Hear the call.
Let’s not deny that it’s been a tough few years. Covid, the consequent economic difficulties for all those affected by the pandemic, then the war in Ukraine and the further economic pressure created by further supply chain, fuel price increases, food crises and a host of other challenges to daily life – all this has made recreation and the resumption of living a happy, productive life difficult.
When we met in Charlottesville and I spoke to the assembled masters squash players of the world at our finals dinner, as we presented the Nations Cup to England and the Small Nations Cup to Spain, I attempted to greet all of you in your own language.
Why? Because I wanted to celebrate our separate, unique, rich and powerful community, coming together to both compete and celebrate the sport that we all love.
In my earlier speech at our get together at a local cafe in Charlottesville, I likened the World Master’s Squash community to the Tour de France’s Peloton.
The Peloton is comprised of many different teams and countries and competition is fierce.
But the Peloton is also an incredibly supportive group and there are many occasion when, in the face of challenges to the entire group, the Peloton acts as one and fiercely protects each and every member of the group.
Yes they are proud of their nationality. Yes they are proud of their team. But should a threat emerge to the Peloton as a whole, national identities and team loyalties are forgotten and the Peloton closed ranks to protect every member of the group and secure the future of the entire body.
Now is such a time for our Peloton. The Peloton of World Masters Squash.
Hasta La Vista Squash in Poland, has fought through Covid and now they are fighting through the war with Ukraine and the consequent economic crisis.
They are our hosts. The hosts of our community. The longer the delay before our community reconstitutes in celebration of our sport, the weaker it will become. Your Peloton needs you.
Yes I know the Aussies are miffed that the Pommies took the Nations Cup by a hair’s breadth last time. And the Springboks want it back. The French and Canadians are likely to have something to say. The Scots would love to take the Small Nations cup back from Spain and I am sure the Dutch, Germans, Kiwis and Japanese would like to argue the point.
But first and foremost we need to gather. Gather to strengthen our bonds. Bonds that for many go back half a century. Bonds that must never be broken.
So I am calling you to Wroclaw. Calling you to gather and play and laugh, and fight and cry. But most of all to gather, whether your daily greeting is Namaste or How’s it or Bonjour or Buenas Dias or Salaam Alaikum. Come to Wroclaw and say Dzien Dobry to everyone who plays squash in Poland.
The World Masters Squash Peloton is calling you. We need you.
Will you answer the call?