When we first started on our journey to build a squash facility, we thought it would be a for-profit venture. But very quickly we ran up against several obstacles:
  1. There are many things that you can do with real estate that are vastly more profitable than squash.
  2. Getting a profitable return from squash with real estate prices in Manhattan is extraordinarily difficult and risky.
  3. There are many things that we want to do with our squash center that do not fall neatly in line with a for-profit motive. Building diversity, community and reasonable pricing into the mix are just three examples – but there are many, many more.
As we discussed and met among ourselves, we came to realize that we really want to create is a place where the general public can enjoy the sport we love. There are many places to play squash in New York that cater to the more fortunate among us (The University Club, Racquet and Tennis, The Union Club, The Union League Club, NY Athletic Club and a variety of University-affiliated facilities). And there are others that are doing amazing work for the opposite end of the economic spectrum. In New York, we are all supporters of both City Squash and Street Squash. But if you think of income as a bell curve with the vast majority of people in the middle, there are fewer and fewer places for the general public to play. Over the past 8 years we have seen The Printing House, Lincoln Center and 86th Street all close. And in the years prior to that there were massive numbers of clubs that closed. We all have had incredibly positive experiences from squash. And while it’s true that squash is one of the most demanding sports in the world and if you play you end up being incredibly fit, the desire to be fit is not the only or even the main reason we want squash to become more accessible. As every squash player knows, we learn more about someone after five minutes on a squash court than we could in a lifetime of meetings. And that breeds deep friendships and community. Squash also teaches us how to behave with others. Many of the rules are nuanced and outcomes can be debated: Let? Stroke? In? Out? Up? Down? Players that seek victory by manipulating the nuances are soon found out and over time remarkably few people end up behaving in this way. Unlike many other sports, we don’t have to have a particular physique to play squash. While it’s helpful to be tall, it’s also helpful to be short and fast. The only thing all champions have in common is that they are all incredibly fit. They are big, small, short, and tall. It’s a game anyone can be great at. And it’s fun! Whatever your level, there’s always an opponent for you, and getting together and playing this game (because at its heart, it is a game) is just plain old simple fun. Sometimes it can feel like chess, and sometimes it feels like court sprints, but it’s a rare day that a squash player comes off court feeling regretful. Everyone has their mission in life. And crazy as this may sound, our mission is to make the world a better place by hitting a small dead ball around four white walls. Oh, the lessons you will learn…
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