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On This Day in History, February 4: Casino’s Squash Event — 1937

For the record — squash tennis is played on a four-walled court, and usually “singles” is the game played. The court for this sport is 32 feet long and 18½ feet wide; its front and side walls are each 16 feet high, and its rear wall is 9 feet high. Rackets are used as in regular tennis, only smaller in size, and a black rubber ball is used. A game consists of 15 points.

The game is begun by one of the players hitting the ball so that it strikes the front wall above the service line, which is 6½ feet above the floor; the ball must be returned only off the front wall. A point is scored by the player whose opponent misses the ball; fails to return it to the front wall above the telltale, a metal box ½ inch thick that extends 16 inches above the floor; or makes the ball strike either the ceiling or back wall. In squash tennis only the server can score a point. A match consists of the best two out of three or three out of five games.

The Daily Eagle sports page of Feb. 4, 1937, reported on the Metropolitan Squash Racquets doubles competition held at the Heights Casino on Montague Street the preceding evening. Edwin Bigelow and Alfred Paine of the home club, last Brooklyn survivors, were downed by W. Stapley Wonham and D. Lee Norris of the Field Club, Greenwich.

The Heights Casino in Brooklyn Heights might well be called the squash center of the universe. Its squash courts are internationally famous. Even the architecture of the building, constructed in 1905, reflects on the outside that there are squash courts within. The building is Dutch Renaissance-inspired with brick laid in  patterns to enliven the blank walls where squash courts preclude the use of windows. Iron tie rods on the walls take the form of squash rackets.

Since 1925, there have been men’s squash rackets singles champs and since 1932, doubles champs. Although there have been women Casino tennis champs since 1906, that gender didn’t officially enter the squash scene until 1974. Since 1975, the Carol Weymuller open squash tournament for women has been held annually at the Casino. The Casino also schedules a number of other annual squash tournaments and is noted in the world of sports for the number of squash champions it turns out.

The Feb. 4, 1934, edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle also had squash news:

Pool by Beating Beekman

Keeps Squash Title

“In one of the finest matches seen in New York in many years, Beekman Pool of the Harvard Club retained his metropolitan squash racquets championship by defeating William H. Coyle of the Montclair A.C. yesterday at the University Club. Pool, who is also national champion, won his second ‘met’ title with a 15-11, 15-13, 15-8 victory.

“Coyle had his best chance to take a game in the second session when Pool overtook him after he led, 13-11. When the score reached 13-11, Coyle elected to play out the game instead of asking for the usual ‘set’ of five. The Jersey youngster was beginning to show the effects of the strain and the third game was almost a one-sided rout for Pool.

“The Harvard man bore down and started to hit harder than ever in an effort to end the match as soon as possible. Coyle established a 3-0 lead in the third game, but this advantage soon disappeared and in a few minutes Pool won the match.”

February 3, 2012 - 3:01pm


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