The first fan at the 2021 U.S. Open Squash Championships was emblematic of the evolution of the game. Matt Maslanka was the very first spectator to enter the Arlen Specter US Squash Center today as first-round matches began in the forty-eight holding of the prestigious event. He was able to grab a front-row seat and get a close-up view of world-class squash.
“It’s amazing to see these players here,” said Maslanka said. “It’s a real thrill.”
Maslanka grew up in the Philadelphia area. He was introduced to squash as a student at Lower Merion High School and played on the combined Harriton & Lower Merion school team, one of the country’s more active public high school squads. In college, Maslanka played for four years on the club team at Penn State.
“When I moved back to Philadelphia, it was hard to find a public club near my house here in the city,” Maslanka said. This past summer, he read about the Specter Center on social media and immediately leapt at the chance to get back on the squash court.
“I joined the Specter last month and it’s been fantastic,” he said. “It’s a real community here already. I’ve been getting my friends to start playing and one of them just bought his first racquet and signed up for one of the free introductory clinics.”