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The History Of Squash Revealed

Most people don't consider the origin of their favorite games. Instead, they're content to simply enjoy playing or watching others play them. Squash is no different. While millions of people around the world enjoy the sport, few know its origins. But, some enthusiasts with a true passion for squash take great pleasure in learning its history and growth over the years. Below, you'll learn how squash was created, how it spread and its progress during recent years.

A Prelude To Squash

People have enjoyed playing games that involved hitting balls for many generations. In fact, there is significant evidence of French societies playing such games during the twelfth century. In the beginning of the fifteenth century, the Dutch created what was to become the modern racquet. Over the course of the next few centuries, several games were invented to use small balls, racquets and courts.

In the 1860's, several young boys in England began playing a game similar to squash (though squash had not been formally invented at the time) at the Harrow Boarding School in London. It became incredibly popular with the other students. In 1865, the Harrow School designed "racket courts" and squash was officially born.

The Spread Of Squash

Though squash was played almost exclusively at London's Harrow Boarding School for a few years after the introduction of the "racket courts," the game was soon adopted by other schools throughout England. And while it remained predominantly a British sport, stories of the game traveled to America. In 1884, New Hampshire's St. Paul's School opened the first known North American squash court.

During the next several years, the game migrated to other areas throughout England and North America. However, standards didn't exist. As a result, many courts were sized differently. For example, early courts in England were as large as forty-two feet long and twenty-four feet wide while smaller courts measured thirty-two feet by eighteen and one-half feet. Though a sub-committee (called the Rackets & Fives Association) was formed in England in 1907, court size was still considered a matter of local preference. More than a decade would pass before any standardized rules would be established, promoted, or enforced.

Squash Becomes Standardized

In 1923, a meeting was called to resolve the discrepancies in how the game of squash was played. At the time, squash competitions were held at several English clubs across Britain. The meeting requested representatives from each of these clubs to attend. A committee (called the "Squash Rackets Representative Committee") was formed and a set of squash standards were established. Court size, ball speed and various rules of play were codified. Today, most of the squash tournaments played throughout England adhere to these codified standards.

Enjoying The Game Today

Since 1922, international competitions have taken place. During the previous 20 years, squash had progressed quickly from an obscure game played by young boys throughout England's boarding schools to a standardized sport with a committee overseeing tournaments in Britain, England, the U.S. and other countries. Today, squash is played by over 15 million people and it's enjoyed by players and fans throughout 150 countries. Better racquets, transparent courts and high-profile players competing for large purses have continued to draw spectators and sponsors. The future of squash is secure.