Four students from Access Youth Academy, Ana Rodriguez, Jesus Gomez, Yan Liu and Omar Galindo, had the opportunity to participate in an introductory doubles squash camp in Denver (CO) at the end of August. At the start of the trip we were very excited to learn how to play official doubles squash and learn from professionals. Upon arriving in Denver we were warmly welcomed by Eric Eiteljorg, the Mile High Squash Executive Director. Pretty soon we stepped onto a squash court that was much larger than those we were used to seeing. The feeling of a heavier squash racquet and a bouncier red ball felt as if we were playing squash for the first time again. Although the ball bounced faster, the racquet took more strength to swing and the court felt two-times bigger, once the training began our squash instincts helped us adapt to the differences quickly. The following days became easier as doubles squash became second nature to us and slowly we began to want to play more because it was really fun and interactive. Learning from professionals made a huge difference, and they were a major factor in helping us to take on the doubles squash experience a lot faster. We had the chance to play and work as a team with squash players from other programs which drew all the squash programs from across the country that much closer.
Although this was a squash camp, we also had the chance to explore different parts of Denver and had a lot of fun doing the extracurricular activities that were planned for us. Recalling the first day, we were all exhausted from the flight and some squash. However, that fatigue was quickly washed away by the Rockies stunning baseball game against the Brewers. In addition to baseball we were also lucky to visit the Air Force Academy’s breathtaking chapel and one of the few Olympic Training Centers in the country. The following day, hiking in Boulder was not the most relaxing thing to do on our schedule but it was definitely worth climbing up the rocky and sandy paths to see the beautiful Mile High city from the high points of the mountain. All the extracurricular activities planned for us were fun and amusing, and we thought it was great to be able to learn and play doubles squash while also experiencing Colorado and seeing its features at other times.
Besides the squash experience and the multiple adventures we took in Denver, the host families made our trip easier and relaxing because after each exhausting day we were able to go home to a warm bed and comforting house. The homes we stayed in were beautiful and big, and though we were not living in our own houses, it felt like a home away from home. Because of the care and support the host families provided, the trip was made easy. Thanks to our host families we got used to the high altitude and the early schedules very quickly.
As four teenagers going to a city we knew little about, to play a different version of the sport we love, and to live with strangers we had never met it was hard at first. However, after meeting all the people that helped us throughout the week and working with other teenage squash players from across the country, the NUSEA Doubles Initiative squash camp became something we could not help thinking about even after it ended. At the airport on that last day all we could talk about were the fun experiences we had and the amazing people we met in Denver. We were fortunate to have the opportunity and we’ll take our new skills and experience to the squash courts as we start our training at Access Youth Academy.