Dinerman’s A History Of The Briggs Cup, Benefiting CitySquash Released

Dateline December 14, 2022 ---  Rob Dinerman’s latest book, A History Of The Briggs Cup, Benefiting CitySquash, was released during the 2022 Briggs Cup, a biennial professional doubles tournament that was held this past weekend at the Apawamis Club in Rye, where Peter Briggs, the tournament honoree, has been the Director of Squash since 1988. This was the tenth edition, and to mark that milestone occasion the club commissioned Dinerman to chronicle the event’s history in this 132-page document containing a host of photos, compelling personal stories and riveting match descriptions of a competition whose unprecedented structuring and partnership with CitySquash arose out of a wish permeating the entire atmosphere surrounding the concept of adding a major tournament to the professional doubles tour during the early-2000’s time frame that such an undertaking should, in the words of one Committee member, “have a higher purpose” than merely serving as a well-paying competitive opportunity for the pros and a weekend of entertainment for the Apawamis members. Briggs had been a supporter of SquashBusters, the first urban squash program, virtually from the time it began operations in Boston in 1996, as had a number of Apawamis members, two of them, former late-1970’s Dartmouth College roommates, classmates and squash teammates Steve Mandel and Peer Pedersen, came up with the pioneering plan of selecting CitySquash, the urban squash organization based in the Bronx that had only recently begun operations, as the Briggs Cup’s official charity.

Crucially, the Apawamis membership responded with wholehearted enthusiasm to the opportunity to essentially support the nascent organization through the medium of a professional doubles squash tournament, and their sizable contributions resulted in several hundred thousand dollars flowing to CitySquash in the inaugural event in 2003, creating a degree of purpose and momentum that has carried right through the two decades that have followed. During that time, this championship has witnessed a series of memorable matches, outcomes, twists of fate (on- and off-court and compelling personal stories that have often defined the entire pro doubles season in which they occurred. Four players, one of whom didn’t even compete in the 2015 tournament due to injury and was only at Apawamis because he lived nearby and wanted to see some matches, met the people who turned out shortly thereafter to be their respective spouses during that weekend, and, and in another highly unusual development 10 years earlier, a chance between-matches conversation in the club’s gallery set off in motion the establishment of the first urban program located in the Midwest. On court, the superstars of pro doubles squash --- most notably Damien Mudge, who won this championship five times, each time with a different partner --- enhanced their legacies, but such has been the depth of the competition that no pairing of the same two players has ever won this tournament more than once.

Indeed, none of the eight players in the 2022 men’s event’s semifinal round had ever won the Briggs Cup, although that changed this past Monday night when Scott Arnold and James Stout (both of whom had lost Briggs Cup finals with different partners in the past) pounded their way to the title with a straight-game final-round win over Adam Bews and Colin West, each of whom was playing in a Briggs Cup final for the first time. They were joined in the winner’s circle by Kayley Leonard and Maria Elena Ubina, who defeated Gina Stoker and Line Hansen, also in three games, in the women’s final. Both the men’s and women’s SDA tours will resume in January after a three-week break for the Christmas holidays.