There's a player on the Harvard men's squash team that sometimes goes unnoticed.
He's not the number-one player. He's not number-two, or even number-three.
He never gets center court.
He just plays the game, and plays it as well as he can every single time he takes the court.
His name is Farokh Pandole and he embodies the spirit that propelled the racquetmen (4-0) to their 1990-91 NCAA Championship Title.
To begin, Pandole is his own worst enemy, just like the Crimson squad--ranked first in the preseason polls--may well be this year. In the years that he'd been playing at Harvard, squash fans have seen him constantly criticize his game, ever trying to improve and perfect it.
Never satisfied, Pandole's attitude is one that any defending championship team, which could easily become complacent, should foster. It is that winning mentality of always striving that will get the Crimson through this season successfully.
Secondly, although Pandole is inconsistent, he is relentlessly persistent. In every game Pandole has every played he fights to the bitter end. From game one, the Crimson needs to espouse this philosophy and play this way.
And most importantly, Pandole's inconsistence makes him ever unsure, ever wondering. This sense of fear--a 'good fear'--pushes him to play a spectacular brand of squash. Spectacular squash could very well land the Crimson the National Title again this year.
Crimson Co-Captains Jonny Kaye and George Polsky are also assests to the team. Kaye, serving in his second year as a captain, knows how to lead the team to victory after victory after victory yet cultivate a sense of modesty.
"When it comes down to it, squash is an individual sport." Kaye said. "And when [an individual] goes into a game, there's no way he'll be complacent."
Polsky, with the laid-back approach to squash tempers Kaye's intensity with a more humorous perspective.
"We're experienced warriors," Polsky said laughing. "The unity and power of this team is best compared to that of a roving pack of juvenile male chakmas while in heat."
As one might guess, Polsky plays a different kind of game, but it is one which does the job.
A Seasoned Squad