A U.S. Open tradition is back. Starting in 2017, a friend of the game has officially started the tournament with the first ball hit on court. The 2022 U.S. Open Squash Championships presented by Truist were launched when Jim Brodo took the ceremonial first swing.
Brodo is one of the most active players at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center. He plays in the evenings on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, as well as leading the Specter’s squad in the 5.0 division of the Philadelphia district league. Brodo, a University of Pennsylvania graduate, first picked up squash at Penn in 1998, more than a decade after graduation. “On that first day,” Brodo said, “I told my partner, ‘I’m coming back tomorrow.’” He joined the Philadelphia league, first playing in the C league, then B and finally A. After more than a dozen years playing at Penn, Brodo moved to Fairmount Athletic Club and then more recently played at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. In July 2021, Brodo joined the Specter Center. “The first day the doors opened, I was here,” he said.
Brodo, fifty-seven, is the Chief Operating Officer at Advantexe Learning Solutions, a business simulation firm that helps companies develop talent. “I always try to hire squash players,” Brodo said. “They work hard, they respond well to changing environments, they are adept and smart on their feet.”
A longtime fan of professional squash, Brodo loves coming to the U.S. Open. “I come to the Open, and I’ll run into so many people I know,” he said. “It’s a community and there is no better community than squash.