Beer league squash finals – does it get any better?? I argue that in the amateur sports realm not much:)

I have played a lot of sports in my day but few compare to the fun of Monday night league. It combines individual intensity, team camaraderie and social beers, much like rugby. The bonus of squash is you play the game well into your 60s and 70s.

The league works like this. Every Monday from October to April you host or are hosted by another club. Five players from each team line up against each other. If you win three or more matches on the night you take the bonus points. Because everyone is ranked across the province you line up with someone close to your skill level. The games are usually nail bitters and wins are hard to come by.

When you are not sweating profusely on court you are engrossed in your teammates matches. This leads to cheering, strategy, and unavoidable banter – it’s brilliant! Following the matches, the teams head to the restaurant for a meal, beers, and a post match debrief. The team set up, of an individual sport offers the best of two worlds. You can be competitive with yourself but enjoy the support and social connection of a team. You win and lose together!

From week to week the looming match or nagging feeling that you should have pulled off the five setter push you to be better. No one wants to let themselves down, let alone their team. This motivation makes you say no to more things unhealthy and yes to an extra workout. You learn to work on your weaknesses and harness your strengths.

The league is able to run because there are still clubs that support the social side of fitness. Sport clubs and community teams are eroding in our hyperconnected and overly “fit” world. Perhaps this is nothing new, but I hope the squash clubs, rugby clubs, and lawn bowling clubs find a way to persist. Health is so much more than the extreme sweat and ultimate protein shake. Health is my job, so I take it seriously, but in general the ever increasing trend towards serious fitness scares too many people off. Biking doesn’t have to be in spandex, a walk in your neighbourhood can be just as good as doing the grind and celebrating with a beer instead of a smoothie is totally acceptable. I don’t think I have done a great job at promoting the idea of fit and fun but I hope to – it’s important for the health of our communities.

Clubs and leagues like the VSL keep things light and fun. They are beer league – and I think that’s awesome. Rarely do we get to mingle with people of different classes, different jobs, and different backgrounds in a fun, relaxed atmosphere. I couldn’t imagine my life without a club and the squash league that runs throughout the city. It is community connection like this, that make a city great.

To anyone who plays squash in Vancouver, consider joining the league. It’s amateur sport at it’s best!

Big thanks to Pacey and the VSL crew. Thanks to my team for a great year and thanks to Meesh for always asking how my match went!