Colonie native Kyle Sleasman serves during his opening round match in the Pro Squash Tour's Albany Open last Friday at Siena College.
Photo by Rob Jonas.
“These kinds of things require a commitment from the tour and the community, and the community here is committed to making this event very big,” said Pro Squash Tournament commissioner Joe McManus.
The Sleasman’s love of the game came from their father, Dan Sr., while growing up in Colonie.
“He’d just bring me to the courts to hit with him when I was younger, and I always loved it,” said Kyle. “It’s been a great sport for me.”
“I love all sports, but this sport has captured my passion and I don’t think I’ll ever let it go,” added Dan Jr.
What makes squash so appealing to the Sleasmans is that it requires power, finesse and endurance. Squash players can hit the ball hard – White holds the world record for hardest backhand (172 miles per hour) and hardest forehand shots (171 mph) – but they can also try to foul up their opponents by hitting a soft drop shot to the corner. And with near-constant action, squash players can burn up a lot of calories in a short period of time.
“Fitness is a huge factor because these (pro) guys all have tremendous ability,” said Dan. “If you’ve got two guys with similar ability and one guy is a little more fit than the other guy, that guy will likely win.”
“If tennis (players) are fit, then these (squash) guys are twice as fit,” said Kyle. “They’re constantly in motion. There is no down time.”
In terms of conditioning, the pros the Sleasmans played had the advantage. Still, Kyle and Dan did the best they could to impress the local fans – especially the Siena College squash team members that came to the Marcelle Athletic Complex to watch them play.
“It’ll be fun because they’re the ones who teach us on the court,” Siena squash player Rob Pacheco prior to Dan’s match against McDavid. “It’ll be fun to watch them play on the court.”
Ultimately, the Sleasmans hope that their efforts will help squash become more popular in the Capital District. Dan said they have a goal to see a multi-court squash facility be built in the area.
“If we had that, I’ll tell you that we’d have so many kids in the area (playing),” added Kyle. “The kids would eat it up.”
To read about differences between squash and racquetball, see this story.