The Squash Center

I heard from someone, while sitting around a campfire in a small group of friends and telling stories to each other, the following description of true events that took place in the city not far away from here:

Somewhere south this midsized city, still in an urban neighborhood, but you would have to have a bike ride through the fields and across the river, there is a squash center that has been there for quite some time. Some years ago, this city used to be the capital of professional squashing with this grey squash field container as the epicenter of this seemingly odd leisure activity. But recently, things have changed.

Over here, the squash game had been something to be taken seriously, and certainly nothing to make jokes about. The best of the best came, sometimes from far away countries, to assemble in pairs of two, enter the empty glass box – the thick back-wall would be made of concrete – with thick red lines defining the boundaries of the already limited space and to set the rules: The small black ball would never be allowed to cross these borders. Here the best of the best would do what they do best: Smash the ball back and forth, against the big wall of the rectan­gular cage, and, most importantly, never talk.

Everything was perfect, balls got smashed and championships got won and stars got beaten and records got broken.

To some mediocre squash players, things got boring, and so they started to use two balls instead of one which made the whole thing much more fun. But the professionals got angry about it. “This is not how we play!”, they yelled at them. “You are disqualified from all competitions!”, proclaimed the officials. But the two had their fun and went on playing.

After some hours and even more balls added to the empty box, others came, seeing how much fun it was, and joined the game. The champions were perplex, but one of them wanted to try it out for themself. Some lazy players started bringing chairs onto the field, some others brought drinks and something to eat, even plants to make this cold room more cozy. “You’re expelled from this place!”, screamed the owner, as mad as you rarely see a person be.

But they stayed, brought more stuff even to make the squash field their collective paradise. As a community, no-one could harm them. Some of the squash players were sick of the neon tubes’ artificial light and so they started tearing down the big concrete wall with a hammer, that one had brought to the communal game. Now that sunlight reached the red-lined floor, people started digging holes in the ground to plant beautiful flowers and vegetables of all colors.

A few days later (or months, I don’t remember it exactly) the police had arrived to the squash center. The owner must have called them. They tried to do what these ones always did, which was destroying things. But the squash players resisted, all together, forming one strong body against which no-one could win with pure violence. The batons would hit the squash balls, and the water canons would nourish the plants. The agressors could not do anything against the resistance of the community and were forced to retreat and take up positions in front of the center.

That’s how the new-born community got sieged. But that was alright, the players had learned how to organize their game. And so it went on. Until that morning when unforeseeably and to everyone’s surprise, the squash center burnt down to its grounds. After realizing their devastating loss, all of the players surrendered to the police forces. No-one ever knew who had set the fire on the squash center. Some say it was a police officer who had infiltrated the community. Some say it was the owner himself.

However, some days ago I heard, that a few kilometers away, in another small city, two squash players have started to play with two balls.