The 2014 Delaware Investments U.S. Open celebrated Character in Sports Day in grand style. On a warm, rainy evening, a capacity crowd gathered at the historic Paul Peck Alumni Center on Drexel University’s campus. (The Peck Center has a subtle squash connection—it was designed, in 1876, by Frank Furness, the same famous Philadelphia architect who designed the squash mecca Merion Cricket Club twenty years later.)
The highlight of the evening was the launch of a new US Squash honor, Men’s Sportsmanship Award, which Kevin Klipstein, the CEO of US Squash, gave to Ed Chilton. It was an emotional moment. The crowd gave Chilton a long standing ovation. Chilton, the pro at Wilmington Country Club, spoke with passion about his family (including his four sisters), friends, colleagues down in Wilmington, doubles partner Andrew Slater and his early mentors in Washington—Wendy Lawrence and Howard Day.
Later in the evening, Chilton went on the glass court at the Open to be honored in front of the packed gallery. Chilton and Gilly Lane, the emcee of the Open, had a quick question-and-answer about Chilton’s love of squash and its power to encourage and sustain good sportsmanship.
At Character in Sports Day, Klipstein thanked Clay Hamlin and the Hamlin Family Foundation for its support for character education. He also acknowledged all past recipients of national sportsmanship awards including the DeRoy Junior Sportsmanship Award, the women’s Feron’s Wedgwood Sportsmanship Trophy, and the collegiate individual (Skillman and Richey Awards) and collegiate team (Sloane and Chaffee) Awards.In particular, Klipstein pointed out the presence of four previous winners of the Feron’s Wedgwood Sportsmanship Trophy—Wendy Lawrence (1984), Sue Lawrence (2010), Beth Fedorowich(2012) and Julie Kessler (2013)—as well as Dent Wilkens who won the 2001 DeRoy.
Another part of the evening was a celebration of the start of the World Squash Federation’s annual general meeting. There was a particularly international feel to the celebration, with delegates from thirty countries. John Fry welcomed all the guests and gave a special award of recognition and thanks to N. Ramachandran. Since 2008, Ramachandran has been the president of the WSF and has spearheaded the effort for squash to gain admittance into the Olympic Games.