In May 2014, we looked at the striking similarities culturally between Squash and Racquetball. More specifically, the post focused on two very interesting parallel careers.
A few weeks ago, The World Games had included Paola Longoria in their list of World Games Greatest Athlete Of All Time, which was mostly a popularity vote online. Nicol David (Squash) convincingly won the title during this vote. She had double the amount of votes as the nearest athlete on this list. (Tug of War... WT?...)
Note the comment section taken direct from the World Games website below.
What I wrote in 2014:
I just want to point you to a thread of some similarities that can speak tons about what both Racquetball and Squash look like on a number of levels, if you care to dig deeper. (There are some key underlying truths out there.)
If you read this blog, you know I've written a ton about Paola. (Just check the archives.)
Nicol David is a super star in her world of Squash. Her record is running significantly longer in dominance, (although Paola's winning streak is crazy).
- Both dominate the Professional Women's side of their sport.
- Both are celebrated in their respective countries. (Mexico and Malaysia)
- There is drastic separation between the rest of the pack in terms of social reach and notoriety.
- This includes separations from the top athletes on Men's Pro side.
- Both are bigger than their respective pro tours...in aggregate. (Anyone connected with or follow what has been going on with these tours, knows.)
- Paola Longoria 77.6 K Twitter Followers (Roughly up approx. 36.3K since I first mentioned it last June.)
- Nicol David 84.1K Twitter Followers. (You know you're big time when they use a decimal points instead of actually bothering to show exact numbers.)
If you follow racquetball at all, you know who Paola Longoria is. Her record run speaks for itself talent-wise. Just her presence on the tour uplifts and professionalizes the product that is the LPRT continually. And make no mistake, racquetball is popular in Mexico and partially in South America because of her. Mexico owns their athlete so to speak... as does Malaysia. As I just wrote this, looking at the comment section I mentioned to read, I want you to question what I question. That is, did we do enough as a group to jump on this vote?
This line of question serves for us to just take a perspective check. The Sport of Squash, as they have shown in the past, is very capable of activating their group and their money professionally and for growth avenues like this. (I'll just point to all the Olympic recognition stuff they rally for. )
Now, quick. Think to yourself what the communication with racquetball sounds like right now. Who is saying what? Let's start with this...
WHO shared this vote to our group?
I'll just state some things here, now... regarding this. That may or may not ring relevant with you.
• When I look at Nicol David, who is now pretty much retired from professional play for a number of years, won this vote. Malaysia still has their superstar even though she isn't an active touring professional.
• In the years since I first wrote comparing these two athletes, there has been a surge of notoriety for Squash's top players. Some with more traction than Nicol socially and are benefiting from the reach provided for them by the PSA.
• Paola is just huge.
• Professional racquetball players are still struggling to make ends meet on tour.
• Our sport does not have a unified, stated goal. And as I think again about this, I mean a specific goal/vision being presented to the sport to rally around.
I can also say, these applied pre-Covid.
What are the roots of racquetball? Where are they planted? Who's job is it to plant them?