The Alumni Cup was a day that many alumni were looking forward to. There had been some trash talk over facebook about who would come out on top, and the day finally arrived for everyone to follow through on their boasting.
The event started at 3:30. Little by little, alumni started coming in to the building. Younger kids were wondering who all the tall, older people were. Intermittent cries of joy rang throughout the building as old friends reconnected after months or even years apart. Once the alumni settled down, they were scattered around the building to volunteer. Some were helping in college prep, others in academic studies, and of course some were on the squash courts.
Once they got on the courts, current students began to realize who they were. It helped that each alumna/alumnus had an Alumni Cup t-shirt on. Students sought out alumni and began asking questions like, “How old are you, how long have you been playing squash, when did you graduate from StreetSquash, what university are you going to or did you go to, what jobs do you have,” and the list went on and on.
Before the tournament started, I was helping downstairs with the sixth graders. As I was watching, I saw alumni helping out with squash. They were doing drills with students, running on court and playing points with them. The students were very excited because they wanted to see what skill level the alumni were and wanted to see if they had a chance of even beating them in squash. The way it was looking, it got very competitive between them. Over all it was very exciting seeing all of them here helping out.
At 6pm, the volunteering ended and the moment came for the alumni to gather and get to the business of playing squash. All of the alumni were happy to see each other. There were a lot of alumni I had never met, so I introduced myself to any of them I did not recognize. Moments before the tournament started, Brad, Director of Alumni Outreach, explained to us that it would be a round-robin tournament. Everyone had to play everyone else to five points. The four alumni who ended the round-robin feeder with the highest point total would play a seeded bracket to determine the overall winner.
Then it began! I started seeing alumni hop into courts, challenging one another. Some of the points were fast and some of them were long and grueling. All night I heard, “Hey, lets go. I want to play you,” or, “You go to my rival school; you’re definitely going to lose to me,” and also, “Take it easy playing with me; I haven’t played for a while.” I played with more recent alumni and a few I had not played with for almost eight years. Some of them were tough, but I did the best I could. There were a lot of fantastic players that I had the opportunity to play with. Most of the matches were exciting to watch; so many of them were very competitive and intense. You could feel the excitement in everyone.
As time flew by and many everyone got a lot of squash, all of the alumni were very fatigued. Not every one got the chance to play with each other because there were so many people. Another distraction prevented the round robin from being completed; there was food in the library.
Dinner provided another time for alumni who were not playing to catch up with those who had been occupied on court before. After everyone ate, we were too tired to play so there was no finals draw. Surprisingly, I was one of the top scorers. I was excited to play but not everyone was able to continue. So everyone started to get ready and go home.
This was my very first Alumni Cup and I had a great time. It was great seeing everyone, especially the first group of StreetSquash students. I cannot wait until the next time so many alumni get together to catch up. I am already starting to practice for next year’s Cup, so the rest of the alumni better watch out!