It has been a while since I have ‘interviewed’ a member for the blog, and I also thought I would go a little outside the norm. Coming on board just over a year ago, it was a new experience for not just the DAC, but for me personally as well. The squash program needed help and the search for an assistant took almost 2 years. Our patience in finding the right fit paid off. So, let’s get to know him a little more in depth, shall we?
MEET… COREY KABOT
The Squash Joint (TSJ): Give us some background. Where did you learn your squash? Any major achievements worth sharing with us? Did you think growing up you would be working as a squash pro?
I learned my squash locally at the Birmingham Athletic Club…although I probably should not say that to loud around here… I travelled to Toronto each summer and received coaching from Mike Way, current Head Coach of Harvard and former coach of World Number 1 Jonathon Power.
Growing up I did not think that I would be a squash pro… when my hip-hop career fell through the cracks, and I lost my record deal… I figured I would stick with my guns and get back onto that squash court!
|Corey with a few of the StreetSquash prodigies!|
TSJ: For three years you worked for the Urban Squash Program in New Jersey – ‘StreetSquash Newark’. Undoubtedly it was an invaluable experience in more ways than one. Tell us one of your fondest memories about working in that program, and then tell us about a more harrowing one.
One of my fondest memories while working at StreetSquash Newark was watching my students learn to love the game of squash. Gaining the respect of the inner city students was something that was a lot of work and somewhat distressing. I was unsure if they would enjoy the game of squash, if they would enjoy me or listen to me, or if their culture and society would ridicule them for being a part of StreetSquash. Teaching the students how to only focus on the things which you can control in life was quite the uphill battle. In a culture where so much outside influence is at work, it was imperative they stayed focus on bettering themselves each day.
TSJ: As you now know, working at the DAC is unlike any other club. What has surprised you the most about working here?
I didn’t even know I worked here… Truly is a blessing to enjoy your place of work to the point that you don’t like to leave at the end of the day. The membership here at the club is an absolute treat, we are very fortunate and grateful for the camaraderie here at the DAC.
TSJ: Tell us your favorite…
b) Christmas gift ever received?
3 Harrow M-140’s from Mark Chaloner
d) Abba song?
e) Squash professional?
f) Cartoon growing up as a child?
Sante vs. John Mann @ 6am
TSJ: You played number 1 for Hobart College in New York State. Who was the best player you stepped on court with? And be honest, how did you fare?
Fellow American Chris Hanson... cleaned the floors with me, but those floors were really clean when we were done.
TSJ: Tell us a non-squash related ‘college-boys-up-to-no-good-prank’ that you pulled on some poor sod’… keep it clean if you can.
In college, the fraternity house had quite the front porch on the 2nd floor…. This always provided ample viewing down S. Main St on campus. One sunny day, the lads and I decided we should play a friendly little prank on the HWS Campus…
Items needed for prank: $1 Dollar Bill, Chocolate Cliff Bar, a long piece of piano string.
Now what would we possibly need that list of items for…
The cliff bar - looking very similar to human or dog feces - is placed into a folded up dollar bill on the sidewalk. The long piece of piano string is taped snugly to the dollar bill.
Now the porch is crucial. The piano string had to make its way up to the porch so that we could tug on the dollar bill ever so slightly enticing the passersby to stop and attempt to pick it up.
After a few attempts to pick up the dollar bill and a slight struggle, we would finally let them grab their sough after dollar bill. The glory of their victory was always short lived as they would open the dollar bill to find what they thought was well… POOP!
As you do, the entire porch would erupt yelling, “Poop Dollar!” and the passerby would proceed to throw the dollar down disgusted and run away!
All things considered it isn’t that bad, it could have had a free dollar bill and a cliff bar if they had investigated a little further.
TSJ: What is your opinion of why squash is not an Olympic sport? Do you think it will become one eventually?
I think the game of squash will always be fighting an uphill battle when it comes to the Olympics. As the IOC is one of the more corrupt sporting organizations out there, the deck is always stacked against us. Perfect case and point would be the most recent IOC Summer Olympic expansion. Wrestling, one of the original events in the Olympics, was removed from the program only be reinstated. It was up against squash as the final two to be selected. Rather safe to say that the wrestling would win that vote 10 times out of 10 as the sport is monstrous compared to squash. Squash lacks the publicity and funding to get into the Games. I think as the sport of squash gets more exposure and popularity that it could eventually get into the Olympics. US Squash has been driving membership, urban squash programs are now popping up across the united states and spanning into the global reach, with urban programs in South Africa, Colombia just to name a few.
TSJ: What squash programs at the DAC are you looking at expanding?
I am focused on expanding the Junior Squash program here at the DAC. As membership evolves along with the city of Detroit, we need to find ways to engage all of our membership. We are excited to see what the future holds for Junior Squash at the club. Women’s Squash is something which the Squash program has been lacking. Surely you have noticed our Women Wine and Squash social events throughout this past year. Hoping these events will build momentum to potentially create a Women’s only box ladder.
TSJ: What professional athlete (of any sport) did you admire growing up? What professional athlete do you admire now?
I always grew up admiring Kobe Bryant, relentless determination that guy had, always willing to put in the long hours and hard work to improve his craft. I find what Cristiano Ronaldo is doing this day in age on the soccer pitch is remarkable, I do not think there is a fitter human on this planet than him. Passion is something I always look for in my athletic role models both of those players show tremendous passion for their game and I respect and admire that about them. Professionalism at its finest with those two.
TSJ: Word association. What is the first thing that comes to mind when I say…
a) Family Guy: Giggity
b) General Election: Like a train wreck… hard not to watch
c) Detroit Tigers: Let-down
d) Backhand volley nick: (Insert ‘whistle’ noise here)
e) Kanye West: Kanye is the greatest, he decided that for me.
f) Pick up line:
Girl: Oh Hi and what do you do for work?
CK: I’m the squash pro at the DAC
Girl: You’re the what?
CK: Squash… not just a vegetable
TSJ: You lost a bet and have been forced to enter the “America‘s Got Talent” reality show. In front of the live audience, national TV, and judge Simon Cowell, what performance do you try to entertain us with? What does Simon Cowell tell you afterwards?
Tight rope walking… left him speechless. I tend to have that effect on people. Not so sure that’s a good or a bad thing.
TSJ: Since you were so bad, you are now forced to take part in the next reality TV show “Naked and Afraid”. You are at the edge of the jungle in your birthday suit (it is cold) awaiting your female co-contestant. To your horror, and laughing loudly, it’s…?
Caitlyn Jenner… need I say more?
|Corey-007-Kabot with his brother Neil|
TSJ: In case we haven’t humiliated you enough, just one more question to finish the job. Have you ever cried in the movies with a date and did it affect the evening in any way?
Have to say I don’t think I have ever been reduced to tears in an actual theatre, but that wasn’t the case so recently at my brother’s wedding. I think it worked in my favor at the end of the evening, though, if you get my drift…!
Cheers to Corey for making the time to answer these probing, in depth interrogating questions! I can’t imagine Christian Ronaldo would be fitter than the world’s top squash players, though… like to see him go up against Nick Matthew on a fitness test! Corey has been a tremendous addition and asset to the DAC and a pleasure to work with and we can only hope he sticks around for as long as possible.