Update: November 2, 2020:
After the below-referenced article was published in The Atlantic November 2020 issue, serious questions arose about the accuracy of sourcing and the information presented. On November 1, The Atlantic issued a full retraction of the article. The editor’s note surrounding the retraction can be read here: Atlantic Editor’s Note.
Prior to the retraction, US Squash Chairwoman of the Board Soo Venkatesan and Squash and Education Alliance Chairman of the Board sent a joint letter to the Editor of The Atlantic in hopes that it fosters a deeper understanding for their readership of where the sport of squash stands, and where we’re going. That letter is reprinted below.
Many of you have read or heard about the recent article on youth sports in the November 2020 issue of The Atlantic magazine. We are disappointed by the portrayal of the sport loved by so many of us. It is unfortunate the author used an outdated and distorted image of squash to sensationalize the article’s premise, and in the process denigrated valued members of our community, and the squash community at large.
We understand that there are challenges in society that impact the youth sports culture in America. There are macro issues regarding college admissions in this country. Undue pressure on kids (and their coaches) to succeed is part of every youth sports’ culture. And increasingly the U.S. has a concerning gap in opportunities for kids across the socioeconomic spectrum to participate in and benefit from youth sports.
US Squash’s mission is to increase access, support lifelong engagement, encourage sportsmanship and achieve excellence. Articles such as this make us that much more determined in the ongoing pursuit of our mission, and we see evidence of progress everywhere.
This includes the growing number of Community Affiliate programs nationally, the infrastructure investments we’ve made to support the community’s efforts to expand access, the opening of our own facility in one of only 22 federally-designated Promise Zones and our consistent emphasis of the value of good sportsmanship.
Tests to the fabric of our community such as this provide a clear reminder of just how much the sport brings to our lives, our families and our community. The values of fairness, courtesy, respect and personal accountability are learned and reinforced in squash. These shared values are embedded in the sport itself – they bring us together as a community through deep and abiding friendships.
US Squash’s commitment has never been stronger to our vision: for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds across the country to be able to enjoy squash, play the game with a positive spirit, and participate in programs that foster camaraderie, facilitate competition and encourage healthy lifestyles.
With your involvement and support, US Squash and the squash community will remain focused on our mission-based work.
President & CEO
- Squash is a dynamic, diverse and multi-faceted sport far from outdated stereotypes perpetuated by media.
- Squash has seen an increase in college recruiting spots awarded to low-income, first generation students in large part thanks to the efforts of Squash and Education Alliance (SEA) programs.
- The community is generous, devoted to equity and inclusion, motivated to give back to the sport, and thousands volunteer to coach and mentor youth in their daily lives.
- US Squash’s Community Affiliate Program promotes and accelerates the reach of community access programs.
- US Squash will open the 20-court Arlen Specter US Squash Center in one of 22 national Promise Zones with a broad community mandate.
- Squash is one of the few truly lifelong sports, fielding national championships through the 80+ age category.