In the game of Squash world-wide, we are indeed fortunate to have an enormously broad and deep human asset pool.
We have innovators who are developing the way the game is broadcast. Innovators who are developing the way the game is marketed. Innovators who are constantly striving to evolve the equipment we use.
But how many players, coaches, referees, administrators and promoters accept the game as it is and how many ask deep and searching questions about the status quo? In my own writing I try and promote deep questioning thought and of course, when I come across those who seem to have a similar bent, I am delighted.
In my book ‘Angles’ I tried to pique the curiosity of readers by challenging accepted wisdom and asking contributors to reveal their own thoughts on the subjects that my poems considered.
At 52 years old, having been in Squash almost all my life, I am gradually becoming a little more tolerant and considerate of ideas that oppose my own – and perhaps a little more effective at outlining the reasons for my differing.
How refreshing it is then when an individual comes to the fore who is young, considerate and importantly a deep thinking individual who profoundly investigates ideas to the point of continually challenging and evolving their own previously held values.
Such an individual, it seems to me, is James Willstrop.
It is of course wonderful that he has become the number one player in the world. And wonderful that he is such an extraordinary exponent of our game.
But if you have read any of his writing either in his regular newspaper columns or his new book: ‘A Shot and a Ghost,’ or elsewhere, you will appreciate that his playing of the game is actually a physical realization of a very complex and deep mind.
James Willstrop is the world number one, but I suspect that his contribution to the sport will go far beyond that accolade – rare as it is.