Squash, Not Just a Vegetable

Published by Samantha Lin on February 03, 2013 at 3:13AM

Ever wondered what the differences between squash and tennis are? Fear not, The Crimson has got you covered. In this new series, The Back Page takes a look at some things you might not know about squash—and some reasons why you should check out some of the top teams in the nation, right here at the Murr Center.

5) Ball Warmers?

Yep, you read that correctly. Because of the rubber compound from which it is made, cold squash balls tend to “die” quickly due to a lack of bounce, while warmer balls bounce higher, allowing the ball to come up to be hit. Thus, especially for less experienced players who can’t hit the ball hard enough to achieve an optimal temperature, a ball warmer must be used. These handy devices are surprisingly easy to find—available for just $9.99 on eBay.

4) Listen for the Tin

Unlike tennis, which has a net to stop play, a squash court is an open area for play. But on the front wall of a squash court, the bottom 18 inches, called the tin, acts like a net. Other than the serve, where the ball must go about the middle line on the front wall, every ball hit to the front wall must go above the 18-inch mark. If not, a clanking sound will indicate a point for the other player and a downed ball.

3) Lucky Eleven

While 25 is the number to reach for volleyball, squash players search for the number 11 to light up the scoreboard, usually indicating the end of a game, where three won games clinch the match. Similar to a set of tennis, a player must be up by at least two points in a game order to call a victory. In an earlier shutout against Amherst, ninth-seeded Georgina Brinkley played to a 17-15 win of her second game.

2) A Lot on the Line

Sure, squash shares many similarities to other racquet-swinging sports, but in one way, it bears more resemblance to basketball. In both sports, lines are important—so much so, that in tennis, there is a software solely designed to determine whether the ball did, in fact, touch the line. But where in tennis, the ball is considered ‘in’ if it touches any part of the white line, a squash ball that hits a line is considered out.

1) Squashing the Competition

Although this fast-paced sport may make knowing when to clap a little confusing, be rest assured that the Murr Center will give you something to cheer about. The men’s team is No. 3 in the nation while the women’s team is ranked second overall, making it the only Crimson sport to possess two teams within the top three of the nation. If that isn’t enough to convince you to make the trek across the river, Harvard’s teams also hold the top-ranked individual players in the nation in Ali Farag and Amanda Sobhy, both of who have yet to lose a match this season.