It is the unspoken duty of all lawyers to raise awareness on often sensitive and contentious issues, such as environmental awareness and corporate social responsibility. As the very sensible and serious lawyer that I am, I too must do my part to encourage the world to be a better place, one squash game at a time.
I have endured several knocks in my short squash club membership; most notably, the bruise the size of a round rubber ball in the middle of my back. While its all fun and games with most, there are a few adults who didn’t get the memo about basic sports etiquette.
First, there was Player 1. In the interests of protecting Jeff’s identity, I refer to him as Player 1. Oh, Player 1, where to start? He was quite an agreeable gentleman when we first met. He let me serve first, complimented my return and laughed at all my lame squash puns. Perhaps he realised he had been a little too generous with his initial engagements because he was kind enough to start losing the game. Quite an achievement in itself; most blind Cockerspaniels could play better squash than me. It brought out a personality complex I was unprepared for. Jeff – sorry Player 1, let out a roar akin to that of Mel Gibson at the end of Braveheart. After he’d quite finished emptying his lungs, he seemed to recover his composure until he lost the next point. Instead of taking it on the chin graciously as one would expect, he indulged in a good old foot stomp accompanied by some colourful swear words. At this point, it’s appropriate to point out that our game was intended to be a social knock up and not an Olympic finals showdown. At the end of the game, he regained his senses, and he enthusiastically shook my hand, thanked me for the game and gave me a friendly pat on the back with a big smile. He seemed to have forgotten his previous war-monger display that had occurred about 10 minutes prior.
Next, there was Player 2. Concealing Player 2’s identity is an admittedly redundant exercise. It is likely he would never read anything on the internet; he is probably too busy liking his own Facebook pictures. Player 2 is an excellent squash player but has the diffidence of an overtired eight-year-old on a sugar high. I can’t decide what was worse: the continuous compliments he gave himself after every shot or, his unsavoury habit of wiping sweat on the wall. On the one instance when I did win a point, I discovered he too was a fan of the film Braveheart and liked to bellow profanities at the top of his lungs. You would be forgiven for thinking he was overcome by some epileptic fit, but no, he just hadn’t beaten me 9-love as he’d intended. As if I hadn’t gathered he was upset, he emphasised his emotional outrage by hitting his racquet against the floor. Angry apes beat their chests as a physical display of aggression; angry “sportsmen” throw racquets. After about 20-minutes of this Pantomime, I had to interrupt the game to ask if he wouldn’t mind engaging in a rally instead of belting the ball into oblivion – I was concerned I might have mistakenly signed myself up to a game of dodgeball. He didn’t take it well. Needless to say, I deferred all future squash games until the 12th of Never.
Fortunately, these experiences are infrequent and most players are grounded, good-humoured folk that are simply looking for a run around after work. Bravo, may you keep your merry spirits. If you do recall moments that you have allowed your temperament to lapse into a more primitive state, have a moment to reflect on how pleasant it is when someone congratulates you on winning the point rather than hitting you “accidentally” in the back with a ball. Next time you’re about to throw your racquet out of court, perform a Haka. This has proven to be a highly successful means of taking the ugly out of discourteous competitive behaviour and bringing about a few cheers instead.
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