By Kevin D. Klipstein, President & Chief Executive Officer
Fifty years have now passed since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the first and only squash-playing U.S. President. Kennedy once said, “If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.” While the world collectively struggles towards this goal, there are examples of strength in diversity everywhere, and the melding of the squash world is one.
As hackneyed as it may be to note how the level of play in junior squash continues to rise each and every year, the trend continues as a result of how truly international the game is today. The U.S. Junior Open also demonstrated strength in numbers, with nearly 1,000 entrants and slightly fewer than 900 players from 24 countries.
The recent passing of South African President Nelson Mandela reminded the world that he believed passionately in the power of sports to bring people together in peace and friendship. This phenomenon was evident throughout the Junior Open, with the younger players, regardless of nationality, jumping in packs of five or more onto any available court to play “¾ court” purely for the fun of it. It was commonplace to see Americans cheering on friends from other countries they had made this year or in prior years of playing and competing together.
Despite the daily torrent of news to the contrary from around the world, based on what I witnessed at the U.S. Junior Open, there is reason to hope that a tolerant and more peaceful world may ultimately be within our reach.