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October 10, 2011

I have been meaning to share with you this new thing that has happened to me.  I have made some media lists.  At first I was excited and I actually got the odd interesting article sent to me, but over time it became clearer and clearer that being on a media list just targeted me for more junk than I got before…

Before I share with you some of the more amazing requests I have received for publishing products, this request caught my attention and reminded me of University:

Hi Mark,

How many calories can you burn an hour?  A minute?  A second?

If you’re playing squash, you’ll burn 1020 an hour (or 17 a minute, or 0.283 a second).  That makes it one of the healthiest sports in the world.

In honor of the US Open Squash Tournament (which just wrapped up this weekend), we thought it might make an interesting piece on which sports are the best for you, and how they compare to fall favorites like football and baseball.  See below for some images of the event.

Any interest?  Happy to set you up a time to speak with one of the squash pros.



First I would like to point out that the likelihood of you burning 1020 calories in an hour of squash are pretty much nil.  I point out in my book, ‘You Are Not A Fit Person’ that all of the gold medal activities will burn about the same amount of calories at the same intensity levels.  Squash is certainly a gold medal activity, but it is hard to keep up to full intensity for an hour.

For example, this website says that a 205 pound man burns 1117 calories per hour playing squash.   According to the same site that is about the equivalent of a 205 pound man running 11.3 km  (7.05m) in one hour (or completing a 10k run in 53 minutes).  That isn’t insanely fast, but that is probably faster than most 205 pound men run.  That is how hard that same 205 pound man would have to play squash.  The one thing about running that makes it so unique is the fact that the output in running is constant.  You just churn out distance, slogging away without a break.  You get a lot of breaks in squash.  Still, it is a great sport, a lot of fun and great exercise!!

So, that aside, I really don’t have any questions for the squash pros so I think I will pass on this promotional offer as well.  I will instead share with you a story from my days in University.  I had learned to play squash in highschool.  I played with a good friend of mine Tom and later with some other friends.  By University I was playing with this large chested beautiful friend of my girlfriends…  I still remember playing with her…  I never did flirt with her or hit on her-it didn’t occur to me apparently because I was dating her friend, maybe I was a better person back then-but there is something intensely sexy about playing squash with a very talented and beautiful squash player, all the running and near collisions, the dripping in sweat, the competition and the betting…  I swear if all sporting activities were that much fun we would all be fit.  Still, this wasn’t the story I wanted to share.

Later on my first year roommate, Trevor and I started playing.  I also taught this born athlete Dave  who lived down the hall how to play.  He had never played before but he was awesome.  His accuracy wasn’t 100% but he could really belt the ball.  He was going to a US University on a baseball pitching scholarship when he tore the ligaments in his shoulder and his sports dream was over.  Instead he was left with a massive scar.    So I had been playing squash a lot with Trevor.  He is also known as the beast from the east is an awesome guy and a great friend.  Still, sometimes things can get tense, and squash brought out the worst in us.  Both Trevor and I were very competitive and my head start began to be eaten away by Trevor’s superior ability, that and Trevor’s insane desire to win.  A very annoying feature of Squash is the let.  When one player gets in the front of another player or their is a risk of hitting the other player with a racquet, the player calls ‘Let!!’ and the point is replayed.  This is a great feature, except when a player calls Let because they can’t get to the ball but they pretend you are in the way.  Trevor did this a lot.  It drove both Dave and I crazy.  He also dominated the ‘T’, the area in the middle of the court.  This makes it very hard to get to the ball and it is incumbent on the player to get out of the way of the opponents shot, which Trevor didn’t do.  This too drove Dave and I crazy.

I have a faint memory of Dave and I conspiring one night to hit Trevor with a racquet or find some way to teach him a lesson.  I think we even talked up a plan of standing back while Trevor was in the T facing the wall and hitting him with the ball.  I think we laughed and laughed and suggested we would do it some day.

In any case, one day the opportunity came to Dave…  Trevor was driving him crazy and on one shot he hit a lobbing shot of the front wall, it dropped towards the back of the court and Trevor stood his ground and was facing the wall, right in the T.  Dave leaned back and with all his might let loose and nailed Trevor right in the middle of the back….

It was horrible and sooo funny… Trevor dropped his racquet and fell to the floor letting out a bleating scream of pain… he was trying to reach the spot in the middle of his back where he was hit and lying on his side he was running his feet and reaching behind himself… the end product of this was about 5 minutes of his body going in an endless circle with him looking like he was running around a treadmill, with him moving and the treadmill staying stationary, howling the whole time.

Later after the dust settled and we were back in the room laughing about what happened (I think Dave I were laughing more than Trev, but he too was taking it in stride), he showed us the bruise…  I have never seen anything like it.  It was like the craziest bullseye ever.  The middle area where the ball struck him was dead white.  The skin eventually died here and fell off…  There was a 6 inch circle of dark, dark brown, bordering on black bruise around this circle.  The circle was perfect or nearly so.  Around this was another few inches of red circle.   It was incredibly bizarre.  I have never seen anything like it.  I don’t even know how Trevor slept for the next few weeks.

In any case, when we talked about hitting Trevor with the ball I had no idea the force that Dave could create.  I was shocked.  I have to admit after that I was never entirely comfortable playing squash with him or charging the next in tennis against him.  It was clear to me that he was in a totally different league.  Obviously what we did was horrible and now that I write it down it isn’t as funny sounding as it was.  It was hilarious… we laughed our asses off about that.  Had I hit him with a ball it probably would have hurt but not a lot.  I wonder if I called Trevor and asked him if he thought it was funny, what he would say.  Maybe I will call him tomorrow and ask.

So, the point of this whole story is, nobody ever got a bullseye on their back running, so you might want to give that a shot.  That or stay out of the ‘T’…


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