I've started to associate the game of squash with a dull and hollow pain somewhere below my heart but above my bowels. This association is predicated upon the recurrence of this pain after I play squash for too long. "Playing" isn't really fair because usually I'm just frantically thwapping the ball about, a red-faced dynamo of flailing limbs and desperate leaps, glottal honks and moans bouncing off the four white walls every time I hit the ball or, alternatively, every time I miss it. You know in certain comedies they do those "training" montages and they'll do like a tracking shot across a room of people doing aerobics in a mirrored room and there will be all these slim attractive women in neutral-coloured leotards who are all calmly and effortlessly uniform, a mass ornament, and then the camera will stop at the lone fat person who's all skittery and frantic, heaving, sweating pathologically? I feel like that when I'm playing squash sometimes.
All this is when I play squash alone, usually because my partner is inexcusably late. But I like solosquash. I find myself hoping that whoever I'm playing with won't show up at all and that I can keep unisquashing until I'm jack-knifed over myself in the corner of the room with my right clawhand clutching my left upper arm, squaggles all fogged up, eyes and nose running, a long strand of thick-as-rubber-cement sputum pendulating from my tremulous lower lip. This never happens though, because my partner eventually shows up and knocks on the tiny porthole of the tiny door at the back of the squash court and then shit gets serious. Or sometimes it just means that there are two sets of flailing limbs and a harmony of honks and moans.
One time, though, my partner was an hour late and that day I ended up playing squash for just under 2 hours, half of that solo. There's no squash equivalent of runner's high but that day I found out that there is such a thing as squash sickness. After you play for too long it feels like your liver has just voided every awful thing it's been saving straight into your bloodstream. You feel a hot tingling in your sides and a roar in your ears. You feel like the flesh on your face is collapsing. It's a "good hurt" though.
I started playing squash because it's such a funny game. It reminds me of dads, beards, and bloody mary's but also of Wall Street-era Michael Douglas, vulgar excess, and Freud's assertion about the link between hoarding wealth and an obsession with anal retention. Squash is great because it's the most urban and booj sport there is. It's claustrophobic and dangerous. It's less exclusive than golf or tennis but more exclusive than just about anything else.
When I wanted to start playing squash I had a look at the official CSA website and was left with the feeling that squash is a fake game. Squash is a fake game that started with an idle afternoon and some too-serious English guys who, in order to compensate for their new game's complete lack of legitimacy, created the most preposterously exhaustive list of totally arbitrary rules and regulations ever seen in any sport in the history of sporting sports. Squash is totally for nerds, by nerds.
My dad, who's a nerd, played squash alongside Mick Jagger in the late seventies when the Stones were here to do that benefit for the blind after Keith got arrested. He was quoted in The Star as saying that Mick was "a not-very-good squash player". Apparently he (Mick) showered with his pants on afterwards. That, in my books, makes squash pretty alluring.
So fuck being left-wing and poor; you get away with so much more if you're right-wing and rich and you get to play the best sports too. Stop spending all my money on arts funding and welfare, build squash courts and prisons instead.