Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Recently, it is becoming more noticeable that some of our members are ‘forgetting’ to wear eye protection whilst on court. The mandatory eye-guard policy at the DAC is, by the most part, welcomed by the members. Given that some of our players have an uncanny habit of positioning themselves in life-threatening situations, you would think that people would get struck by the ball all the time. Strangely though – and luckily – it is not as common as you may think, and in the five plus years I have been working here no one has received an eye injury. But the risk is always present and the $20 for a pair of goggles is a miniscule price to pay to protect your sense of sight. A squash ball can cause devastating trauma to the eye, including permanent blindness, so wearing eye-guards, however uncomfortable they may be, should be a welcome and thankful piece of equipment.

The excuse of “I cannot see the ball properly when I wear eye-guards” doesn’t fly. Like anything else, they do take a little time to get used to if you are not familiar with them, but you will adapt. Sooner rather than later your eye-guards will become just another piece of clothing you need when walking on the court. My old club in Montreal did not have a mandatory eye-guard policy. Few players wore them – I did not. When I came to the DAC, I found the eye-guards initially distracting but it did not take long before I hardly notice them while I am playing. Now, I feel naked and vulnerable without them. I will not step on court with a member (no offense!!) without my eye-guards. Basically, (and I am being a little conceited here), if I feel I should wear them, then so should you.

Before anyone asks why is it that none of the professionals wear them, as they should be the ones setting the example to the rest of the squash community, you cannot compare apples to oranges. Again – no offense – you aren’t professionals. You play squash for enjoyment, for the camaraderie, for the beer, for the friendly competition. You do not make a living out of it. All it takes is one miss-hit, one badly timed shot, one fleeting moment of bad judgment, and you could get hit. Walk around one day with a pirate-patch over one eye and see how even the most simple of daily tasks suddenly become complicated. Professionals are not immune either, although the likelihood of being hit in the eye at that level is close to zero, it has happened to the best of them. Thierry Lincou in the 2003 US Open hit Jon Power in the eye with the ball. Luckily for Power it wasn’t hit very hard, but he nonetheless had to take a lengthy injury time out and ended up losing the match. A few years ago in St. Louis, David Palmer got a close up of Amr Shabana’s racquet as it smacked him squarely on the bridge of his nose. Both of these injuries could have been avoided if eye-guards had been worn.

But I digress. Essentially, you really don’t have a choice. It is a club rule – a rule put forth by your own committees – so there is no reason not to follow it. You may not agree with it, but that does not give anyone immunity from obeying it. Do yourself a favor, wear your eye-guards, avoid any uncomfortable incidents for non-compliance, and we all won’t have to wait for the “not if, but when” situation.


Jansher Khan said...

Black Knight Turbo eyegaurds are the best on the market. They are perforated at the top and NEVER fog(That is unless you don't do any moving around the court, ie Mick standing at the T and touring his opponent).
Stay safe and squash on!

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