Imagine a random situation at home. What are the conversations about? Are they always about squash? No, no, also on other topics? E.g.; “What does the week look like?” Read: what needs to be arranged in terms of food and transportation in connection with squash training. “Let’s see what’s on the agenda this weekend”. Read: can we all go to that birthday, or do we go separately because of the tournament………………………………….. And then there are all kinds of conversations about physio, sports equipment, the importance of good food and sleep (because preparation for the tournament), holidays (or there are training camps), etc…
After all, school is the most important thing of all, right? But that’s also what squash is all about; When is the test week? Doesn’t that coincide with tournaments? Holiday training? Will they be at your school during the holidays? You have to get good grades, otherwise you won’t get permission for your tournaments abroad! What further education are you going to do? Are they flexible about training and tournaments?
I see parents who, in my opinion, are far too fanatical about their sporting child. It’s just a hobby, it’s about “the fun”. But why do I see parents who just get ugly when their child is about to lose? Or if an idiot screams when their child makes a point. Or, even worse, they grin when the opponent makes a mistake or even becomes sad. Or even worse, who don’t speak to their child if he/she misbehaves in a disgraceful way!
For us, the most important thing has always been to gain life experience; to learn to deal with winning and losing, to be able to stay abroad alone, and to get along with everyone else in the world in social terms. In other words: experiences you can use for the rest of your life.
And then comes the day he or she indicates that they don’t like it so much anymore. “All the pressure, all the pressure, all the people who expect something from you. I’m tired of that”. We have always said: as long as he/she likes it, fine. As soon as he/she doesn’t like it anymore; also good! But the latter is not fair. It hurts, you are sad, surprised and also a bit disappointed. After all, he or she has invested years (and you too) in money, time, effort and care. And that’s suddenly gone. You see all the opportunities and possibilities that are offered to him/her go up in smoke. All experiences that he/she could still have are not going through…
Nonsense! He/she is still young and can, so to speak, turn around tomorrow like a leaf on a tree and pick up the hobby more fanatically. If not, then not. We can’t look into the future, we can’t and shouldn’t map out the life of our child. We can only contribute to him/her growing up to be a good person. That is the only achievement you can show off as a parent. Not with the titles and victories; they are the merit of your child!
I regularly write my columns with a critical undertone. With a certain topicality I express my opinion in the text I have written. That can and may be done in a column.
As long as I walk around in the squash community, I observe and analyse the situation. What my senses pick up is used as food for a new piece of writing. Almost everything that happens or doesn’t happen is reviewed. I’m talking about sweaty hands that are wiped from the glass and not so much as that. I’m talking about Tommy Berden who, as organizer of the World Cup in Rotterdam, was the only one who wasn’t thanked for his efforts. When something like that is noticed it deserves attention.
Also the free glass of water during the competition was a subject. Now I’m not the hardest but I think as an athlete also in the interest of the club. Without a club there is no sport. One cannot do without the other. No matter how independent we want to be. We have and it all needs each other.
Speaking of which, now that it’s no longer as ‘booming’ as it used to be, our sport needs every form of promotion. Otherwise, we will simply look for alternatives. Interactive squash, soccer squash, glow in the dark squash. Courts are used as storage space, meeting room, fitness room, yoga studio. What’s next? What’s wrong with just an old-fashioned game of squash? Isn’t that fun enough? Do we all have to paddle en masse? Or is that as hype as little brother ricochet?
For a national promotional campaign I pointed in the direction of Squash Bond Nederland. Since this season the association is more active on social media, which I warmly applaud. As soon as I open Facebook or Instagram I see a message from SBN. And why not? It costs nothing!
I write my column