Yesterday I received an e-mail from my dad, a few hours before my flight to New Zealand. I was packing up my life into a 25" roller suitcase when I opened it.
"Remember- just stay on court as long as possible!"
It was a fitting piece of advice- and the same advice he's given me since I fell in love with playing squash as a teenager in California. I was late to the sport and had some real catching up to do, so the idea of finding a way to stay on court as long as humanly possible was a more pragmatic goal to shoot for when wins were few and far between.
By showing up and staying on court, I've surpassed my own wildest expectations with the sport. Even more exciting has been the number of "collisions" it's created with people and places and opportunities that have changed my young adult life.
Following Dartmouth, I didn't want those collisions to end. Before I graduated I had joked with my dad about the final frontier- playing on the pro squash tour around the world- and when I moved to Boston in the fall of 2011, I set out to see if I could make it happen.
Three years later, I'm not going to be a world champion, but I'm good enough to give the tour a try. And by now I have spent months training and talking and dreaming of giving it a try. And so at this point, I am more comfortable taking the jump and flying on a one way ticket to New Zealand because the alternative - spending the rest of my life wondering what it would have been like to see this adventure through - sounds unbearable.
Last week I was an associate an investment firm. Today I'm a full time pro squash player, ranked #289 in the world and in constant need of a couch to crash on. My life's belongings are in two bags, my American phone line has been suspended, and I am now an expert with the ins and outs of global catastrophic health insurance plans.
I grew up with structure - high school then college, summer internships and corporate programs. It took a long time to get to this point, and I am very lucky for the group of sponsors, friends, family, and coworkers back home who provided the enduring support and encouragement for me to try this.
As we begin our descent in Auckland, I think about my dad's email and his message I know well by now: stay on the court as long as possible. It's what inspired me to explore this adventure and what makes me so excited for the collisions that will come from it going forward.