Posts Tagged will to win

Squash Spree With Champion Players

Just had an exhilarating squash fest—attended matches three out of four days, and hit balls three sessions for an hour each, once with a former champion professional player and top coach. Also played some tough singles tennis in the mix as well.

Trinity wins its 11th national squash team title-2/09

Trinity wins its 11th national squash team title-2/09

Two of the viewing contests were at a New England Small College teams three-day conference, which was won by both the men’s and women’s Trinity College teams. The men’s side is astonishing, having won the national championship 11 years in a row and their last 220 consecutive matches…a record for all sports in the world. The women’s team is number two in the country, rising steadily each year from fifth place in 2007.

Trinity’s men’s team has many super-talented players. Included among them are three of the top 10 players in the country and five of the top 20. At the head of the list is Baset Chaudhry, who has earned the nation’s first place individual position three years in a row. He is soft-spoken and gentle off the court, but a formidable opponent whose win-loss career record at Trinity is 52-2.

Baset Chaudhry after winning the national squash singles title—2/09

Baset Chaudhry after winning the national squash singles title—2/09


I also witnessed a very exciting challenge match within the Trinity women’s team. The number three-ranked player, Nour Bahgat, took five games to beat the number two player, Nayelly Hernandez, and squeaked out a game-five win at 13-11 (it takes 11 to win, but it has to be by two points). In 2009 Nour was the top college women’s squash player. Injuries kept her lower on the ladder this year, so now that she is well enough to play, she is clawing her way back up to the top.
Nour Bahgat is fighting to regain the #1 spot in women's singles

Nour Bahgat is fighting to regain the #1 spot in women's singles


Though down 0-5 in the first game and 6-10 in the second, she fought fiercely to win both. Nayelly came back in the next two games to force a very tight fifth game. The whole match seemed filled with some pushing and body contact, yelling and frustration. But the drive to win was almost visible for both players. I admire so much how athletes who are behind have the will and determination to not give up and make extraordinary efforts to overcome the momentum against them…and then they win.

The Trinity men’s coach, Paul Assaiante, was the referee, and one of his pointers to the women afterward was that the contest was a good learning lesson. They both received more experience in how rough a match can be when they compete against other school’s players.

My three, squash-hitting sessions were capped off with hard drills by Nour’s father, Mohsen, who had trained her since age five, competed in international tournaments as a youth and won the Egyptian Masters (over 40-years) tournaments each year from 2005 to 2009. He is 57 and has a long history of training, coaching teams, consulting and refereeing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Watch Caroline Collapse, Cry and Fight Back

This was high drama—an amazing, unforgettable inspirational finish of a tennis match at Doha, Qatar. I saw it on TV (Oct 29). You will rarely see such a moving and shocking performance. Watch at least the first 90 seconds, no more than six minutes. Ignore the poor quality—it doesn’t matter. Caroline Wozniacki came in second at the 2009 US Open in mid-September, is No. 4 in women’s tennis, and at the 2009 Luxembourg Open (ended October 25th) she quit a match one game shy of victory. The 19-year-old Dane retired with a hamstring injury while leading Anne Kremer of Luxembourg 7-5, 5-0.)

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Can You Change Personalities And Become A Killer On The Court?

In the game on July 1st, when the other team was behind, one of my opponents told his partner to “Play for blood!” And that partner would then really get miffed with his own teammate when a point was lost: “Why didn’t you move back to the center? How could you miss that shot?” he would ask with annoyance.

I also noticed that after a point, when the first guy fed me a ball, so that I could serve, he hit it back to me low, hard, and with lots of top spin. I usually just lob the ball over in a gentle way when I feed the server.

I think of myself as an easy-going type. Though competitive, I can’t usually forget serious problems in the world or the troubles people I know are dealing with. So I don’t get upset if I lose. I mean it’s just a game, and we are out there to have fun. If my partner screws up or double faults, big deal. My main goal is for me to play well. I may become disappointed when I hit long or in the net. I may feel apologetic that I am letting my partner down or not giving the other guys a better game. But I don’t get angry.

Now I’d also heard for years that if you watch someone playing almost any sport, you can see their personality in action. If they cheat in the game, they probably do it in business. I am gentle, so I lob the ball back easily. Someone else is tough, he fires it back with vigor. But I also want to hit a hard, fast tennis ball in the game, so of course I should do it in practice and now maybe at all times on the court. I want to be tougher, rougher, gruffer and meaner in “play” than I am in real life. In fact:

I WANT TO BE A KILLER! I AM OUT FOR BLOOD!! I WILL NOT TAKE ANY PRISONERS!!!!! Read the rest of this entry »

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