Are you aware that once upon a time, squash was ranked as the healthiest sport to play?
That’s right. Back in 2003, Forbes – the globally famous magazine, ranked squash as the number one sport for burning calories.
Squash gives an inspiring cardio-respiratory workout. Thirty minutes of the game can burn as much as 800 calories. Did you know that?
Well, here’s some more fun facts you might not know concerning squash.
1. There Was A Squash Court on The Titanic
Remember titanic – one of the largest, most opulent, most well-known ships to date?
Well yes, the 1912 RMS Titanic indeed had a squash court.
Just as you might already have guessed, the court was located on G-Deck in first class, while the viewing deck was located on F-Deck.
Playing a match wasn’t free. You’d have to pay 50 cents a session and players were allowed to use the court for an hour unless others were waiting.
The squash court measured 30ft by 20ft in length and width. Because of the structural layout of the ship, the court didn’t have a very high ceiling. It was about 15ft 8inches in height.
Besides the squash court, there was also a professional player on board; one Mr. Fred Wright.
2. Squash Is A Sport for The Educated
Well, of course, anyone can play squash. It’s not exclusively reserved for those in society who bear a university degree.
However, statistics show that 98% of squash players are people who’ve graduated from college. Additionally, 57% hold a higher graduate degree.
The fact that the majority of squash players are highly educated people helps add to the conversation concerning the game.
This comes as no major surprise though if you are familiar with the history behind the invention of squash as a sport.
If you aren’t, well allow me to introduce to you the following squash-related fun fact.
3. Squash Was Invented in A Prestigious School
The prestigious Harrow school stands as the birthplace of the vibrant racket sport that is squash.
This was back in 1830 when students accidentally discovered that playing rackets with a punctured ball offered a whole world of opportunities hence giving birth to the game of squash.
Just in case you are not familiar with the Harrow School, this is a posh school which boasts of high-profile alumni. These include Winston Churchill, Benedict Cumberbatch and James Blunt, among others.
Being discovered in a school might help explain how squash is so popular with the educated population.
Besides, did you know that all Ivy League Schools have a varsity squash team? Quite impressive, don’t you agree?
Well, at least now you know how this popular sport came to be and how such a vast population of players are college graduates.
4. The First Nuclear Reactor in The World Was Built in A Squash Court
During World War II, the US government was in competition with Nazi Germany, both working towards developing a nuclear bomb.
In the US, this secret project came to be known as the Manhattan Project.
While the Manhattan Project was taking place in sites all over the United States, the central location of the project was in the University of Chicago.
As you would imagine, such a project requires a special space to put the experiments to the test.
The chosen space turned out to be a squash court. This is where the scientists built an atomic pile with the purpose of using this pile to sustain a nuclear chain reaction in uranium.
At the end of World War II, there happened to be a mistranslation of the word ‘squash’. As a result, Soviet reports claimed that this experiment took place in a ‘converted pumpkin field’, instead of a ‘converted squash court’.
5. There Are Roughly 50,000 Squash Courts in The World
According to the World Squash Federation, there were 49,908 squash courts as per a survey conducted in June 2009.
As of 2016, the World Squash Federation had 149 member federations, but the 50,000 squash courts are located in over 188 nations worldwide.
The first squash court was built in 1865 in Harrow School, England.
Outside of the Harrow school, the first squash court was built in 1883. This court was actually put up by an old Harrovian at his home in Oxford.
England is considered the leading squash nation, having approximately 8,500 courts and half a million players.
These figures mean that England has approximately 17% of the world’s courts.
There are 3,700 squash courts in the United States, 3,500 courts in Australia, 1,810 courts in Canada and 1,300 courts in France.
6. Prince Philip Played Squash While Queen Elizabeth II Was in Labor
Prince Charles was born on the evening of 14th November 1948, after Queen Elizabeth II had been in labor for 30 hours.
While she endured a long and arduous labor trying to birth the royal baby, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, whiled the time away by playing squash with his private secretary.
The young expectant father was so nervous that several rounds of squash seemed to be the only thing that could put his mind at ease.
7. One of The Longest Reigning Monarchs Played Squash Every Single Day
Do you remember Grace Kelly, the great American actress best known for her role in all three Hitchcock films?
Well, Miss Kelly retired at the tender age of 26 and went on to marry Rainier III, the Prince of Monaco.
Rainier III ruled Monaco for 56 years, which makes him one of the longest-reigning monarchs in the history of Europe.
Well, perhaps his longevity could be attributed to the fact that Rainier III and his wife Grace played squash every day for many years.
8. The Longest Squash Marathon Lasted 38 Hours
There have been many attempts at achieving the longest squash marathon, and likewise, the record is continually being broken.
At the moment, Len Granger and Jamie Barnett are credited with having played the longest squash marathon which lasted 38 hr 0 min 27 sec.
This great feat was achieved at Barnt Green Sports Club in Barnt Green; Worcestershire and the marathon took place between 4th and 5th September 2015.
This record was set while playing a squash marathon for a very good cause.
The participants aimed to raise money for two charities: Hospice UK and St Paul’s Hospice. The marathon ended up raising £5,000.
9. The Longest Squash Rally Had A Staggering 2536 Shots
In squash, a rally is a series of shots which starts with a serve and ends when the ball is regarded as being no longer in play.
Well, for how long do you think squash players can keep a ball in play?
The record stands at an impressive 1 hr 4 min 28 sec.
This was achieved on 10th December 2016 during a match between Simon Boughton and Mark James while playing at Edinburgh Sports Club.
Their rally had an astonishing 2536 shots which is beyond astounding, to say the least.
This match was a fundraiser yet again, aimed at raising money for Kenya.
10. The Longest Winning Streak Held by An Athlete in Any Sport
It’s always prudent to save the best for last, so why not end this list with the most famous squash record?
Did you know that a squash play holds the record for the longest unbeaten run held by an athlete in any sport?
Of course, this is credited to Jahangir Khan, the greatest squash player there ever was.
Khan has an unbeaten record in competitive play spanning from 1981 to 1986
He achieved a whopping 555 consecutive wins in competitive matches, thereby creating not just a squash world record but Guinness World record as well.
Keep in mind that the tally could be more seeing as the 555 only takes into account his tournament matches.
In addition to those, there are exhibition, invitational and challenge matches that haven’t been included and in which he wasn’t losing either.
Here’s a video of Khan in action:
Conclusion: Up To You
Squash is quite a popular game, and its popularity is undoubtedly on the rise.
Often called the sport of the educated, it’s rather apparent that squash is an excellent pastime and workout.
Having a few fun facts concerning the sport not only help to enrich its culture, but they also give players a sense of pride in the game.
So do you have any interesting facts that we missed?