What's On My Mind

In Response to Richard Millman's Post of 24 April
by Guy Cipriano

April 27, 2015

I had the pleasure of playing with my son Peter  in the US National Father- Son doubles tournament in Boston this weekend. The topic of Mr.  Richard Millman’s DSR opinion piece from 24 April came up in discussion at the cocktail party on Saturday night and again on Sunday morning in the gallery . Many of the fathers and sons  had read the post and were quite forthcoming with their comments. To recap, the consensus of opinion  among both the fathers and sons, as a result of my extremely un –scientific discussions, were:

1.      Nobody thought that attending college for seven years, using  a semester on/semester off program , was a good idea. In fact the idea was unanimously panned . The overwhelming sentiment among the fathers with whom I spoke  was  that three years lost at the start of a career had  a significant  economic  impact and that the opportunity cost was sky high. After three years a college alumnus could be out of law school, or  finished with two years of work and year one of business school, or well into another industrial or commercial career. Given that  the cost of  attending an elite university is  over $50k per annum, recouping that investment was deemed by the fathers  to be very important and not worth delaying graduation  for the pursuit of professional squash.

2.      I was informed that some colleges ( Princeton being one) will not permit a student to take only one semester off- it has to be an entire year off  , or not at all.

3.      Everybody present knew that former Drysdale Cup winners Yasser El Halaby and Baset Ashfaq Chaudhry,  arguably  the two  finest players ever to play collegiate squash,  had elected to come to America and pursue  their education in conjunction with playing collegiate squash precisely because they did not want to pursue a pro squash career. Messrs. El Halaby and Chaudhry are now quite successfully  working on Wall Street , and  almost everybody with whom I spoke  knew that  .

4.       Even the youngsters playing in the Under 15 flight knew that America is a capitalistic society.  They opined that young American  hyper – elite athletes are going to pursue participation in sports with the highest professional pay- off: basketball, baseball, football, hockey , golf or tennis. Squash pays very little when judged against other major sports . The young men said that if you’re going to pursue a professional sports career you should do it in a sport where you can make  a huge amount of money and date super- models .

5.      Not one single father with whom I spoke, and I made it a point to speak with  two dozen ,  advocated that his son should play professional squash. The fathers of the younger players all aspired for their sons to play collegiate squash and  to continue playing competitive tournament squash after graduation, but as a recreation, not as a vocation. For the fathers whose sons had  already been graduated from  college and were  playing in the event, they were overjoyed that their sons were still active in the game, playing at a good standard, remaining fit, and having joy in participating in tournament play.