Act 2, scene 1.
The opening scene is focused upon two male squash players playing their sport in a white walled squash court down at Boredwood Squash Centre. The players are covered in sweat and seem to be thoroughly enjoying the match.
There are 8 spectators perched above the squash court and two of them are clearly officiating the match, for one calls out the score and the other states the first words of scene, after one player gets into position to hit the ball but refrains from doing so and looks up quizzically at the referee.
“NO LET.” States the middle aged balding male dressed in a name brand quality track suit.
All the squash spectators groan, one does not contain himself and speaks up.
“Crickey that was a stroke, not a no let!”
“Come on ref, he was clearly in the way and I’d have hit him if I hit that ball, that’s gotta be at least a let, and was actually a stroke.” states the player whom refrained from hitting the ball.
“No let, six five.” states the scorer amidst the noise of the other people’s verbalisations.
“For fucks sake.” murmurs the denied player.
“Conduct penalty for audible profanity.” states the ref.
The scorer makes another mark on the score paper and states,
“Conduct stroke for swearing, seven five.”
The denied and swearing player is visibly upset, bites his top lip and turns abruptly and walks over to the receiving position as the other player is ready to serve.
Thawck, the serve goes in hard and just above the service line, and the rally progresses. The players work hard and hit the ball hard with no lobs and no drop shots, just belting the ball as hard as they seem able to do. They run forwards, side to side and backwards and the match progresses… until fade out.
Act 2, Scene 2.
All the same men are sitting around a table that has pizza and party pies and beers upon it. The men all seem quite happy to be feeding themselves and are talking noisily about various stuff.
“Did you see that ball from Wornie, took out Gapping’s off stump after pitching a mile on the leg side, just spun back fantastically and missed everything except the top of off stump. Bloody amazing that delivery, his first ball of the Charcoal Cup, blew the fricking house down the crowd did!”
“Yeh mate I saw that delivery, that lad is gonna go far if he stays away from the bad elements.”
“Totally, he looks like a natural, our great flat nation needs more naturals, I really reckon a natural is the pinnacle of all sport.”
“Absolutely, sport specific skill training by qualified coaches is mostly bullshit. If you’re a natural you can do anything. Coaches barely need to do anything for the great players, just get them playing lots of matches against the best players possible. The bullshit about all those little skills games and drills with brief chats about visualisation and positioning and choices and options, like totally not how sport is played in competition at all. You gotta train hard and long, I’ve always said that. If you aren’t totally exhausted after training, you may as well not have even bothered training.”
“Pass me another beer will you Roger?”
Clunk, the beer is plonked in front of the dark haired chap whose plate in front of him is piled with the crust leavings of the two party pizza’s they’ve been demolishing.
“yeh, mate after a boring day at work shuffling the paper around, I really appreciate just belting the fuck out of the ball and running hard. It’s bloody hilarious when one of the club coaches offers some advise about improving my game, yeh right I ask them. Are you a world champion? No, then naff off!”
“What is it with those guys? I been playing the same state 5 competition for twenty years, I’m quite comfortable where I am and just love playing matches. I’m confident after all these years I’m not gonna get any better no matter what they say. I do wish our club coach would tell me how to stop the repeated knee pain I keep getting though. I’m always sore after training and that’s a good thing – showed I worked hard. But then a day later my knee gets much worse and I gotta take pain medications and anti-inflammatories, the pills fix it all up in two or three days, but then the following week it all flares up again after competition or practice.”
That player is icing his knee whilst holding a beer and chatting at the same time, he is dressed in name brand athletic clothing and looks quite healthy and speaks with an educated manner, but is strong in his opinions expressed.
The youngest player speaks for the first time at the dinner table.
“Who is your club coach?”
“Micah Gnosh. The little guy with no hair, he coached some highly natural ability players about ten years ago but none of his current crop have any talent, so he reaches out to us club players trying to earn a buck off us whilst he waits for a natural to show up.”
“Micah Gnosh, hey, yeh I’ve heard that name around the place, he’s really quite political when he talks about squash but doesn’t seem to have a great relationship with our tournament organisers. I did some sessions with him and my drop shot has never been better!” the young player enthuses.
Laughing out loud, the name brand and educated mannerism bloke speaks up,
“You went to Micah for coaching, no wonder you and George had a five setter tonight. George read you like a book, hey George, what did you think of this young fellas drop shot tonight?”
“Fuck off roger, you saw I barely even got one of his drop shots back, he kept hitting the nick and rolling them all fucking night.” the table laughs whilst the youngster looks perplexed and we fade out that scene.
Act 2, scene 3.
“Mum, where is my shorts and tshirt? I’m gonna be late for training!” shouts a fourteen year old girl from her bedroom.
“Muuuummmm! Where’s my shorts and tshirt? MUUUUUMMMM!”
The mother walks into the room and truly looks befrazzled and exasperated. She opens the second drawer of the girls dresser and like magic pulls out a tiny pair of shorts and tshirt.
“Here they are Shara, you know I put the squash gear in the second drawer after I wash and fold it for you.”
“Come on mum, stop lecturing me, I gotta go.” The girl shoves her shorts and t shirt into a yonex squash bag moves quickly through her house into the back yard and puts on her bike helmet, chucks her leg over the adjacent bike and all in one fluid motion starts riding out the backyard. She pedals hard down the drive way, takes a left turn and stands up as she pumps her legs fiercely on the pedals, her bike swaying side to side as she rides down the foot path on the left side.
