Sixth Man: Squash

One of two available photos of Brown Squash

David: After a brief hiatus brought about by crying for days about men’s soccer losing “studying,” Sixth Man got back in action this weekend by hitting up Brown squash’s opener against Colby College. I hear you out there: “Isn’t squash a little ‘country club’ for us?” Maybe. But so is equestrian, and that doesn’t stop us from being one of two Ivies to field a team/squad/ridership.

Alright, alright, I know you’re clamoring to hear about the squash in all its glory and utmost detail. Hold on a second, though–this week’s post has a special twist. Unbeknownst to yours truly, fellow Blog writer Caitlin Dorman (‘16; only freshmen are dupes enough to end up in makeshift bleachers at Pizzitola at 1 pm on a Saturday) was also in attendance. Perhaps she can lend us a fresh perspective, one that will give us a break from mine, which I would summarize as “Brown squash is a thing that exists.” Caitlin, anything to add?

Caitlin Dorman: David, I go to some sports games for the ra-ra comradery in the bleachers, because I actually love the game (no matter how badly Brown sucks at it), and  because the guys are so damn attractive athletes are so impressive. The courts made me feel a tad claustrophobic (reminiscent of a glass prison cell), and the sport is a little hard to grasp with that tiny ball bouncing all over the place, but man is it fun to cheer the home team on!

However, cheering Brown on is where my friends and I in the audience ran into some issues. Squash = country club, ergo shouting out “YEAH, YOU SHOVE THAT RACKET UP HIS ASS” or “YOU MAKE THE FAT COLBY BOY RUN” are highly inappropriate and out of place. One thing’s for sure—we’re certainly not at the Brown/Harvard football game. Despite my reluctance to behave in a sophisticated manner, I enjoyed myself without shouting out cheers that bordered on being offensive. And I don’t know what you’re talking about—I for one always bring a keg with me when I go to cheer on the University horses at equestrian.

DO: Caitlin, I don’t know about the logistics of transporting a keg to the equestrian shows, which as I understand are not on campus. Well worth it though, I imagine; nothing like getting intoxicated while watching women mount beasts. I’ve said too much. In any case, I’m all for heckling, but the cramped third floor of our secondary gym doesn’t seem like the right venue. Plus, I was way too busy figuring out how the hell the game worked to engage in any antics. Why do they redo the point every four seconds? How do they avoid killing each other with an errant shot? Why, oh why, oh why, do they insist on wiping their hand against the wall and/or back glass like a cat pawing an invisible thigh?

CD: David, the whole hand-wiping ritual is something that I too was curious about. It would not have been so apparent if one or the other guy in each match wasn’t doing it every other second. My guess is that they want to transfer their gallons of sweat onto the surrounding panopticon that is their court to make their opponents slip and slide on the walls, thus missing the ball. The bleachers there were a hot mess—it just doesn’t feel right that squash novices like myself are free to sit in between teammates due to space constraints. And what the hell was with that workout bike at the end of the courts that the players kept using? The venue definitely needs to be revamped (maybe we could have spent some of the money that went towards the plethora of flat screens in the Nelly and invested in more space for squash). Also, those times when the ball shot over the glass door and into the audience struck me as incredibly dangerous.

What the fuck are with those mandatory girls’ uniforms. REALLY? Skort and bows in the hair? I haven’t seen that shit in a while. I sort of dig the team Patagonias though. And David, what are you talking about equestrian? I thought we were talking about PW’s production of Equus. That’s where I am taking my keg (bonus: PW is on campus!).

DO: Does Equus involve the intimate synthesizing of (wo)man and beast? If so, I’m in. And I LOVED the Patagonias. I was about to mention that. They took squash from “I’m still not sure if this is really a varsity sport” to “obviously it’s a varsity sport, they have matching Patagonias!!!!” Also, you used the word “panopticon”; if this is a competition, you win. Anyhow, I borrowed some equipment from a squashlete and hit the courts today to scope it out in a more hands-on way. It’s pretty hard, and it’s damn fun. I couldn’t avoid the feeling that my name should either be Whit Whitman VII or Arjun Singh the whole time I was playing, though. Is that racist? I don’t think so.

CD: I am not sure what decade that Patagonia print was from, but it felt retro and I was diggin’ it. I have yet to prove my dedication to squash by hitting the courts like you did, but I do dabble in a similar, even groovier, less-of-a-sport-more-of-the-sweat called paddleball, so I imagine that squash is in fact damn fun. They also fucking rocked Colby in squash. And David, if this is a word game that I just won, what’s my prize? I hope it’s an honorary Patagonia and NOT tickets to an away-from-home squash tournament.

Three things I have taken away from this squash-tastic experience (well, three and a half):

1) Patagonias rock
2) If Brown wants to make these country club sports accessible, they have to let me bring the white trash, because it’s not motivational if you aren’t offending the other team’s members and their mothers (who were all present at Saturday’s game, for the record).
3) We need more bleachers, because…
3.5) …squash is a team comprised of people who are actually good at squash, so let them play, and give us space to watch (and for our kegs and our theatrical horse puppets).

DO: Thanks Caitlin. Well, I think that just about does it. If you made it this far you must be one pretty big squash fan or one pretty big loser. Thanks for sticking with us. If you’re interested in seeing Brown squash with your own eyes, check them out after break in double-header action January 27, or in Ivy action February 2-3. Do it. So long.

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