Last weekend I went to Baltimore for a special event. It was the eleventh induction ceremony of the Maryland State Squash Hall of Fame.
The hall of fame was launched twenty years ago and so is one of the oldest and most consistent district association halls of fame in the country. With the five people inducted on Saturday, they now have thirty-two members. More than a dozen past inductees were present at the ceremony, including Sandy Martin, Nancy Cushman, Doug Rice, Patrick Miller, Andrew Cordova, Lissen Tutrone, Scooter Dorney, Bobby Travers and John Voneiff.
It was an elegant night at the Maryland Club. After warming up by the fire in the enormous, welcoming fireplace near the front door, I had a look at the construction in the back. When it is finished, the club will have three brand-new hardball doubles courts—a first for a club in the U.S.
The place was packed. Abby Markoe came with a couple of SquashWise students. The Cromwell family was in full force for Patrice McConnell Cromwell’s induction: the group included Patrice’s sister Alicia McConnell (late of Colorado Springs, now of Dublin, Ireland) and David Cromwell (late of Middlebury, now world No.191).
I had the pleasure of introducing one of the inductees, my father. I reminisced about how our family just fell in love with Baltimore when we moved there in the mid-1980s and how I worked as an assistant to the old pro at the Maryland Club, the late Jimmy Taylor . I joked about how in Baltimore my dad would call my mother on a car phone (remember those) on his way home from the club to say that he was running late, that he had spent too much time talking with friends after he had played squash.
I said that running late is exactly why we play the game. This was echoed on the back of gorgeous program John Voneiff produced for the ceremony, where an unofficial mission statement of the Maryland Squash Fall of Fame was printed: “We come together to meet, to talk, to enjoy each other’s company and to compete. We come to do exactly what is best about the great games Americans play, to keep the spirit that is the competitive fire within us engaged in ways that build lasting friendships—friendships that transcend distances and generations, burning on through the years of our lives.”