Making a Racquet

Brown Knows

I'll bet that when you woke up this morning, you did not know that you were living in the squash capital of the world.

"Squash?" you say. "You mean the sport?"

Yes, the sport. And Harvard's Hemenway Gymnasium--that's near the Law School--is the home to one of the most dominant forces in collegiate sports.

You laugh? Well, just look at these numbers: 164-15. And 55-5.

Those are, respectively, the Ivy League records of the Harvard men's team (since 1956) and the women's team (since 1983). And they are both also .916 winning percentages.

Is there any team anywhere that has had such a complete domination over its opponents? I don't know of any.

Admittedly, it's kinda funny. Looking at the list of past men's national championships, there are so many "Harvard"s on it you almost get carpal tunnel syndrome.

If you're keeping score at home, the meter reads 24 since 1956. In recent years, the Crimson has won the title 10 out of the past 12 years.

The women's team, on the other hand, has garnered seven National Team Titles since the award was first given in 1984. Also, these female racqueteers have had 17 All-Americans over the last four seasons.

For those mathematically unable out there, that's an average of a lot.

It is practically impossible to fathom how much our squash teams are killing everyone. In the NFL, the common wisdom is that Dallas has built a "dynasty" with their Super Bowl victories the past two seasons and is equalling the "dynasties" of the Steelers or the Niners or whoever.

And others will point to how the University of Nebraska has won at least 10 football games (out of 13) in the past 20-whatever seasons.

All of these teams have done quite well. But in comparison, they aren't even close to Harvard squash.

Think about it this way: for all you freshmen out there, do you realize that for two-thirds of your lives Harvard has owned the men's squash title? And that only one of those titles came before you were toilet trained?

One simply has to stand in awe of it all. Not just the Crimson's dual dominance, but of the inflexibility of the squash world.