Updated: Jul 27, 2021
Language is important, the way we speak to ourselves and the way we speak to each other… AND the way we speak about the sport. I was reminded of the nuance of sports when reading the New York Times last week, and stumbled upon a story from a journalist who was called upon to write an article on martial arts when they were normally more focussed upon “real” news.
My favorite quote was:
“Starting to pick up the lingo, I learned that fights are not matches but bouts, and that several bouts make up a card. I learned that takedowns are landed and that opponents are dropped to the canvas.”
Mixed martial arts fans who are also squash fans is probably a very interesting venn diagram, (perhaps not) however one of the commonalities is in the need for appropriate language and descriptions. Good to remember that opponents are dropped and takedowns landed… as to confuse the two tells me that you are “a casual” at best… the term used by MMA fans for those who aren’t particularly well versed or knowledgable. While that doesn’t mean the world will end, it indicates that you are not really interested in “that world”.
This brought me to the squash parallels, and to be honest, some of the minor(?) rants about examples that some of you have heard from me before! If the ball hits the tin, the markers call is “down”… if the ball bounces twice and the player strikes it, the markers call is “not up”… it’s not “double” or “NOOOOOO”! By the same token, “down” and “not up” are called by the marker, not the referee… and on that subject, the marker keeps and calls the score, not the referee! Wow, that even sounded like a rant in print, you can only imagine what I sound like in person!
TAKE HOME MESSAGE
As players, we should all know the rules of squash. Unlike many other sports, officiating our peers is one of the duties and privileges of our great game! Part of knowing the rules is making sure that we keep our language and calls consistent with those rules. No need to make things up, no need to call “out of court”, no need to call “choose”… respect is important, let’s make sure we all speak “squash”!