First Annual SquashBusters Thanksgiving Fest

Saturday November 17, 2012 will be remembered as an important day in the annals of SquashBusters history. It marked the Youth Program’s first annual Thanksgiving Fest. The Fest, as no doubt it will come to be known, is a day of service and squash when nearly an equal number of SquashBuster and private school athletes and communitarians unite to Give Back and to Get On Court.

The inaugural event featured a fabulous service project at the Greater Boston Food Bank followed by two super enjoyable early evening hours of squash.

With all that private school coaches and students juggle – including Saturday classes, exams, matches and holiday travel plans – Nobles, Milton, Belmont Hill, Winsor, Brooks, Phillips Academy Andover, and Groton really stepped up to make the Fest a priority. Seven coaches and better than twenty committed players spent the day with twenty-seven SquashBuster students and their coaches.

The Food Bank was a perfect choice of service project given the imminent approach of Thanksgiving.  Our students learned that statewide nearly one in nine Massachusetts residents faces the daily concern of not having enough food to eat. The crisis is far worse in the Boston and Lawrence neighborhoods which SquashBusters serves. During our 2.5 hour service project, the fifty SquashBuster and private school kids worked shoulder to shoulder on an food sorting assembly line sorting and boxing thousands of pounds of food. When all was said and done, the group could lay claim to having prepared for shipment 6000 lbs. of quality food to soup kitchens, senior citizen homes, and churches. Taken one step further, each volunteer learned that he/she was each responsible for sorting food that would feed 82 hungry citizens of Massachusetts.

One might expect fatigue to set in after almost three hours of relentless assembly line work. Just the opposite ensued. The fifty students returned to SquashBusters to engage in two hours of non-stop squash. Eight teams, six players, all mixed up by school, gender and ability, played in a round robin competition. Each match was governed by time rather than points – players were given 4 minutes to battle it out with a blown whistle signaling the immediate end to that individual match. Warm ups and water breaks were prohibited. Play was truly continuous and in two hours flat, 336 individual matches were contested – clearly a squash first.

The day ended with another record being broken – the consumption of ten large pizzas. In less than seven minutes, the pizzas vanished. Folks were equally hungry as they were tired, but all fifty SquashBusters and private school students, and their ten coaches, headed home with the united feeling that they had done something worth doing on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.