Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Arts/Entertainment

January 9, 2014

Building kings on and off court

Andover group helps establish local SquashBusters Program

(Continued)

Hodgson passed the word along to two of his squash pals from Andover, Ross Elkin and Ed Krapels.

A dream soon became a reality.

“I was aware of SquashBusters in Boston,” Elkin said. “Then a core group of us — including Tom, Ed, Bruce Landay, Henry White, Doug Burbank and I — began investigating what would be required to start a program.

“It turns out that, coincidently, SquashBusters Boston was thinking about expanding to a second location, and Lawrence was one of the places they had thought about. We realized quickly that there was no need for us to try to reinvent the wheel, and when SquashBusters said that they would commit to starting a program in Lawrence, we agreed to put our support behind that effort.”

That support wasn’t just dollars, but time.

SquashBusters’ mission statement is this: To challenge and nurture urban youth — as students, athletes and citizens — so that they recognize and fulfill their fullest potential in life.

“When we started to introduce squash in Lawrence it was the fall of 2012 and we went into the Wetherbee and Arlington (middle) schools,” SquashBusters Lawrence director Dora Lubin said. “We brought a bunch of racquets and the kids would hit the balls around in the gym. It was a little chaotic.

“And then when we had sign-ups for this fall, I had visions that we were going to get only 10 kids. But 150 boys and girls signed up. We eventually took 24 kids from each school. It has surpassed all of our expectations.”

The key element in all of this, though, was getting the area’s two top prep schools, Phillips Andover and Brooks School, to sign on.

Both did. Emphatically.

“We are so lucky to have such great schools with top-notch facilities,” Elkin said. “It couldn’t be any better. Andover and Brooks have been incredible partners.”

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