NEW YORK — For the primary time in historical past, an all-Black staff is heading to the nationwide highschool championships within the sport of squash, and they’re from Harlem.
The Thurgood Marshall Academy boys hope to make a giant impression.
United in black uniforms, the Panthers proudly step to the nationwide stage. The teammates realized the sport on the Harlem nonprofit StreetSquash.
“It is a very humbling expertise, simply to be part of one thing greater,” mentioned David Johnson.
Final semester, after taking part in for enjoyable for years, they petitioned their faculty for squash as an official sport, permitting them to enter the nationwide highschool match.
Their coach, Simba Muhwati, grew up taking part in squash in Zimbabwe earlier than coming to compete in faculty within the States, the place the game seemed lots completely different.
“It was tremendous prosperous right here and the remainder of the world, it is not,” Muhwati noticed. “It is truly fairly center class and under.”
These pupil athletes squash any notion the court docket sport is healthier suited to youngsters of privilege.
“Being the one all-Black staff, we broke quite a lot of stereotypes, and it is deeper than squash,” mentioned Harlem Jones. “Squash has opened quite a lot of doorways for me.”
Throughout league play with StreetSquash, staff members traveled throughout the nation and even to England to compete in opposition to gamers from all completely different backgrounds.
“My opponent was a 50-year-old man,” Allasane Diakite recalled of 1 match. “I did not actually suppose nothing of it as a result of he was up there in age, however he confirmed me some new issues. He was a very good opponent.”
Their eyes have been opened to a lifelong passion, and they’re opening others’ eyes to new alternatives.
“Getting the prospect,” Overton mentioned of the match, “to be a public faculty in Harlem, we already did a lot.”
“Finest consider our title can be heard,” Johnson added.
“Historical past can be made,” mentioned Mohamed Diakite.
Win or lose, they’re simply studying to benefit from the experience.
“If I do not shed a tear, I will be shocked,” mentioned Muhwati. “It’s going to be most likely essentially the most proud second of my profession in squash. To stroll into that facility with these younger males goes to be tremendous particular.”
The TMA Boys Squash staff is elevating cash to help their journey south to Philadelphia. To assist, click on right here.
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