Squash is now in fashion

FITTING IN - Tweetie De Leon-Gonzalez () - May 5, 2010 - 12:00am

Whoever said fashionistas keep to their glamorous milieu are, admittedly, correct. Though not always, and not entirely. Not all keep themselves corralled in lighted runways and chi-chi cast parties; quite a few feel just as comfortable greasing their elbows in sweat-filled arenas. Leaving their comfort zone of pampered labor does not seem a horrific prospect at all as most would probably suspect. Driven by vanity? Perhaps. Fitness? For sure. Some opt for the pavement and the track, some the shalas, others the gym, and a thriving number chose the courts — the squash courts.

As a certified squash fanatic, I am delighted that fashion friends have joined in the fun, acknowledging that the sport has in fact gripped their fascination. Forsaking all things dazzling, fashion VIPs Apples Aberin, Phem Baranda, Grace Molina, Robby Carmona, Patrick Rosas and Angel Jacob together with international golfing champ Jennifer Rosales initially tiptoed around but later hotfooted to the courts for some serious training to get a good, serious workout. 

“I never really gave squash a thought before this. Now that I’ve tried it, I’ve come to realize it is quite enjoyable. Addicting is the word for it,” says Robby.

Patrice Ramos, another squash enthusiast, is just as euphoric seeing fashion industry colleagues get into the game she has come to love. “I’ve been playing squash with my cousins since I was young. I keep coming back to play because it helps me release stress and tension,” says Patrice. “And for the firm legs and tight buns it gives,” she adds with a chuckle.

Squash, widely considered an English sport, has in truth, French origins. Its roots can be traced back to the early 15th century in France, and was merely developed by the English into what it is today. The game is played within a four-walled indoor court using a “squashable” low-bounce rubber ball and racquets smaller than those used in tennis but heftier than those in badminton. Played in singles, each player takes turns hitting the ball toward the front wall, ideally away from his opponent in order to dominate the “T.”

Rated by Forbes magazine as the healthiest sport, knocking swimming down to a distant fourth and basketball to fifth, (check out http://www.forbes.com/2003/10/01/cx_ns_1001feat.html), squash engages most muscle groups in the body to work hand in hand with mental alertness, deftness and calculated anticipation. It is a total body workout that combines strength, endurance, agility and flexibility and requires a high cardiovascular output from each player. Each player uses his upper body to swing the racquet and his legs and lower body to run after the ball.

Jennifer Rosales, or J. Ro as she is fondly called, shares: “I feel good after playing squash. Though I perspire on the golf course a lot, this sport pushes me to my limit. You really need cardiovascular endurance here.” And for this seemingly arduous and punishing performance, a remarkable 1,000 calories are burned during an hour’s worth of intense playing.

It is perhaps for this very reason that models are taking up the challenge of learning the sport and joining a tournament. The Celebrity Squash Cup on May 8 is the third installation of The Squash Rackets Association of the Philippines’ (SRAP) commitment to popularize squash, wherein fashion models, designers, directors and stylists, together with other sports celebrities help in promoting this serious yet elegant and graceful sport in the course of having fun.

This year’s celebrity tournament, presented by Schwarzkopf Professional and The Palms Country Club, sees a higher turnout of players from the previous years, promising a more exciting afternoon of friendly competition, team spirit and newfound camaraderie. Celebrities are distributed among four teams of big name sport brands — Team Nike Park, Team Speedo, Team Prince and Team Head — and will vie for the championship trophy. Special gifts from Nestlé Philippines Inc., Folded & Hung and Vitwater await all the participants while raffle items from Jewelmer, C2 Collezione, Crocs, Hewlett Packard, PLDT Smart, Karakal and Fresh Papaya Soap will be given to lucky winners.

For anyone interested in squash lessons, visit www.srap.net.ph.

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