Saturday, September 19, 2009

CrossCourts Pro Invitational Squash Tournament in Boston, USA

By Sarah Cortes

Most of you know me primarily as a technology writer, covering information security, compliance, risk, surveillance, privacy and privacy law, cybersecurity and the White House cybersecurity program for TechTarget Media and other publications. Readers of this blog know I write on a variety of other topics of personal interest to me. I also liveTweet a number of events, where the hand is quicker than the eye. For non-Twitterers, liveTweeting is just using the Twitter platform to report events live.

Yesterday I liveTweeted the excellent matches at the CrossCourts Pro Invitational Squash Tournament at Natick, just outside Boston, Massachusetts, USA. In order, we were offered some remarkably fine matches: Sharplin vs. Chaudhry, Palmer vs. White, Quick vs. Kenny, Razik vs. Illingworth.

Between 6pm and 11pm reporting consisted of 56 tweets, rife with typos reflecting the speed required of live reporting, about half of which covered the final match between Julian Illingworth, USA and Shahier Razik, Canada. This predictably reflected the approximate proportion of time all players spent on court: the Illingworth-Razik match consisting of five games stretched over and hour and 20 minutes.

Each match had its own flavor. Sharplin vs. Chaudhry pitted a hugely popular local coach, Daniel Sharplin (local- via New Zealand) against the Chaudhry, the reigning collegiate national Champion from, where else, Trinity.

Palmer vs. White, two foreigners now making the US their residence, a contrast in styles, periods, and fitness in a match conveying a flavor of longtime tourmates.

Quick vs. Kenny, the US's longtime highest-ranked player and Boston resident vs. the classic Irishman. 5 tweets total.

Then, finally, Illingworth vs. Razik. Illingworth, currently world #33, the highest-ranked US men's player ever. Razik, #27, current Canadian national champion, a highly experienced and respected player, known for punishingly long matches. Last night's match went to Ilingworth, his second win over Razik in their 5-match history. CrossCourts invitational is not PSA, so the win is welcome for Illingworth, but not official.

In interviews afterwards, both players voiced the standard expressions of mutual respect we have come to expect from world class athletes who spend their lives traveling the world more or less in a pack. Illingworth laid out the focused goals we expect of a younger player climbing the ranks. Politely appreciative of the media coverage afforded in a sport where the skill and effort are all out of proportion the the media attention received, Illingworth explained candidly his limied experience thus far with twitter. To wit, two Tweets. Gamely agreeing to participate in this livetweeting experiment, he will attempt to review the livestream in retrospect and make constructive suggestions for tonight's matches. He wasted no time continuing his warmdown during the interview. Explaining why he skipped Egypt, where the rest of the squash world is now gathered, he referenced the high quality of the matches on offer for him and the cost/benefit analysis of travel time vs. training time.

Shahier Razik, as expected, displayed the polite professionalism for which he is known, among other things, and echoed his appreciation for his squash media coverage to date in a world where coverage seems to be shrinking while the sport is expanding. He provided the same refined cost/benefit analysis when explaining his own absence from Egypt last night. As evidence, his charming wife Jacqueline was onsite to express her appreciation for Razik's support of her brief, albeit highly successful squash career to date. Razik also confessed his lack of familiarity with Twitter, but grasped the value of the experiment and graciously agreed to provide his feedback when reviewing the livestream before tonight's events.

Boston is thrilled to host these world class professionals and the liveTweeting experiment, which we will continue shortly in the final matches.

copyright 2009 Sarah Cortes
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