This year, for the first time in the history of the sport, the title of squash racquets champion of Massachusetts has gone to a University team. To be sure, the sport is not so very old in the college, or even in the state; but there always must be a first time, and as a result of the winning of this championship, men have come to regard squash racquets more as a competitive sport, and less as a nice, pleasant pastime for society dilettantes, and for business men in search of exercise. As a minor sport, squash has firmly established itself in the University, and from the stand-point of popularity, it is the second winter sport.
Like tennis, squash raquets was introduced to this country from England; and like tennis, it has not been immediately accepted, but has slowly grown more and more popular. Tennis, when it achieved general recognition in the colleges, immediately became the most important minor sport. It shook off, to a great extent, the connotation of pink teas and cookies; it overcame the objection to the expense and location of courts, and it gained major sport letters for its champions. This is the road which its winter cousin has before it, and on which it has made a good start.
So far the chief disadvantage of squash has been the lack of intercollegiate competition. No other college has organized an official squash racquets team, and only a few colleges possess any courts. Many of these, such as Yale, have lost themselves in the blind alley of squash tennis, or have suffered from poorly-constructed courts, and hence have not fully adopted the game. In New York, largely due to the efforts of certain professionals, squash tennis is the more important of the two; while in Chicago a still different game of "racquets" is a strong competitor. But gradually, men who have played the game and who have become well acquainted with it at St. Paul's School for example or at the University have gone to other colleges, and scattered into the larger cities. So, gradually, the game has been gaining a more general recognition.
Until this recognition is fully achieved, it's position will never equal that of tennis. Competition is the life-blood of any sport, and inter-collegiate competition most of all. But there are signs of an awakening general interest; and other colleges are realizing that the game is worth its candle--the cost and trouble of new courts and equipment, and the efforts of introducing a brand-new sport.
Meanwhile the credit for a new championship team in a minor sport is largely due to its coach, Mr. Harry Cowles. Team A has ended its season on top of its league, and Team B.--"the Harvard scrubs"--is leading in its division. But, as the best result of this success, the game is ceasing to be regarded as a sort of weak-sister to tennis, and is becoming more and more popular in its own right.