The Tens

The 2010s are wrapping up and a new decade is about to begin. Almost everything changed. My list of ten changes:

  1. Parity in prize money. Historic, long-overdue and just the beginning. Made everyone in the game rethink and reprioritize.
  2. SquashTV. Ten years ago, people still said squash couldn’t be properly broadcast. Now it is the norm: we love the replays, the player reviews, the incredible points, the commentary, the nicknames. And it’s not just at major professional events, but at junior tournaments, the National Singles, the SDA. Streaming is now the norm. Transformative.
  3. US Squash. Staff quadrupled. Tournaments tripled. Club Locker changed how squash players connect to the game. Elite Athlete Program changed how America develops and sustains champions. Squash Magazine became the global leader in squash print.
  4. The merger of the women’s and men’s pro tours. It has meant growth, equity and strength.
  5. Intercollegiate squash. Finally the game, at the core of American squash, got organized with a full-time executive director and an independent board. The level increased to where the best players in the world are playing college squash. Poised for massive growth.
  6. Urban squash. It doubled in size; it went all over the country and all over the world. New facilities. One giant gala in 2015; another next month.
  7. The survival of European squash. Ten years ago it looked very bleak, courts closing, national associations shrinking, tournaments disappearing. But stabilization has occurred. Six of the eight teams in the quarters at the men’s world teams were from Europe. The world’s largest facility is in Europe. Some of the best-run and attended events are in Europe. The associations are recovering. Two dozen nations come to the European Teams and upsets abound. It ain’t over.
  8. Community squash. The idea of a non-profit, public, accessible, mixed-use facility (juniors, middle and high schools, urban and adults) is transforming the way grassroots squash works. Pioneered in Portland, now in Atlanta and in Manhattan and coming soon elsewhere.
  9. The way we communicate and spread squash news: podcasts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube. Unfathomable a decade ago. Can’t wait for December 2029 to see what time has wrought.
  10. Pro squash and Egypt. Ten year’s ago, in December 2009, according to SquashInfo.com, there were two Egyptian women in the top twenty (Omneya Abdel Kawy at No.7 and Engy Kheirallah at No.14).) Now we have eight of the top twenty, including the top four. (And from that top twenty from a decade ago, only three—Allison Waters, Camille Serme and Annie Au—are still on tour.) The men are the same. There were five Egyptians in the top twenty a decade ago; today there are eleven, including, like the women, the entire top four. (But retirement has been staved off more with the men. Half a dozen of the top twenty from December 2009 are still on tour: Greg Gaultier, James Willstrop, Daryl Selby, Cameron Pilley, Borja Golan and Mohamed ElShorbagy.) (Well, since the last few days, we are down to five, with Cam Pilley stepping down.)

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