In the heart of the squash season, some of our most enthusiastic squash players were treated to a trip to Vassar College to watch the Liberty League Championships. This year, the tournament saw competition between St. Lawrence University, the University of Rochester, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Vassar College, and Bard College, many of which are now home to StreetSquash college squash players! Our StreetSquashers were eager to get a firsthand look at competitive college squash, and the Liberty League Championships did not disappoint.
Upon arriving at Vassar, the students took a tour of the campus which sparked questions about class sizes at a small college, residential dorm life, the variety of subjects one could major in, from Biology to Fine Arts, and whether or not it smelled better on campus than in the city. (Majority ruled: it did). We found trees to climb, statues of historical figures, and a display of telescopes built by women who studied at Vassar over 100 years ago!
When it was finally time to watch matches, the eighth graders watched in awe as Djeneba ’16 went on to win a thrilling five-game match against her opponent from Vassar. Afterwards, Djeneba introduced the young ladies to her newest teammate who is an alum of CitySquash. Both college players answered questions from our StreetSquashers about the intensity of college squash and how to balance school with squash. Habibatou ‘22, Roché ‘22, and Ixayana ‘22 agreed that they were motivated by the trip when Ixayana explained that “seeing college squash is so different when you usually just see middle and high schoolers- there is so much team spirit and intense matches, I feel like it’s a really different experience playing.”
When the St. Lawrence team arrived, students and staff were all very excited to see StreetSquash alumnae Cindy and Arelis ‘16, who also fielded questions about college squash and served as awesome role models on court. Cindy, Class of 2016, explained that college squash has not only improved her skills on court, but has also helped benefit her life outside of squash. “My communication skills and time management have improved,” said Cindy. She also urged everyone that “before joining any college sport ask yourself if it is something you want to commit to; it can be time-consuming with all of the traveling and practices. I saw myself grow on and off the squash court which shows me that college squash is worth my time and commitment.”
The young men on the trip were completely stunned by the level of intensity of college squash as well. Gael ‘23 watched the first point of a match between the Rochester and St. Lawrence #3s and gasped, “this is going to be a long match.” While Jack led the boys through an exciting day of men’s college squash at Vassar, seeing alumni play was a highlight. The guys were able to see Divine ‘14, Terrence ‘12, and Trevor ‘17 all playing on the Hobart team. Following the matches, the StreetSquash students and alumni congregated off court to chat about college sports, and even took a great picture as an entire StreetSquash crew!
With so many alum around playing college matches, the network of Squash and Education student-athletes grew strong as our students were also able to connect with alum of SquashBusters, CitySquash, and SquashHaven for advice and squash inspiration.