Outdoor Squash Growing in Popularity As Courts Sprout Up in New York & El Salvador
With coronavirus restrictions preventing many from playing squash at their regular indoor facilities, SEA community members and affiliate organizations have been exploring squash outdoors.
In New York, CitySquash and StreetSquash alumni and staff have been checking out a newly constructed court in Queens. Built by Maspeth Welding Arts, the court’s front and side walls are made of steel. The court is the brainchild of squash players Jeff Anschlowar, the owner of Maspeth Welding, and Robert Gibralter, a longtime StreetSquash volunteer.
Squash Para Todos in El Salvador, a sister organization of Squash Urbano Colombia, is in the process of constructing a seven-court outdoor squash complex to serve 250 students. Squash Para Todos was founded by Carlos Schonenberg, a former staff member of Access Youth Academy in San Diego, and is inspired by the SEA model. Construction is underway on the complex, and some have even begun testing out the courts (see video below).
In California, SEA member program SquashDrive is working with the Oakland Parks Department to push for the construction of outdoor public courts, a feat that Public Squash accomplished in partnership with NYC Parks in 2018.
At the same time that efforts to move squash outdoors are taking place, US Squash is in the process of building a 20-court national training facility in Philadelphia, the Arlen Specter Center, reflecting a broader movement within the squash community to increase access to the sport.
“Outdoor squash has the potential to be game changer for the SEA network and serve as a powerful model for the entire squash community,” says Tim Wyant, SEA’s Executive Director. “Not only does it offer the opportunity to play this great game outside, but it has the potential to increase the sport’s visibility and accessibility and generate new interest in communities.”