From US Squash

By Kevin D. Klipstein, President & Chief Executive Officer

At the fifty-ninth hosting of the Junior Nationals this spring, we honored Olivia Fiechter and Derek Hsue with the 2014 DeRoy Sportsmanship Award. Each year we present this award to a male and female senior who demonstrate exemplary behavior on and off the court and compete at a high level.

Olivia, a multi-time national champion and two-time U.S. Junior team and 2013 U.S. Women’s team member, will attend Princeton in the fall. Derek, the Pingry School team captain and U17 Champion last year, will head to Penn. Each young adult, only as old as the honor itself, personify qualities which have been closely associated with squash for more than a century. These include accountability, excellence, fairness, honesty, and courtesy.

We all know that squash requires players to be responsible for their own actions, and is one of those rare sports where winning and losing fairly is completely in the hands of the competitors. Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Each time we step on the court, we have the opportunity to practice and develop these virtues of good performance and moral character by how we answer questions such as, Did I carry the ball, and did I call it on myself? Did I continue playing, even though I’m not certain I got that shot? Am I positive my serve was in? Did I offer a stroke to my opponent? Am I clearing as quickly and thoroughly as the rules require?

Embracing the fundamentals of good character makes playing squash more rewarding and a more enjoyable community. Why else is this important? If relationships are part of a foundation for success, and relationships are built on trust, trust comes from demonstrating character and integrity. Lessons learned and practiced in squash every day, ultimately help people succeed in life.