Report courtesy of Julie Warshaw, StreetSquash PR & Communications Coordinator
On Saturday, March 28, the first two urban squash teams in the country met at Yale University for the sixteenth annual match between rival cities Boston and New York. Despite a spring snowfall covering the streets of New Haven, over seventy students from SquashBusters, founded in Boston 1996, and StreetSquash, founded in Harlem in 1999, successfully made the trip to compete in the longest running competition in urban squash history.
Upon arrival at Yale’s Brady Squash Center, both teams jumped on the courts wearing their respective uniforms with pride. StreetSquash executive director, George Polsky, gave a pre-match speech to the StreetSquashers, helping the vivacious students get focused and ready to play.
“It is the oldest, longest rivalry in urban squash, ” explained Polsky, “so the match is very exciting for everyone involved.” Although SquashBusters holds the lead with a 10-6 record, StreetSquash has brought home the victory for the past four years—an exciting feat for the students who have been attending the annual competition for several years now.
“This was my fourth and final year playing in the match, ” said Kamali W, StreetSquash ’15. “It was definitely a bittersweet moment, but I was happy to secure the win.” Kamali, who played in the No. 1 spot for the StreetSquash girls, won her match in an exhilarating five-game battle against Jennifer M, SquashBusters ’17.
While the girls’ No. 1 match was one of the most rousing of the afternoon, it was the camaraderie exchanged between the two athletes that was most rewarding to watch. Reflecting on Jennifer’s performance during the closing ceremony, Polsky remarked “it is always easy to have a great attitude when you’re winning, but it is far more difficult to have such a positive spirit when you’re behind.” Jennifer’s infectious energy and admirable sportsmanship was Polsky’s highlight from the whole afternoon.
Other notable matches included a rematch between Kenny, StreetSquash ’15, and George, SquashBusters ’17. Kenny, who played at the No. 6 spot for StreetSquash, has worked tirelessly to improve his game, having gotten a late start in competitive squash when he joined the program as a junior in the fall of 2013.
Kenny and George went head to head at Urban Individuals last June, where George defeated Kenny in the BU17 draw. Both athletes were eager to meet again at Yale, where Kenny ultimately clinched the win after one of the most nerve-wracking competitions of the day.
The afternoon concluded with a score of 34-6 in StreetSquash’s favor, and a closing ceremony where the StreetSquash and SquashBusters seniors were recognized for their dedication over the past several years.