Things were thriving at the club through January, February and most of March.
The courts were in great nick, with court 1 having had a refresh, new door handles for courts 1 and 2, and new flooring laid in the squash corridor.
Our internal box leagues for both Squash and Squash57 have always been well represented, but we were hitting record numbers for recent years.
The club teams (looking magnificent in their new club kit!) had all just finished successful seasons and we were making plans to field a 4th team in the Herts League 2020/21 season, a 2nd Squash57 team in the Bucks League, and a Ladies team - all of which we haven’t been able to do for a few years, and which would allow us to introduce more members to team play, and provide an opportunity for younger players to progress into the teams.
The Club Championships were in full swing, heading for what would have been a great Finals Day in April.
And then things came to a crashing stop on 23rd March with the 1st lockdown.
In the clubhouse we took the opportunity to do some necessary ‘no regrets’ maintenance and updating to the lounge area and to the men‘s changing rooms. And, outside, many of you had a go at tennis.
Indoor sports got back underway again and everything seemed to be going so well as we all dutifully progressed from ‘sides’ and ‘socially distanced’ practice drills to ‘squash bubbles’, and we also re-started the box leagues.
We even had our ‘15 minutes of fame’, with visits from The Telegraph Magazine to interview us, and from Reuters News Agency to film a bulletin, on how clubs were managing the ‘return-to-play’ protocols; and we finished in the top half dozen clubs in the country for our participation in the Team Laura vs Team Nick challenge series promoted by England Squash.
Then, last month, things went a bit chaotic once more. We had the 2nd lockdown, swiftly followed by the 3rd lockdown (aka Tier 4).
As we close out the year it seems clear that all countries face a torrid time in January, with cases rising almost everywhere around the world and all governments faced with difficult decisions on whether children should return to school after the Christmas break.
However, the cavalry has arrived, with vaccine rollout underway. February offers prospects of the tide turning and some predictability returning to our planning. Finally, we should be able to form an exit plan to the pandemic.
And at our local level, at our lovely club, we will ensure that we are ready to bounce back from the ‘b of the bang’.
Without wishing to sound too grandiose, a community club like ours is about more than just offering exercise. It helps to bring people together and boosts our all-round wellness, from the physical exertion, the banter with friends, and the opportunity to put to one side for 45 minutes the trials and tribulations of work and other things while we strive to get the better of our opponents. These are things that we all took for granted - until they were removed by COVID-19.
Our resolution for 2021 is to come back better. We were strong before, and we’d had a good Q1 in 2020. We’ve had to press pause and restart a few times since then, but it’s given us time to think about aspects of our Squash and Squash57 offering on which we could improve.
We want to welcome you back as soon as possible, re-establish BAU at our club, and put our plans into action.
In the meantime, try to keep active so that the return-to-play doesn’t come as too much of a shock to your body. It’s a bit brass monkeys outside at the moment, but you soon warm up if you keep moving!
We hope you had a lovely Christmas in the circumstances, and we wish you all a happy and healthy 2021 - we are looking forward to seeing you all again! Here’s to enjoying our Squash and Squash57 once more in 2021.
Squash & Squash57 Committee
(John Shaw, Mark Shattock, Adam Fuller, Gill Trimmer, Rob Harbron)