Squash-ing the Opponents

Danielle Martin Look out Latin! There’s a new sport on the rise, and it’s not one that we’ve ever seen before. That’s right; Latin’s new squash team has captivated the attention of almost thirty members, some of whom have never even picked up a racquet before. So, what exactly is squash? Like tennis, singles or double teams can play squash by hitting the ball back and forth with a racquet. Well, then, what’s the difference? Unlike tennis, squash is played indoors on a four-wall, enclosed court. The objective is to hit the ball against a wall so that your opponent is unable to retrieve it. But given that it is most commonly played on the east coast, how has squash been brought to Latin? A group of sophomores, led by Clay Canfield, were passionate about the sport and wanted to engage students in a new skill. They knew that Mr. Wishnoff, the new science lab manager and 2009 Latin graduate, played squash for Connecticut College. With his help, they made their vision a reality. As a new sport at Latin, they weren’t sure how to entice more participants. It started off with kids energetically running through the halls, trying to convince their friends to join the team. It worked: a Facebook group was set up, and students were lured in with the idea of official T-shirts and gym credits. At first, some thought that squash was a joke, but those naysayers couldn’t be more wrong. The first day of practice Mr. Wishnoff put the team to the test and had them run a total of 50 court sprints. Sadly, it was too late to get Latin to recognize squash as an official sports team, so until next year, the school considers it a club. This made it difficult for students to get their so-called “easy” gym credits; everyone had to fill out their individual ISP. To make matters more difficult, practices aren’t held at Latin, like almost every other sport, and students must get their own transportation to Lakeshore Athletic club. While these challenges caused some to quit the team, those remaining are dedicated, enthusiastic athletes. With the season in full swing, students are committed to improving for future competition. Mr. Wishnoff splits kids up based on their skill levels, a strategy that pushes kids to get better and adequately prepares them for matches. The tournaments take place almost every weekend against other teams all across Chicago. So far, Latin’s new sport has been a huge success. Sophomore Logan Berges remarked, “It’s a really cool experience playing a new sport.” Fellow sophomore Sam Weiss agreed saying, “I like it as a team and as a sport because of how engaged everybody is that plays it.”  ]]>