Spa-tlight

The SPA Program provides benefits to pros who support US Squash initiatives to drive growth in the game.

Julieanne Harris
Philadelphia Cricket Club
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

What in squash has changed the most in your time in the game?
The entire style of play has changed. Changes in the scoring system have shortened the length of rallies and the overall match length. Technology has brought about many changes to the game of squash. Lightweight synthetic materials have made squash racquets easier to swing, in turn making it easier to introduce younger juniors to the game. More glass courts allow students and spectators to get closer to the action and connect better with the players, and the game can now be televised in a way that is exciting and attractive to non squash players.

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Your club recently added five singles courts. Talk about that process and how it affects the club?
The Philadelphia Cricket Club has gone through enormous change in the past few years, with the construction of a new paddle hut, a complete renovation of the pool area, the restoration of two of our three golf courses, and lastly, the addition of five new squash courts and a fitness center.

For many years, we were borrowing courts to conduct lessons for our members. Now the PCC membership enjoys eight singles courts, two doubles courts and a bar/viewing area that is second to none, thanks to Jim Bogrette of KimmelBogrette Architecture and Gordie Anderson of Anderson Courts. Careful planning of construction allowed the entire project to be completed in five months. Over 250 members and guests enjoyed the grand opening in October 2014, with matches including World Champion Nicol David, Camille Serme, Gilly Lane and Cameron Pilley.

With the additional courts, you will help host the U.S. High School Championships. You are also hosting the Intercollegiate Doubles Championships. How does hosting external events help PCC?
The PCC has a very active singles and doubles squash membership with deep roots to high school and college squash. In my time at PCC, we havehad over eighty members go on to play college squash, while a large number of our junior squash players represent their middle school and varsity teams. Our entire membership is proud of what we have accomplished in our squash program over the years, and now, with a world-class facility, the Philadelphia Cricket Club membership is excited and honored to host the High School and Intercollegiate Doubles Championships.

The U.S. Open is back in Philadelphia. PCC has always been a great supporter of the event. What does having the U.S. Open in the area mean for the Philly squash community?
Philadelphia hosting the U.S. Open really energizes the local squash community. While most professional athletes come to town to play their game, collect their check and leave with little contact with their fans, at the U.S. Open, the world’s best players are right there, often sitting in the crowd. You see them talking to the kids, signing autographs and hitting balls with them on the mini court.

After the U.S. Open packs up and leaves Philadelphia, only the court and the players leave town. The enthusiasm and excitement for the game of squash stays behind. Everyone wants more squash. They practice more and the courts are more crowded than usual.

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The SPA Program provides benefits to pros who support US Squash initiatives to drive growth in the game.

You were a top squash player, how would you have fared against the top women players in today’s game?
I would get crushed. They are scary good!

When attending the Open, do you ever get the itch to jump on the glass court and have a hit?
I had my day of playing and enjoying the crowd at my back. Now while at the U.S. Open, I feel great satisfaction from watching the looks on PCC member’s faces, both young and old, and in seeing our own Gilly Lane, who was a PCC youngster with magic hands, now on center court enthusiastically introducing the world’s best players to Philadelphia. Thanks to Dent Wilkens and the entire staff of US Squash, the atmosphere at the U.S. Open is electric. I am really looking forward to an amazing event.

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