Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Squash Can Change Your Life

I know, I was going to write about focusing on the positive...tomorrow. Today I've decided to write about how squash can take you places and open up doors for you. I've had this happen in my life and I've seen it happen to many others. I'll start with a brief overview about or squash has changed shaped my life and the doors the sport has opened for me.

I've already written a post on why I didn't become a professional squash player. That was always my dream as a kid. If you want to read more about that you'll have to go back and read this http://www.serioussquash.com/2014/07/why-i-didnt-play-pro-squash.html. Back when I was in grade 8 I was looking at going to a school in Toronto so I would get credit and have time off for training and playing squash. The public schools didn't support squash or any extra curricular activities like some private ones do these days. Even though I didn't switch schools this was an opportunity presented to me because of my squash and I see this happen all the time now working with an independent school. The same happens all of the time for university squash programs.

Okay so things didn't go as planned during my high school/teen years. Maybe changing schools for my squash was an avenue that would have been better for me. But there's nothing I can do about that anymore. Again if you read my previous post I linked above you'll know that I didn't play squash for about 4 or 5 years until I was about 19. When I got back into squash I was not in good shape. I would play 1 rally and be out of breath. I had asthma, I was about 35lb heavier than I am now, I didn't exercise enough and I didn't eat very healthy. Getting back to a healthy weight, controlling my asthma and improving my eating habits are all due to getting back into squash. This was another time that squash would change my life forever.

When I was in school I didn't like class. I never wanted to be there, just on the squash court. I never had any intentions of going to university. But once again it was squash that made me decide to go back to school and pursue my education. I was coaching in Toronto at the time and Western had a strong squash team. I decided this was a good chance for me to go and train and play competitively for 4 years. It was a surprising decision for most people who knew me. I hadn't applied myself in high school and had been out of school for a number of years so I wasn't very confident in how I would do. If it wasn't for the squash program at Western I never would have taken that risk. This was another moment where squash changed my life forever. I learned a lot about myself and about the value of education.

After university I was offered a job coaching out in New Brunswick as the coach and club manager at the Moncton Squash Club. I worked there for almost 2 years. After awhile there I realized this was more of a management role and I wasn't doing enough coaching and where I needed to be. This is when I decided I still had a lot to learn and wanted to become a bette coach so I applied at the University of Victoria to do my masters in coaching studies. This was another way squash had changed my life. I certainly never imagined that I would do a masters degree, but again I did because of squash.

I have some pretty obvious and distinct ways that squash has changed and molded my life. I've only shared the more memorable ones. I'm sure there will be many more to come. I'm friends with people all across the country because of squash and having lived in 3 provinces.

I never wanted or expected squash to open any doors or do anything for me. This wasn't why I played and trained every day. I loved it and wanted to be the best I could be. Are you intrinsically or extrinsically motivated? If you are playing squash for a means to an end, you may be let down and probably won't appreciate the game as much as others that are playing for their love of the game. The whole university squash scene makes me worry about this. If some kids are playing from a young age just to decorate their university application is that right? Although if this is a goal for a kid and they see this as an potential opportunity for them that is fine. I think it's good to have goals and dreams for your future. Professional squash won't be on the table for most kids, but playing competitively at a university could be more appealing. This is why I'm always fascinated by why someone started playing or continues to play?

Squash is a simple way to meet people in almost any country. Squash is a universal language and we can all appreciate the hard work it takes to get good at it. You get to travel to tournaments and get to see new parts of the world while making new friends. Squash can also help you have some balance in your life, keep you fit and healthy. if you're really good you can be selected for teams and can compete in more distant locations and meet a whole new group of people. The better you get the more doors that will open up for you. The networking you can get from squash is also incredible. You can get jobs and references from people you know through squash. You want to find someone you can trust in a certain profession there is most likely a squash player you know that you can look to for advice or to hire.

And for all of us coaches squash has become our job and our passion. Coaches are in a position where we can use squash as a tool to change someones life for the better. How cool is that? I also know people that have met their husband/wife through squash. Think about all of your friends and places you've been because of squash. Would you be in as good of physical shape and mental healthy if you didn't play squash? I decided that the doors squash can open is definitely worthy of a post. Focusing on the positive can wait another day! How has squash changed your life? What has squash done for you lately?

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