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everything you never knew you needed to know about the 2015 World Champs ...

[ Scott Lee ] Amr Shabana ] How it Works ] Walking in Bellevue ] Family Affair ]

Scott Lee,
An Ever so Discreet Patron


Once in a while, life sends you a gift. Somebody who is precious, not only for yourself, but for our sport. Somebody who gives, relentlessly, discreetly, asking for no reward.

Ziad Al-Turki, now PSA Chairman, is one of them. Scott Lee, Patron to 2015 Seattle World Champs, is another.

Rare are those people, who work in the background, far away from the limelight. You won't find Scott's company's name in the Sponsors list of the event. He won't even let me put its name on this article.

He supported Seattle Promoter Shabana Khan's immense effort to get the Worlds in the US from his own pocket.  And kept inviting us to superb restaurants, never sitting down, spending his time checking that we had everything we wanted. Astonishing kindness and care.

You won't find a facebook page, or a twitter account for him. He won't take credit for anything he's done, doesn't look for recognition. He just loves Squash.

He loves squash players. He wants the best for them. He is passionate. He is clever. He is dedicated. He's got vision. And he chose Squash. We are Soooooooo lucky to have him on board people.

Here is a little glimpse of the personality of this quite remarkable man ...

Scott with Deima Delnatour, his girlfriend


The Khan Dynasty in Seattle

Where I come from...

I migrated to the U.S. from South Korea when I had just turned 12. My family and I first arrived in Seattle, and now, 40 years later, I’m back living in Seattle. It’s funny how life works in mysterious ways.

Growing up, I excelled in sports, especially soccer and speed skating. I never would have imagined that one day I would be championing squash in the U.S. The series of events that led to my love of squash are deeply fond memories.

Long Journey to Squash ...

When my family left Seattle to settle in a small town in Rhode Island, I discovered a company in town called Bancroft. They made wooden racquets for tennis and squash. Their most famous client was Bjorn Borg. One day, I ended up buying a Bjorn Borg wooden tennis racquet and sat in front of the TV and tried to imitate his famous two-handed backhand.

In high school, my soccer coach, who was also my tennis coach, convinced me to try out for the tennis team. Though I never had formal training, I ended up making the team. That was my first entrance to the world of competitive racquet sport.

Later in college, I had several friends who played squash and was intrigued by the funny-looking wooden squash racquets they would carry around. They constantly raved about our home state hero, a guy named Mark Talbot. I really didn’t understand his impact on the game and US squash until many years later.

First Experience in Squash

After living many years in New York and Boston working for large investment firms, I decided to move back to Seattle in 2007. When I was looking for a fitness club in downtown Seattle, I saw Ayub Khan, (one of Shabana’s brothers) giving a squash lesson. I was impressed, and I decided to give it a try. I've been hooked on squash ever since. I try to play regularly, but it’s tough given my travel schedule. If I could do it all again, I'd absolutely start playing squash at a much earlier age.

Why Do I Love Squash?

Yusef Khan, Shabana’s father, pulled me over one day and whispered in my ear “This is a thinking person’s game.” The more I played, the more I understood what he meant. Unlike tennis, you can’t “ace” anybody. The longer the rally, the better player you are.

People ask me why I love the game, and I always explain it this way: Besides being the healthiest sport in the world, it is a gender and physical neutral game. You do not necessarily have an advantage because you are male, tall or strong. I’ve seen many great female players beat male counterparts handily. You can be short and slender and still be good. Like in life, anyone has a chance to win.

How I Got Involved In the World Championship

When Shabana told me she was awarded with the tournament, I wanted to help. I shared her vision of bringing the World Squash Championship to the U.S., promoting local squash and awarding the largest squash prize money to date to the players.

 I always felt squash players were underpaid and underappreciated. She really wanted to focus on the players’ experience during their stay and demonstrate how it can be elevated to another level.

My Best Memory From the Worlds
  • Players participating from over 24 countries.
      
  • Many honest calls between the players without the referee’s involvement (We need more of that).
      
  • Group dinners after the matches.
      
  • Being Greg Gaultier’s personal assistant. They said I had to learn the ropes before I can move up. (inside joke here).
      
  • Watching Greg crying and hugging his team after he won. I was happy for him and to the people of France, given the recent tragedy.
     
  • Final night dinner with the French team and the Khan family.
      
  • Promoted to VP of Entertainment, Food and Beverages for Shabana's company


Suggestions From a Fan’s Perspective
  • Players and fans are the most important commodities to the sport.
      
  • Reformat major tournament schedules so that the players do not have to crisscross the globe in a short period. A minimum of 1 month space between major tournaments.
      
  • Continue to improve and leverage technology to make the calls more accurate and fair.
      
  • Continue to improve the way the sport is marketed.
      
  • Find ways to generate more revenue and create larger tournament prize money.
      
  • Create a referee ranking system to reward top referees and weed out the incompetent ones voted by the players.
      
  • Consistent players’ experience from each of the major tournaments.
      
  • Minimum requirements from tournament directors.

My Wish (Dream) List
  • World Championship at Madison Square Garden.
      
  • Build a glass court on the beach so people can watch a game of squash while drinking wine and eating strawberries and cream.
      
  • One major tournament requiring players to wear all white.
      
  • Squash televised “live” on ESPN or on a major network.
      
  • Squash as an Olympic sport.
      
  • A winning player holding a check for a million dollar prize.

Let there be peace, love and understanding
through squash!

 

[ Scott Lee ] Amr Shabana ] How it Works ] Walking in Bellevue ] Family Affair ]

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