Sunday saw the final Essex Junior Grand Prix Series event of the season, bringing the curtain down on another tremendously successful competition, which was designed as an entry-level event for Essex’s budding young squash players. For some, it is the beginning of their squash story and for others, a valuable stepping stone along the way. For one such young man, Sunday was his final Grand Prix event. Here, his father Tim Brown, tells us his family’s story and involvement with the GP series.
TIM BROWN WRITES
Another successful Grand Prix series has come to an end and for my family it
also closes a chapter, because our son Louis (who if you don’t know him is the
boy who wears pink shoes & carries around a smelly toy rhino) has played his
last Grand Prix. For us and him this is a sad day. GPs have been a big part of our
lives for the last 3 years. We’ve even had to book holidays around the GP
calendar so that Louis wouldn’t miss one.
Like many parents who have a love of sport we introduced our children to various
weekend sporting activities – we started with Mini Kickers (2 left feet) crossed
over to Mini Golf (too cliquey once it got more serious) and then Cycling replaced
the fairway in 2012 as ‘the Bradley Wiggins effect’ took hold (way too cold in the
winter). Tennis was the sole survivor; the love of racket sports paving the way for
the next sport on the block. Squash.
Our eldest son Jamie took part in a summer holiday multi-rackets camp at
Lexden and seemed to like hitting a ball against a wall. What’s not to like? He
started playing at Lexden on a Saturday morning and before long Paul Allen
suggested taking part in a Grand Prix. We were initially reluctant as we felt he
wasn’t ready for tournaments but were surprised at how much fun they were.
As newbie,s we knew very little about squash but everyone was so helpful and
willing to give us their time and advice. We appreciated every word.
Unfortunately for Jamie he didn’t do that many GPs but soon after his last one
Louis decided he wanted to start and so we carried on.
The GPS are a fantastic introduction to squash competitions. David Harris, ably
assisted by Emma, certainly knows how to run a tournament. I have nothing but
praise for him and Essex Junior Squash. The GPs are fun, friendly and lively and I
shall miss not doing them.

Louis Brown and his trusted mascot

Louis has some good memories of our time at these events, not only for the

squash but for going for walks in the forest at Connaught, eating cookies and
playing table football at Bishop Stortford and of course: the bling.
In the 3 years we’ve been going to the GPs we’ve made friends and learnt so
much about a sport that we’ve all come to love. I myself became an expert at
looking busy when David was on the prowl looking for markers, although I found
that hiding worked best at Connaught and the Garrison (you can have that tip on
me). Sorry David but we all do it from time to time! Sadly, for Louis though,
hiding and looking busy are skills that he never learnt to master and was
frequently collared.
Now it’s time for us to move on. For parents reading this thinking ‘what next’, the
natural progression from the GPs is to enter some local Coppers and Bronzes and
the Super Six Series starting in September is the perfect ‘offering’ for the next
tier of competitive squash.
For us, we’ve started doing some Silvers and Golds. These are also great, but are
very different and if I’m honest, some of the fun goes. It becomes a more serious
(not to mention expensive) business and at times just a little bit stressful.
You enter the world of egos (that’s just the parents), rankings, 3-day tournaments
and travelling to such exotic places as Birmingham, Nottingham & Hull. Yep, trust
me, you really haven’t lived until you’ve spent 3 nights at a Premier Inn in Hull.
That said we have thoroughly enjoyed the squash journey so far. I don’t know
how far it will take us but, by doing the GPs, our boys have had the best start
possible. So, David, I thank you for everything and long may you and the GPs
prosper.