQUASH members from your club (around the country!)
- indicate when you’re most available to play, then use the “Find a Match” feature which matches you with members that meet the criteria you specify such as availability, skill level, location and gender
Visit ussquash.com to check your player proﬁle, which has everything from your match and ranking history to club and team afﬁliations, and much more. Go online to adjust your Preferences to display what you want! Also, contact your pro or coordinator to ask them to get PLAY SQUASH started at your club, or simply contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To see if your club is a U.S. SQUASH Member Club, simply search by club name in the box on the top right of ussquash.com.
With the right tools now in hand, I’ll be as curious as you are to see where the sport will be fifteen months, not years, from now.