Norwich – An Attempt at Playing Squash

Some of the ideas that my friend Nathan and I have in the pub transpire to be perhaps a little braver in the cold light of day than we had initially anticipated. The latest visionary idea this week is us playing squash, although he’s quite competent at that, and it’s fair to say that I’m not. The idea was that we would have a little go today, which sounded a marvellous idea at the time.

On reflection the day after I realised that there was the little problem that I wasn’t really kitted out for all of this. My trainers were rather muddier than I had remembered them being, primarily as I keep walking everywhere traipsing through fields. The upshot of all that is that I required a morning trip to Sports Direct, the only shop that I could find that sold suitable shoes at a bargain price.

I meandered into Sports Direct and was already slightly pre-annoyed as it’s a controversial company that isn’t perhaps always known for doing the right thing. Anyway, I decided not to get too involved in the politics of commerce and I was moderately annoyed to find that for the first time in years when I needed assistance from the staff that they weren’t very forthcoming. After I had decided this was all too much stress I found a staff member and asked where the squash shoe things were. It transpired that I was standing next to them, which wasn’t ideal as it made me look like an idiot, but I was able to answer the key question asked of me quite decisively. Namely answering the “how much are you looking to spend?” with the answer of “these ones look the cheapest, I’ll have these”. Bargain found in the shoe size that was convenient, I then went to Pret to have a rest. I can see now why people need to go to a cafe after shopping, it’s frankly exhausting.

I’ve digressed here. I nervously walked to the squash courts to see Nathan looking like Jonah Barrington, which didn’t add to my confidence levels. Fortunately, he proved to be a very tolerant and good teacher (Nathan, not Jonah, although I’m sure that he was too) and he was able to turn the heating off in the courts which was my first concern. Why the hell is there heating in a squash court? I was reassured that there was no-one in the viewing gallery area above, as that would have very definitely annoyed me.

There seems to be a lot of running about and the ball bounces in a slightly different way to what I had expected, with rather more walls to bounce the ball off than I had anticipated. The serving bit was a bit of a faff for me for a while, but I’m nearly professional quality at that now. I will accept that I’m not of an Olympic standard yet (although having checked, squash isn’t in the Olympics which seems an omission to me) but maybe in a few weeks.

I read on Wikipedia that there are four main types of player which are power players, shotmakers, retrievers and attritional players. I felt like a retriever for the first part of the session collecting the ball from where I had missed hitting it when it went flying by me, although I suspect in a different meaning of the word. I also looked up what the technical word for the ball was in squash, and I’ve discovered that it’s “ball”. I had expected something a little more decadent.

All told, I rather enjoyed the whole experience, although writing this a few hours on, my ankles aren’t perhaps as sympathetic to the whole arrangement as I am. They seem to be a bit sore, but I’m not sure I’ve given my ankles such exercise before. I shall be going back next week, partly because I’ve now spent £20 on shoes but also because it was quite an interesting little adventure. It’s exhausting, but it has the advantage over long distance walking that it’s only very tiring for a relatively short period of time….