Few books I have read in my life have stirred such a strong emotional response in me. In part because of my love for the game, in part because I know many of the key characters, and in large part because I can relate to the human drama that is woven into the book from start to finish.
It can be very hard to do the right thing when it comes to those you love. And it can be hard to follow your dreams, especially when those dreams take you to the other side of the world, far from the comforts and protections of everything and everyone you know so well. Both of these themes are familiar to me and are addressed again and again in the book.
'Run to the Roar' is a book by Paul Assaiante, Trinity head squash coach, and James Zug, acclaimed squash writer. It is a wonderful roller-coaster of joy and despair, triumph and tragedy. It neatly summarizes the events of one day in February 2009 when Trinity played Princeton in a College Squash Association finals in Princeton, New Jersey. Assaiante dedicates a chapter to each player.
In addition to the outcome of each match is a back story about the Trinity student, his character, his relationship with Paul and how he came to be there on that day. The tension escalates throughout the book and culminates in the final match played by Trinity number one, Baset Chaudhry. The epilogue mentions an even more infamous match played by Chaudhry against Yale's Ken Chan which ended on every sports channel on TV - the infamous outburst at the end of the match. But this particular moment is a non-event in the book. It is first mentioned on the last page. So if you are looking for gore, look elsewhere.
This is a story of pressure, passion, courage and victory. This is a human story and is less about squash and more about what it takes to successfully lead a bunch of young men to overcome their fears and achieve greatness in sport.
You may be interested to know that I sat next to Chaudhry recently at a tournament dinner and I can tell you with certainty that his outburst was completely out of character and he should never by judged by it. He was nothing but polite and respectful and humble. In fact, I would go as far as to say that he has a very sweet and charming way about him. But you also get the distinct feeling that he is a very determined and serious young man. The book will tell you more.
I encourage you to buy 'Run to the Roar' (get it at Amazon.com) and I sincerely hope you enjoy reading the book and that it moves you the way it did me. And after you finish it you will feel like you know Paul Assaiante and the players on his team of 2009 very well, and you will like all these characters very much. Furthermore, no matter your college affiliation, you will inevitably come to respect Coach Paul for what he has achieved. It is a special story that will be told for generations to come.
Read more from Brett at www.brettssquashblog.com