Do you know which game came first, tennis or Squash?
Do you know how old the game of tennis is?
Do you know when was the first time Squash was ever played?
The game of squash has its origins in the sport of tennis, the game was invented about one hundred and fifty years ago in England and yes it was inspired by the game of tennis.
Now deviating a little from Squash and going back in the history of tennis, the game of tennis in its many primitive forms has been played across continents and civilizations for hundreds of years. In the late 15th century after the dutch invented the racquet and built indore courts the game started to take its now-familiar form, it became so popular that it became the national sport of over a dozen European nations, in 1600 Paris alone had at least 250 courts. The British coined the term tennis for the sport. The game was so popular in the elite and royal circuit that Henry the VIII built a court in all his palaces.
In the early 18th century prisoners in London created a simplified version of the game of tennis called racquets, it involved hitting a ball the size of a golf ball against one or two walls. The ball was made from wound cloth, the racquet was a stretched tennis bat. Soon the game started to gain popularity across Britain as an outdoor pass time.
In the 19th century, another equally popular wall and ball sport were the five, the traditional version of handball.
The combination of five and racquet sparked the creation of the game of Squash in the mid-nineteenth century, in a prestigious public school outside of London called Harrow school. This slower ball version of racquet was called baby racquets, or soft racquets, or softer in those days
When, how, and who named the game Squash?
There are a number of theories that may be responsible for naming the game of “baby racquet“ squash.
The Latin root, exquasser, means “to shake out”.
A more logical onomatopoeic expression for the word squash could possibly refer to the sound that a rubber ball makes when it smashes against a stone wall.
The more logical reason relates to a curious Harrow custom, at the same time when Harrow was inventing a new form of racquets, they employed a rough-and-tumble version of democracy. In this custom once a year in the main yard, the entire school gathered. and each student voted for the school’s cricket keeper (or student coach), after each vote the rest of the students would kick, cuff, and push the voter. This would last an hour and was more or less a general melee. The election was called squash.
When did the first squash courts come into existence?
In the beginning, the game was only played inside the walls of Harrow, it only existed at the school and amongst its students. After they graduated, they created their own courts. Amongst some of the first were Somerville Gibney, a student from Harrow’s class of 1867, and his brother Gerald, 1868, who built a court in a stable loft at their home in Lincoln. Gurney Buxton, another student of Harrow 1882, built a wooden one at Catton Hall in Norwich, his was the first squash court to be depicted in print when an 1890 book ran two pages of its architectural drawings.
In the early years when there were no official standards, the courts at clubs varied, after the First World War, the Bath Club built two courts that had lighting and in 1922 launched the Bath Club Cup, a squash league for London clubs that greatly increased enthusiasm for the sport. The first inaugural season saw players contend with six different court sizes and five different balls.
In April 1907 the Tennis, Rackets & Fives Association was founded at Queen’s and formed a squash sub-committee. In 1909 this sub-committee issued a preliminary set of rules. In the December of 1928, the Squash Rackets Association (now England Squash) was formed to run squash in Great Britain. . The Bath courts served as the model for English squash, but the Bath balls were considered too large and fast for English sensibilities therefore between 1930 and 1934 in a series of incremental changes, the association cut the standard ball’s speed almost by half.
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