When people think of squash, they usually just think of a yellow maraca-shaped vegetable. But squash is also the name of a sport that offers a lot of benefits, especially to young people.
It’s an indoor sport that consists of smacking a small rubber ball against the walls of a specifically measured room, much like racquetball. The back wall, as many call it, is usually made of glass. This way spectators can fully enjoy the match. Like baseball has innings, squash consists of matches.
Squash is both a national and international sport. There are squash courts located in Egypt, where many professional squash tournaments have taken place, in India and England, and countless countries more. Squash players and people associated with them have been trying to get squash to become an Olympic sport.
SquashBusters, a non-profit urban squash program for young people, is located at the Badger and Rosen SquashBusters center on the Northeastern University campus in Roxbury Crossing. The program helps students in many ways.
For high school students, there is help getting into college. Many colleges have squash as one of their intramural sports, so it couldn’t hurt to already know the sport before a student gets there.
Middle school students get help trying to get into good schools. The program provides kids with homework and academic help that takes place in their classrooms; squash training on eight squash courts; participation in various community services; and travel to many different cities and states for tournaments.
In squash, people exercise all of the muscles they never knew they had. It’s a method of fighting childhood obesity. At the same time, young people make and meet new friends. Having fun is just another side-effect of playing.
Making this sport and SquashBusters better known to the public would make a great change, and could broaden young kids’ lives. If squash were played more throughout the neighborhood, it would definitely have a positive affect on everyone, especially the younger population. Kids get to do what they love and stay active and out of trouble while they learn to develop responsibility, hard work and dedication.
The writer is a WriteBoston Caroline Knapp intern at the Gazette this summer. She will be a senior at The Engineering School in Hyde Park High this fall. She has played squash with SquashBusters for three years.