Several years ago I fell hard for the game of squash. My husband, David, had been playing for a long time so I knew it involved a lot of sweating, a racquet, and the space-age looking glass courts near the fitness center, but I hadn't bothered to check it out. Then a pro-tournament came to town, I was dragged to watch, and was intrigued. Somehow the players made it look easy yet they came off the courts looking like they had gotten an incredible workout.
Having had three babies within as many years and the Richmond marathon newly under my belt in an effort to shed the pounds, I was ready for a new exercise challenge. Something to shake up the running regimen (which I was SO over), make my heart rate soar, and efficiently (please...no more three hour runs) give me that killer workout. After one lesson I knew I had found it! It was sprints. Lunges. Arms. I. Could. Not. Breathe. It was awesome. To top it off, Forbes magazine had just ranked it THE number one cardio exercise. 700 calories an hour? Bring it on!
Fast forward a few years later to The Virginia Pro-Tournament having grown to one of the top ten tournaments in THE WORLD, and top two in the US. Here. In Richmond! I suggested to Tyler (Art Director/Virginia Living) that maybe there was a place in the magazine for squash as something other than a food article, and that he take a lesson with Gus Cook, CCV squash pro. He was sold (and worn out). The stylists, make-up artists, writer, Editor, lighting tech and thankfully the Publisher, jumped on board.
Within a month of getting the green light we somehow lured 5 amazing world-class players to Virginia for the two-day shoot at the Wood 'n Racket Farm. Using them as models became the best way to briefly tell about squash and make it work visually in a lifestyle magazine. We purposefully shot on a squash court which allowed them to whack the balls and give us realistic swings to show the dynamic nature of the sport. I shot from a safe distance but knew they had incredible ball control and for the most part wouldn't hurt me....
Natalie, Shelley, Anthony, Mark and Patrick were outstanding as athletes and models, and just plain fun to be around. They endured planes, trains and automobiles to get here for which we are grateful. A true testament to their love of squash and interest in raising awareness.
Bottom line, it was a fantastic experience and I hope it inspires lots of people check out the sport. Better yet, come to the Pro-tournament at the University of Richmond in Feb/March!