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July 29, 2009 > Surprise! World Class Squash Right In Fremont

Surprise! World Class Squash Right In Fremont

By Marty Friedman

Let's face it, squash is not exactly a sport that's top of mind for many people whether they are athletes or not. In fact, surprise! The game has been played for over 140 years in over 100 countries. And, no wonder, squash is a portable sport requiring minimal space.

Okay, just what is squash? It is a racquet sport calling for great skill and endurance, Squash is played with finesse as opposed to power. It is named for the way the soft ball "squashes" against the wall.

In its simplest terms, two (or four players in doubles) hit the squash ball against the wall at the back of the court. As long as the ball stays above the line on the back wall or the side walls, it can be hit again.

Note: Players must give their opponents a chance to return the ball, without interfering. If the referee determines that there was interference, he may call a "let" resulting in either the point being replayed, or the point being awarded to the player who was interfered with.

Forbes Magazine recently subjected a range of sports to certain criteria, including cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility and calories consumed. They dubbed squash: "the world's healthiest sport."

Would you believe the sport was actually invented by English schoolboys in the 1860's? In fact its English roots are very apparent in the extreme courtesy squash players exhibit towards each other.

Compare that to the recent behavior of a superstar player on the Cleveland Cavaliers. He - LeBron James - refused to shake hands with any member of the winning team, the Orlando Magic.

Hundreds of top players over the world are pushing and pulling for squash to step onto the Olympic stage by 2016. The World Team Squash Championships, to be held in this September in Odense, Denmark, will be a big step toward those Olympics.

Interestingly, Preston Quick (Mass.) just defeated Ben Oliveri (N.Y.) this very month to earn a berth on the US Men's Team.

Areil Labra became the new squash coach barely two months ago. He originally got into squash playing racquetball for some 15 years. Then, out of the blue, they built a squash court next to the racquetball court. When Labra saw squash, his hand-eye coordination came to the fore, and it was love at bounce.

Talk about a sport keeping him in shape; talk about getting his competitive juices flowing; and Labra never looked back.

Squash actually began at Club Sport some seven years. Since then, it's really taken off. And that's only the half of it (all credit to Ariel Labra).

Club Sport offers: Three squash clinics on Saturdays; a squash ladder (you challenge the player one rung up on the ladder ahead of you); a full league; and recognition for the best players.

Club Sport has become a squash powerhouse. Divisions II and III had finalists this season, as did NorCal and East Bay. Bravo to all the winners.

Club Sport is located at 46650 Landing Parkway in Fremont. For further information about the club, contact Club Sport at 510-226-8500.

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