Two members from the Terrace Racquets Association joined Team BC and placed fifth in the 2019 Squash Team Masters Championships.
Steve Hawyes and Bill Holdyk competed in the games that took place in Gatineau, QC from Jan. 11-13 alongside five other players from across the province.
“To come from a town like Terrace all the way across to the east and be able to compete on the big screen, it was absolutely wonderful and such an honour,” says Hawyes. “Travelling is always exciting and special, especially when we’re able to represent B.C. in such a beautiful part of Canada.”
This is the first time that the Terrace Racquets Association had their players compete in the masters’ games, which is an annual competition for squash players over the age of 40 from across the country.
Never having met the other five team members before the competition, Hawyes says their group’s dynamic and energy was encouraging and affirmative.
“We really became the best mates straight away… the attitude from the beginning was that we were going to be supportive of one another and that we were to going to give 110 per cent.”
Although their team didn’t place first, their enthusiasm for squash and one another did not go unnoticed.
They won the ‘Nelly Award’, which is awarded to the team that shows the best spirit for the game. The last time B.C. won this title was six years ago.
“We got the most important trophy,” Hawyes says. “Everyone thought team B.C. had the best team spirit. We were being pretty loud and encouraging throughout the entire tournament.”
He adds that they were referred to as the “funnest team”, especially after coming together to perform a comical skit of a grumpy squash player in front of spectators and their competitors at half-time.
“We presented it to the whole crowd and it was an overwhelming amount of response… We were going to play hard and we were going to party hard,” says Hawyes with a laugh.
Hawyes, with his family, moved from South Africa to Canada four years ago. Having all competed at national levels representing South Africa in championships, he says he’s continued playing squash because of the great community aspect to it.
“Regardless of political differences or ethical differences, squash unifies people on that regard and that’s just another aspect I love about the game.”
He says that he’s also happy to have the opportunity to represent their new adopted home as well.
“We have fallen in love with B.C., especially Terrace. It’s an amazing pride, I’m squash-mad I just love everything about it.”
He says he would like to keep the same team together for next year, given their passion and optimistic approach to squash.
“Some people take themselves too seriously, we just want to have a fun alternative and a healthy lifestyle… we’ve all become friends running after a piece of rubber.”