Squashed: The Perks of a Coworking Space
“You don’t need to wear goggles today, since I’m not going to hit you.” She looked me up and down once, then added. “But I’m gonna go ahead and wear mine just in case.” And just like that Allison Magee donned her snazzy pink Oakley goggles and led me onto the scene of my first ever squash lesson. Most coworking spaces offer perks, discounts, and other exclusive benefits to their member communities, but this perk is particularly special as it comes from within the member community itself. Allison, a professional squash player, founder/CEO of Iron Pepper Consulting, and Workbar Boston member, recently offered up free lessons to her fellow Workbarians. She gives two free lessons per month at the Boston Raquet Club, right around the corner from South Station and the Atlantic Avenue coworking locale. She assured me I couldn’t get lost.
We stepped onto the court, and she walked me through the paces of the game. First off, it’s fast. Like, up to 176 mph fast. But the ball’s squishy. Like, it squashes upon impact. This makes for an intense running game, as you have to run more when it bounces less. Different balls are rated for different experience levels, with the most expert balls least enthusiastic about the rebound. Forbes and Men’s Health Magazine weighed in on squash and the verdict is that it’s literally the best sport one could possibly play, burning up to 750 calories an hour.
After she told me this, I stalled, wondering aloud if squash was regionally popular (like my old sports of lacrosse and Civil War reenacting) or more global (like my old sports of soccer and beer pong.) Evidently, Egypt is the world powerhouse of squash, but its American roots are of purely Ivy-Northeastern boarding school origin. And just like my old girl lacrosse, its geographic isolation has ended; like a cardio carpetbagger it has set up shop (and tournaments) across an expanding swath of the South.
“A lot of guys come in here for lessons so they can play with their boss.” Allison explained. “In some ways, it’s like the new golf.”
Except I don’t think ten minutes of warm up drills with a golf coach would have me as winded as this.
“See?” she asked me without any sign of visible fatigue on or around her person. In contrast: me, dying.
“Good cardio, huh?” she asked and I nodded. She reviewed the basics for me again, then cranked the lesson up a notch. “Now we’re going to try to get 100 volleys. If you make a mistake, the count starts over. If I make a mistake, I put the ball in play and we keep going. Ready?” Sure I wasn’t.
The record for most volleys any of her students have gotten is 80-something.
We got to 60-something before I almost collapsed. But when I was in that sweet spot right before unconsciousness I saw how this could get addictive. It’s a quick fix for the most exercise possible; it’s an impervious indoor game that might keep The Crazy at bay during winter; it’s a boon for lunchtime business meetings and it’s awfully rewarding to smack that little ball for all you’re worth.
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About the Author: Dave Gentry is a fan of progress and recess. He believes in old English and new fortune cookies and answers to #davertido.