Celebrating the Class of 2022: First Installment

Thousands of junior squash players of all levels across the country compete and enjoy squash as a regular part of their lives. Each year, hundreds graduate from junior squash while retaining the values practiced in the sport, the close and enduring friendships they have formed, and with an enduring love for squash as a lifelong sport.

Beginning in 2020, US Squash has celebrated the graduating senior class by publishing personal reflections from players on their junior squash careers, and what they look forward to in their next chapter in life and squash.

Below is the first installment for 2022 of this ongoing series. If you are a Class of 2022 high school senior and have not already submitted your own picture and reflection, please follow these instructions to do so.

Please consider honoring members of the Class of 2022 while supporting US Squash’s junior development programs by making a gift to the 2022 Senior Class Gift Initiative. Learn more here.

The past five years of playing squash have included some of the best and worst moments of my life. I’ve spent hours soloing, polishing my swing and movement. I’ve met lifelong friends and mentors. I’ve worked out until I could barely walk the next day, all so I could last a little longer in a match. I’ve experienced every emotion preparing for and playing tournaments, from the joy of winning a final to the frustration of suffering a season-ending injury. The ups and downs of my junior squash career have shaped me. Without the tough losses or the agonizing ghosting sessions, I wouldn’t be half as strong mentally and physically as I am now. Some days, the sport felt more like work, and it was hard to put all my energy into improving. But at the end of the day, I always remembered to enjoy the process, to have fun whenever I played. It’s been a long journey, and I hope squash continues to help me grow as a person.
I have been playing squash for about ten years and I wouldn’t trade it for anything because this sport has brought so much to my life. Squash is something that I always look forward to in my day because I love getting on the court to play and compete, especially with the great friends and teammates this sport has given me. I also find it really great that I am able to hop on the court with my older sister to have fun and practice. These past years of being a part of the squash community have been such an amazing fun experience. Both individual and school tournaments are always a favorite of mine, and I am very excited to continue playing college squash. I can’t wait to continue competing and meeting more people through squash!
Squash means the world to me. Without squash I would not be where I am today. That one try-out in 3rd grade to join CitySquash, an urban squash program in the Bronx, changed my whole life. Through squash I met new people who have helped me in my life journey enabling me to attend Brunswick School. Since the day I started, I have loved the sport, and I have been able to play throughout Middle School and High School with an amazing group of boys. Squash has also given me the opportunity to inspire my younger teammates at CitySquash to strive to be the best no matter the circumstances. I am truly grateful for squash.
Squash has had a significant impact on my life, shaping not only my athletic abilities, but also my educational and personal pursuits. I first picked up a racquet in third grade when I signed up for a few lessons with friends. Though I was not such a great player as a timid eight-year-old, I soon tried again a few years later and just kept playing. Squash, because it is such an individual sport, taught me to be resilient, to stay focused, and to push beyond my comfort zone. These skills greatly helped my academics when I was similarly challenged in school. After moving to the Baldwin School in 9th grade, I joined the squash team where I began to form strong connections with my teammates and coaches. Both as an individual player and a teammate, I have built a supportive network of friends through the close-knit squash community. One of my favorite memories is leading the Baldwin squash team, as co-captain, to the 2022 US Squash High School Nationals finals, an experience I will always remember. I am so excited to continue my squash career in college and to keep making new friends and memories!
Junior squash has been the most important aspect of my childhood and maturation. I’ve made many lasting relationships with friends and coaches that I wouldn’t have otherwise, and every tournament I play is always a good time. There are so many lessons to be learned when you progress through tournaments, especially in the older divisions, such as sportsmanship and learning to enjoy what you do. Going to tournaments away from home is great because I get to see some of my best friends, and it’s always nice to talk to them off court when there is no competition going on. There is always a respectful balance that playing squash has taught me. Joining various junior teams only grew the bonds I made, and I know I will look back on the past years as some of the best in my life because of tournaments and matches with my friends. I owe the squash community so much not only for the squash, but for helping me grow as a person as well. Thank you!
Junior Squash has been such an integral part of my development. I have learned to be a problem solver, teammate, and leader and this has helped me on the court and off. Additionally, I have enjoyed growing as a junior squash player and person and I know I will apply the lessons I learned to my future endeavors.
Junior Squash was one of the most helpful portions of my life. It gave me opportunities to learn and grow as well as meeting friends that will stay with me for life. Squash led me down a path of sportsmanship as well as athletic strength. Playing with friends and teaching the game has only made the better of my experience playing and learning squash. Continuing my squash journey can only hold more experiences that can better me and those around me.
“Isn’t squash a vegetable?” is the first response hurled at me whenever people ask me about the sport I play. I’m proud to play a “vegetable” because squash has to be the most intensive, exhilarating and emotional vegetable ever. The sport inevitably shaped my adolescence; numerous tears cultivated my maturity and triumphs blossomed into dedication. My fondest memory is founding a squash community in my high school through Squash Club. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to spread my passion for squash to people who never heard of the sport before. To every budding squash club member, I encouraged them to register for US Squash tournaments– a chance to test their skills, and most importantly, to have fun. Seeing squash flourish in my high school community is truly a feat that would have never been accomplished without the support of my coach, parents, teachers, and friends. I would like to thank US Squash for nurturing national junior squash programs into the outstanding community it is today.
Junior squash has been one of the most valuable experiences of my childhood and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It taught me grit, integrity, and kindness. I learned how to pick myself up when I was down after a tough loss and how to lose and win graciously. Junior squash gave me friends that I will be close with and cherish forever. However, I would not have achieved everything without the help of my family, coaches, and squash friends and I want to thank them for all of their support through everything. Junior squash opened up my world and taught me lessons that I will never forget, and I will always hold my time playing junior squash very close to my heart.