U.S. Open Celebrates Character in Sports Day

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(L-R) Richard Chin, Ricardo Lopez, Dent Wilkens, Jay Nelson, Pat Millman, Ed Chilton, Mark Lewis, Hope Prockop, Richard Sheppard, Kim Clearkin and Sandra Worthington

The sixth-annual Character in Sports Day at the 2019 FS Investments U. S. Open highlighted sportsmanship on Tuesday evening as the Round of 16 was contested on court.

Throughout the 115-year history of US Squash, said Kevin Klipstein, the President & CEO of US Squash, the association has celebrated the intrinsic values of squash: courtesy, fair play, graciousness, honesty and an abiding sense of respect and fellowship with opponents. Because of the uniqueness of squash—unlike most other racquet sports, squash opponents physically share the same space—sportsmanship is a core proposition of the game. “It is our greatest differentiator,” Klipstein said. “We are focused on lifelong engagement in squash, and sportsmanship is central to that vision.”

US Squash awarded its two most prestigious adult sportsmanship awards during Character in Sports Day. Pat Millman received the Feron’s Wedgwood Sportsmanship Award, and Jay Nelson received the Robert W. Callahan Sportsmanship Award.

A central part of Character in Sports Day was a SquashSmarts practice and Q&A session. Two dozen SquashSmarts boys played on the courts at the Kline & Specter Squash Center at Drexel. A cohort of top-ranked PSA players—Nour El Tayeb, Saurav Ghosal, and Daryl Selby—joined the SquashSmarts boys at the practice, giving them a first-hand look at life on the professional tour. Girls from the SquashSmarts program will get on court Wednesday afternoon with the pros during Women in Sports Day.

Founded in 2001, SquashSmarts has just begun its nineteenth season. A 501(c)3 non-profit, SquashSmarts is an award-winning, free, intensive, out-of-school academic and athletic mentoring program changing the lives of Philadelphia’s public school students. Students are recruited in middle school from Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary, Neuva Esperanza Academy Charter, Science Leadership Academy, Carver School for Engineering & Science, and Overbrook Educational Center. Operating out of two facilities—the Lenfest Center in North Philadelphia and Drexel’s Daskalakis Athletic Center—the program has students attend practices three days a week for seven years. SquashSmarts is the central community partner of the twenty-court Arlen Specter US Squash Center opening next year on Drexel’s campus.