Scenes From A Squash Match
It is no easy task to succeed a legendary coach like Jack Barnaby; nor is it an insult to live in that man's shadow. But yesterday's triumph over Princeton definitively propels Crimson coach Dave Fish out of the shadow and into the spotlight.
As one team member said, this was Fish's win. His emphasis on conditioning and "pattern training"--where the squad systematically practices different options for shotmaking in a particular situation--was the key to his squad's victory.
Which is not to say the grand old man, Barnaby, had nothing to do with the win. The Crimson racquetwomen's coach spent hours with the men over the past few weeks. Seeing him chatting with Chip Robie between games was somehow reassuring; one could not find a better squash aide-de-camp.
But it was heartening to see Dave Fish buzzing around cavernous Heminway during the match, to see his face after the match, and to talk to him in a pleasant Sunday afterglow.
Hemenway was wet Saturday. Wet with the sweat that soaked through Harvard's smart new uniforms. Wet with Princeton's tears of disappointment. Wet with the Crimson's tears of happiness. And then, wet with champagne.
Crimson assistant coach Mark Panarese '78 and Princton head coach and recruiter extraordinaire Norm Peck never saw the decisive fifth game of Robie's match. The pressure was too great. So they retired to the coach's room, where they awaited the fateful results.
After the victory, Peck paid a congratulatory visit to the Crimson locker room. "I just want you to know you guys played a great match," he said. Then he departed to recruit three top Milton Academy stars.
Squash players are gentlemen. The two opposing squads chatted, sat together, and commiserated over the tension throughout the entire match. Make no mistake--these two teams wanted to win. But that did not vitiate the camaraderie.