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March Madness, and the squash nationals too

While the Berkshire Encyclopedia of Extreme Sports is at the printer, the buzz in the office is more traditional sport. I walked into the big room where four staffers work (known alternately as the “action room” and “Animal House”), to hear Erin Connor and Liz Steffey talking not about China and sustainability (their very much overlapping projects) but exchanging college basketball scores. Rachel, too, our 18-year-old intern (and my daughter), was eager to know about Indiana and USC and Creighton.

But we have a sports championship going on this weekend with even greater personal interest. Preston Quick, who is near and dear to Liz (I’m not allowed to use other possible descriptive terms, or at least don’t know which to use), is playing in the U.S. nationals in Portland, OR. We went to see him play in Albany two weeks ago, and to Liz’s dismay that’s what I now think all squash looks like (she plays at a high level herself, but apparently these professionals are something else again). It was the first time I’ve seen squash in real life, and I’m always surprised by how different this is from photos or television: the human drama is much more exciting, and the physical demands of top level sports is more obvious. We went out for a drink afterwards and Preston, with another match to play the next morning, then headed home to take an ice bath. This apparently is the equivalent of hours of icing different body parts. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

We have a number of young athletes in the office, and as the weather warms up you’ll no doubt read more about them here. Rachel isn’t among them, but she loves watching football and now, it turns out, squash. At the end of the first game, in which there was a lot of argument from Preston’s opponent, Liz asked if she needed an explanation of what was going on and what the rules are. “No,” said Rachel, “I think the other guy explained everything when he was talking to the referee.”

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