Charles de Sainte Marie
When I was a kid (Wow, I sound
like my dad) pro squash matches were out-of-this-world. Long, epic
comebacks were a regular occurrence.
Mini exhibitions would break out in the middle of tight matches
because players felt they had time to make up for it if they lost
the point. Gentlemanly play was also more present. Can you see where
this is going?
The new scoring system is a scary thing indeed. As a hands-on
spectator of the Super Series Finals, I noticed that matches were
shorter than usual. I also noticed that the underdog was usually
beaten in the early stages of the match, without the real chance of
getting the pendulum to swing back his way.
In the good ol’ days, a player with less talent but heaps of
endurance could use time as a weapon. His legs could perhaps get him
back into the match in the third game, to finally find his second
wind, and make a show of it. This is now lost completely. Getting
your first wind is now a difficult thing, the weaker player getting
into a defensive stance right from the start.
I understand that “the show factor” was probably responsible for
this change, thinking (wrongly) that players would be more
aggressive, would shoot more.
Well, I can count on one hand the amount of cross-court nicks that
were hit during this event. Don’t get me wrong, it was great squash,
but someone seeing it for the first time (when our great game hits
TV screens for good) might think, “Yeah, they hit the little ball
along the wall all day long. Is there any mud-wrestling on?”.
In Canada, people want to see shots. Crazy Canucks are certainly
different, but I think everyone appreciates spectacular shots. We
will see less and less of these shots without the hand-outs, even
fewer with international scoring to 9 or 11. Who is going to turn
the match into a shootout when every tin means one step closer to 11
points for the other guy?
A bad call from the referee is also harder to take when the end of
the game is in sight (as early as 6-6!).
Players tend to argue more (if that’s possible!) now that more
importance is placed on each point; there is almost a sense of
urgency in their voices…
Shorter matches, and I don’t mean time-wise, can bring boredom or
excitement, depending on how the two players are geared. From what
I’ve seen, that is a gamble that seems a tad too risky, especially
where my favourite sport is concerned.
I’m a student of the old school for many things, squash being one of
Tim Garner's View
Safety-first at the Super Series?