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    Why We Love Squash (Part 2) - A Chat With Control the 'T' Founder, Jeff Warren

    Jul 25, 2021 3:55:48 AM / by Alex Robertson

    Welcome to part 2 of our 'Why We Love Squash' series! This week's edition is a little different to last week...

    I sat down with Control the 'T' Sports founder, Jeff Warren, and asked him a few questions about his squash history and what it is that makes him love the sport...

    Check out the video below, or alternatively, give the transcript a read (below the video)...

     

     

    Alex:
    Tell me a little bit about your squash history, how you got started in the sport, what drew you to it?

    Jeff:
    I played a couple of times when I was younger (about 18 years old), in university once or twice with a friend of mine. He was a tennis player and a good friend, and, in the winter we did some squash. I think I played with him two or three times at the University of Toronto where he was going to school, but, I really picked up the sport when I was about 35 or so.

    Alex:
    I see, so there was a bit of a gap before you picked squash back up again?

    Jeff:
    Yeah, it was quite a gap. I played tennis throughout my youth, in my teens, and then into university. I would take breaks from it and come back to it. I officially picked up squash around 2005. I was invited to play at the YMCA in Toronto by a couple of friends, I'd played lots of tennis and I'd played squash a couple of times, so I figured I'd be ok on court and just fell in love with the game at that time.

    Alex:
    What kept you interested and motivated to carry on playing past the point of 35 years old?

    Jeff:
    When I was playing with my two friends, that was fun. I was doing quite well, relatively speaking. They were beginners and I was a beginner at that point really so I did pretty well, and it was really enjoyable. I met some other players there that were better than me and more experienced, so I wanted to learn the sport a bit better.

    I watched them play and I loved the physicality of it. I was in good shape. I actually got into good shape just playing with my friends and some of the other players that have played a lot longer than me. I just kind of fell in love with the physicality of it. It's such a good amount of exercise in such a short period of time and it was just a good group of people too.

    I really enjoyed the camaraderie of it all.

    Alex:
    I guess that answers my next question to an extent! I was planning to ask what your favourite aspect of the sport was... was it the competitive play, the fitness, the social side? I guess from what you just said, it's a mix of all three.

    Jeff:
    Yeah, it really is. I love that I get a great workout in 40 minutes, or, however long the match ends up being, I often played more than 40 minutes if the court wasn't booked behind us, but often it was, so that didn't always work out. I do also love the social aspect of it. I play in the league here and I started to play leagues in Toronto when I was living there.

    Competitive-wise, the leagues were important. I've played some tournaments but not a huge amount and I played mostly age group events. or local club tournaments for the most part, like club championships and stuff like that.

    Alex:
    Absolutely! So do you have any personal rivals at your local squash scene? Any players you always have a tight match with?

    Jeff:
    Yeah, I do... but I'll leave their names out of it. They know who they are, but yeah, there are some guys that I'm eager to get back on the court with. I have worked pretty hard during the COVID lockdown to try to get in a little bit better shape. So my body is feeling pretty good for being 50. I'm looking forward to surprising a few people by playing a little better than I had been.

    Alex:
    Glad to hear it! So, a bit of a sidestep, what about professional squash? Are you a big fan? Do you have any favourite players or tournaments?

    Jeff:
    I didn't watch it as much during COVID. I'd watch a little bit but would then get jealous that I couldn't play! I wanted to get back on court myself and I couldn't so it was a little bit tough. But I love following along with the PSA and watching our Team CT members. Although I don't often get to see them on Squash TV, I do get to see them at local tournaments. I'll go around to events that are in the Ontario area that they might be playing in and watch them there.

    At the top level, I love watching the PSA. The squash is spectacular and the athletes are all so incredible. My favourite tournament is definitely the Tournament of Champions. I got a chance to go see that once and it was just spectacular.

    Alex:
    I'm jealous!

    Jeff:
    Yeah, if you get a chance to go, it's really spectacular. It's a really great venue for a tournament. You get lots of squash fans there, and obviously, the stands will be full for any of the more key matches, but it's just the hustle and bustle of being in the subway station there in New York. There are so many people that wander by the courts throughout the day and they're just watching when they're passing by. It's really quite remarkable.

    Alex:
    Yeah, I bet the atmosphere is crazy! So, a final round-off question, do you have any goals in mind now we're back on court? Any specific targets or things you'd like to improve on in your own squash?

    Jeff:
    I am trying to improve physically, like I said, I spent some time getting in better shape and lost some weight, I'm a little healthier right now and I want to be competitive at my club. I want to be in the mix for winning our club champs, I want to go into games where my opponent will be concerned about playing me, that it's not going to be an easy match.

    I'd also like to potentially play some masters events as well, my age group, the 50 plus category, ideally. There are some really good players in the area that are my age group, so it's going to be tough, but I want to go in there and, you know, if I'm playing a match, I want my opponent to know that they're in a hard match! 

    Those are kind of my goals for this point in time, just to be competitive at the local club, even though there are lots of players in different age groups, I should be able to be competitive. And then you have master's events that would be amazing to enter and play in.

    Alex:
    Those are some exciting goals!

    Jeff:
    Yeah, I've managed to get back on court a couple of times now that we're able to at this point, so I'm happy about that. It's still summer so although I am playing, I'm doing other stuff too. It's not just squash at this point in time, I'm still playing some tennis and I'll probably play some pickleball too. Come the fall I'll really try to dig into the game and get (the game) in really good order for the season.

    Alex:
    Well, best of luck with it all and cheers for the chat!

    Jeff:
    Yeah, thanks for taking the time to interview me, I really appreciate it!


    This article was taken from our On The 'T' Newsletter, if you're interested in receiving more content like this, please feel free to sign up using the subscribe section in the top right of this page (or underneath the article if you're on mobile), thanks!

    Alex Robertson

    Written by Alex Robertson

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