The camera follows her as she rides to the local squash centre. In full view we see that the centre has a massive sign up on the grey brick wall at the front of the building, “Misty Beach Squash Centre.” The girl throws her bike up against the bike rack and takes off her helmet hurrying to place it on the bikes handle bars and runs inside.
The front door flies open and we see an elderly women sitting behind a counter that is covered in chocolate bars, candies, a buzzing fridge filled with soft drinks and behind the counter on the wall is a whole heap of squash gear, rackets, balls, grips, t shirts, bags, that kind of stuff.
“Oh Shara, you’re late again, coach is spewing you’ve missed the video he prepared for this session. Better get in there quick smart love.”
“Hi Sally, thanks, watch my bike will you?” Shara runs past Sally’s counter down the hallway and discovers her coach on the glass backed court with two other girls.
The girls are twins, they are literally dressed exactly the same way, long blonde hair tied back in a bun, and the only thing different about them is that one uses a head microgel 125 racket in her left hand, and the other one uses a head microgel 145 racket in her right hand. They are both hitting the ball with great timing and look very fit and focused as Shara pulls out her squash racket and walks onto the court.
“Hi coach, sorry I’m late, what you want me to do?”
“Shara, you could start by getting changed into your squash gear and then go to the av room and watch the dvd I’ve left in the machine for you please.”
“Oh shit, woops, yeh ok.” says Shara as she backs out of the squash court.
Shara retrieves her squash bag and drops her racket up against the rear wall of the glass court and hurries down to the av room, which is just another squash court repurposed into an av room by having some chairs, carpet and a tv on a stand put at the front of the court, like all the other courts, it has a glass back wall and a door in the centre of that glass wall.
Shara walks over to the dvd player and presses play. Whilst the video starts, Shara looks around and seeing no one else, slips her shorts under her school skirt and takes the skirt off. She quickly takes off her top and slides her clean t shirt on over her head. Meanwhile the coaches voice emerges from the tv screen.
“We are going to work on hard hitting today, with the purpose of hitting so hard that our opponent has much less time to react to our shots. We are going to use a high back swing and early preparation and transfer our bodyweight in the direction we want the ball to go. When we follow through, I want to see your racket go all the way up behind your head, like this.” The coach is demonstrating the swing and clearly has this movement well practised.
“After the follow through finishes, bring your racket back to the central upright ready position and look for your opponents next shot. Always feel and think about where you are driving this ball towards. Start todays session with the normal warm up routine and then get into paired hitting, with the third person staying in the middle looking to volley the hard drives if they can reach it, after ten drives each, move to the next position.”
Shara listens to all that whilst she is packing her school clothes into her bag, and when the short video finishes, she walks quickly back out to the twins court and reenters it.
“Hi Shara!” say the twins in unison.
“G’day Ella and Bella.” speaks Shara as she moves to the T position to attempt to volley their hard hit drives.
The first attempt Shara makes hits the tin and stays in the front court, Shara runs over and hits it to Bella. Bella smashes it hard back cross court and Shara can’t reach it. The coach is standing outside the court looking on. Ella positions her body, and transfers all her bodyweight as she smashes the ball back across court.
Shara lunges to the left and volleys the ball, but this time the ball hits the top edge of her racket, flies directly upwards vertically and hits the fluroescent lights. The light cover is dislodged and slowly the three metre long transparent plastic floats and falls to the ground, where it smashes into a thousand bits! The bits spread out all over the whole court and the twins look mouth agape at Shara as Shara bursts into tears.
“argggg” Shara cries out loud, and flings her racket towards the front wall, the racket richochets off the front wall and flies back towards Ella who in a flash dodges out of the way.
“Shara!” shouts the coach, whilst the twins, groan in unison “Shara!”
Shara with tears in her eyes picks up her racket and discovers it is broken in half, and then crunches her way to the door, with the broken plastic crunching, flings open the door, still crying and picks up her bag and proceeds to head towards the front foyer. Along the way she dumps her broken racket into a handy bin.
Sally is already coming out from behind the desk and asks,
“Shara what happened?”
“Leave me alone, i broke the racket and the light, i’m going home.”
“Oh Shara, it’ll be ok, stay a bit and calm down before you ride home. Coach and you girls can use court three to finish off if you want.”
Shara doesn’t even reply, flings open the door and exits the building.
We see Sally continuing to walk over to the court and the twins and coach leaving the court with the girls steps crunching upon the broken plastic.
“Crikey coach, that is a mess! What did she do this time?”
The twins interrupt the coach, “Shara was unlucky, the ball just hit the top of her racket and flew upwards.” It is truly weird how that whole sentence the twins speak in unison.
Coach just shakes his head and puts his hand over his face as he gestures to the girls to come on over to court three to continue their training. The twins faces and body movements show they have let the past go and they get right back into smashing the ball as hard as they can. Coach stands outside the court watching and the camera shows the back of his sports jacket, in clear black writing across the sports jacket reads, “Play Well Cregone Coaching.”
The camera pans over to the other court on which Sally is sweeping up the plastic shards whilst the thwack, thwack of the twins hitting reverberates in the background.
End of Act 2.
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