Although spring time usually marks the end of squash season and beginning of activities not confined to four white walls, the schedule this year has worked out such that I will be playing my biggest string of tournaments in these warmer months. There were no PSA tournaments I could realistically play during the winter; my last tournaments were in Saskatoon and Edmonton back in November. There have been other tournaments in between, but frankly they were a string of disappointments for me. However, the last 10 weeks have been a good training period, fueled by the motivation of this upcoming tour.
My first event is the PSA in Sudbury. I was born and raised there, and the tournament is played at my home club. It’s the only time I get to play a competitive match in front of the local squash community who I grew up learning from. I look forward to it all year. I am drawn to play Canadian champ Shahier Razik, which is clearly a tough prospect. However, I will be extremely amped up for the match and have nothing to lose. After that, there is a PSA in Rochester NY, followed by the Canadian Nationals in Niagara. From there I am heading south to Atlanta for another PSA, and then (way) further south to Argentina and possibly Paraguay.
So much time off from competition has given me ample chance to think about my matches, visualize what might happen, and imagine the potential wins or losses. Training hard is clearly necessary, but everything rides on playing well when it actually matters. All the bike sprints, length drills and ghosting in the world amount to nothing if you fail to capitalize on these opportunities. The idea of flying 10 hours to South America to possibly play one match can be rattling. But these doubts do nothing to further your cause, which is to win matches. Based on my relatively few PSA experiences, desperation can take over in these high-pressure situations. For me, that sort of life-or-death mentality usually leads to a better performance. The other possibility is being so afraid to lose that you forget to play positive squash.
I am indeed very excited to kick off this 6 week roadtrip. It will be my longest series of consecutive events ever, so there will surely be some ups and downs. I will keep the blog updated, likely one post from each city with a quick synopsis of my time there.