There is no denying that squash is the brainchild of the British aristocracy, like most modern sports. For a protracted period it is a sport that was played almost exclusively by the social elite. But surely that picture has now changed, with squash played across many countries throughout the world? Is squash a rich person sport?
Squash is no longer considered a sport of rich people. It is popular in some less developed countries such as Egypt and Pakistan. It requires little money to play. The only major barrier is finding (or building) a court, which could be costly.
Of course, where you are in the world will have a bearing on this question, and I will look at that. Certainly, though, in the majority of countries, membership of a squash club is relatively cheap, and equipment required is quite minimal (basically a ball and racket being the two necessities). Of course, like anything, you can spend a lot of money on squash on coaching, equipment, nutrition and other things. I will look at all that as well.
Is Squash A Rich Person Sport?
This really hinges on where you live in the world. A major consideration to be made when drawing some conclusions on this topic is that of determining what squash means to different people.
Squash participation in Europe and North America is high, despite Simon Rosner (Germany) being the only player from either of those two regions among the top ten in the world. Rosner is the number four ranked player in the world.
That suggests – although this is by no means conclusive – that the majority of squash players in North America and Europe play the sport purely out of enjoyment, because they want to stay healthy, because they want to socialize with colleagues or peers.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact it is laudable. It is what the creators of squash – all the way across the pond at Harrow School – had envisaged for the sport when they pioneered it early in the 19th century.
Squash – The Financial Costs
There are many things you may need to buy if you play squash. I will list these, with the approximate price of getting either the cheapest possible, intermediate standard, or high quality standard:
|Several Squash Balls||Borrow||$2||$5|
|Coaching||–||$15 a session||$150 a month|
|Lights, Club Membership||$3 a match||$30 a month||$100 per month|
All of the above will not genuinely make a huge difference, at least when you are starting out. Quality of racket, for example, is not a massive issue in squash. A good squash player will be able to use a racket of beginner to medium quality with little problems.
Here is a simple youtube video about what equipment you might need when you start playing squash:
You can of course borrow or hire some of the things above, particularly if you just want to try the sport out.
Depending on how much you sweat, it is probably going to be very difficult to play squash without wristbands for example. That said, if you do live in the developed world, these are merely slight inconveniences. They really aren’t going to set you back a considerable amount. It is a recreational activity after all.
However, if you live in the developing world, a little more thought needs to go into how much you are prepared to spend on squash and what the benefits of that expenditure might be.
Sacrifices will probably need to be made and not many families will be prepared to make that kind of sacrifice when there is a less complicated option likely available, which presents fewer financial risks and greater potential rewards.
Squash In The Third World
Squash might not necessarily be a rich man’s sport but it is certainly a sport that very few poor people play. Those who do, often make it because they have encountered some outstanding and reliable support structures.
There is actually a very famous anecdote about the patriarch of the Khan squash family, Hashim Khan. Hashim Khan served in the British Army and in the Pakistani Air force and was only ever able to compete domestically in squash.
The thought of competing professionally had never crossed his mind because the financial circumstances had never allowed him to. As a result, he was quite content with teaching squash to others – and in doing so, making his contribution to mankind.
However, it was one day established that a player he had made a habit of beating advanced all the way to the final of the British Open – the most prestigious tournament in the world at the time. To everybody’s alarm – especially those who had been coached by Hashim Khan.
Following that astonishing development, those closest to Khan felt they had no choice but to make an intervention – and make personal sacrifices – to ensure that he compete at the next edition of the British Open.
The rest, as they say, was history – as the Khan family went on to dominate world squash for decades.
However, the reality is that the Hashim Khan stories do not happen often anymore.
These stories are far more common in sports like football, where players in South America and and Africa are able to emerge and thrive, having been plucked from relative obscurity.
The first lesson here – and this is probably the most important lesson – is that anybody regardless of background can possess talent to compete in squash. In fact, when an opportunity does present itself for a hidden squash talent to emerge, it often excels significantly more than a more privileged counterpart.
However, getting access to that level of opportunity is really the trick here. Secondhand squash rackets can be found, discarded squash balls can be found and nobody really needs shoes anyway.
Building A Squash Court
Building a squash court can be an enormous undertaking.
When you are preparing for the construction of a court, you need to factor in that labor will be required to complete the construction. In fact it will usually be the largest proportion of the cost.
Various materials will also need to be bought and equipment will be required to put everything together.
First and foremost, a prefabricated structure will need to be put together to facilitate the construction of your squash court. That requires installation, man power and man hours.
Additional installation includes wall and ceiling panels, steel stud framing and wood/metal furring.
If you are going with the glass walls, there will be options to either have them fixed or movable.
Movable glass walls are normally put together for the professional circuit.
Those of the fixed variety obviously make more sense for the club and amateur structures. The scale with which those glass walls are built also matters.
You do not need the entire court to be made with glass panels.
The doors are something you need to think about at length and so too are the storage compartments on court. There is also the light panels to consider.
Maintenance is also a major requirement for the construction of a squash court, so things like slab leveling, finish trimming, grills and components and electrical wiring all require the greatest deal of attention to detail.
It is advisable that technical experts be assigned to some of these tasks because a lot could go wrong if they are not done properly.
For the majority, squash is not a rich person sport, and most people can access it cheaply. All you really need is a racket, and this can be bought preowned, or even borrowed. A little bit of money for the lights or for some kind of club membership and away you go. Good luck with the squash, and don’t let any issues with money hold you back!