We are creatures of habit and routine. We sometimes don’t notice when something is different from the norm.
Ten days ago I played in a Wilmington v. Lancaster squash match at Reflex, the downtown Wilmington club. Reflex has a flag-bedecked four-wall glass court and I was lucky to play all four of my matches on there (I ended up playing eleven games, winning nine, over the course of ninety-five straight minutes of play). I had already played four games when I was warming up with a new opponent. Commenting about the court, he said, “Oh, well, the lower tin is something you have to get used to.”
I hadn’t noticed—maybe it was all the doubles I’ve been playing—but the tin on the glass court was seventeen inches high, not nineteen. I had just been obliviously moving along, very pleased about my suddenly brilliant dropshots and the fact I hadn’t been tinning that much.
It is much like when I play a leftie. Invariably, I head to the right service box to serve when I am hand-in, serving to their forehand, and sometimes I won’t remember who I’m playing for a few serves (I’ve always loved how lefties subtly encourage you to do this by heading to the left side of the court after losing a point, knowing that many players will forget they are playing a southpaw).
The same thing apparently is happening right now to the PSA players at the 2012 El Gouna International Squash Open, where they are playing on a brand-new portable glass court owned by the Egyptian Squash Federation. The court, built by ASB, doesn’t have the traditional back-wall door, but rather not one but two doors on the side walls. Some players, after winning a game, instinctively are heading to the back wall.
Maybe, someday, there will be a portable court with a door in the tin, replicating America’s coolest squash court exit at the Amalgamated Chowder Club in Keene, New Hampshire.