ORIGIN OF SQUASH

Through centuries, man has invented and enjoyed a variety of games played by hitting a ball with either a closed fist - as in "fives" or "bunch of fingers" - or with some form of bat or racket. Around the year 1148 the French played "le Paume", meaning "the palm of the hand", which developed into Jeu de Paume, Real Tennis, Royal Tennis or, if you play the sport, simply Tennis. In the early 19th century this obsession with rackets and balls spawned another variety of the sport in the unlikely birthplace of the Fleet Prison in London. The prisoners in The Fleet, mainly debtors, took their exercise by hitting a ball against walls with rackets and so started the game of Rackets. Rackets progressed, by some strange route, to the Harrow School and other select English schools about 1820 and it was from this origins that our own sport of Squash, or Squash Rackets, developed.

Squash, or 'Squash Rackets' as it was earlier known, originated in Harrow School, England, around 1830, when students discovered that a punctured Rackets ball, which "squashed" on impact with the wall, produced a game with a greater variety of shots and required more effort on the part of the players, who could not simply wait for the ball to bounce back to them as with Rackets. The variant proved popular and in 1864 the first four Squash courts were constructed at the school and Squash was officially founded as a sport in its own right.

Squash has been played for nearly 150 years, grown sensationally in the last fifty and continues to reach out to a broader global audience. Now played in more than 180 countries worldwide, of which 147 are members of the World Squash Federation, it is the sole International Federation for the sport, as recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and maintains responsibility for the Rules of the Game, Court and Equipment Specifications, Refereeing and Coaching. Squash is currently played in The World Games, Asian Games, South East Asian Games, All Africa Games, Pan-American Games and Commonwealth Games.

Squash has been voted "the world's healthiest sport" by Forbes magazine in a technical survey that included measure of cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and calories burnt. Squash is a game for life and can be played from ages 5 - 88 yrs approx.

In the Philippines, the game of squash started to gain a bit of following in the early seventees, when the Manila Boat Club, a members-only rowing club established by British expatriates in 1895, built the first public squash court. It was public in the sense that it was open to members and their guests. At about the same time, the only other squash court in Manila was a private squash court in the residence of Dr. Ronnie Tablante, which was subsequently opened to invited guests when it became the Hillock Squash Club.

Squash quickly grew in popularity and became a staple sport facility in almost all newly built members-only sports and country clubs and even, new residential condominiums that were built in the seventees and into the early ninetees. Squash became an indoor sport of choice amongst the young professionals and the up-coming businessmen because they had ready access and memberships in the members-only sports and country clubs and saw the energy and competitive benefits of the game.