Pittsburgh is a sports town. But did you know we are also an obscure sports town?
From February 6-10 Pittsburgh holds court to high-powered squash during The Pittsburgh Open – one of the Top 10 professional squash tournaments in the U.S. and the last stop on the pro circuit before the World Championships in Chicago –which this year, for the first time, has a $1 million purse.
Over 5 days the city plays host to the lightening-quick racket sport at The Rivers Club (no, not the Casino, the Club @ 301 Grant Street) and features world-class players from 15 different countries. During the same time around 100 amateur “squash bucklers” (not a real term) will also be competing in the annual amateur squash tournament on those same courts.
Why is this interesting?
For starters Admission is free and open to the public. It’s a cost-free, worry-free, what’s-all-this-squash-talk-about way to introduce yourself to the game.
Second, squash is fast-paced, in-your-face action where players fight mano-a-mano by fighting racket-a-racket — hitting a bouncing ball off of a four-walled court. It’s kind of like tennis on steroids. It also helps that there are terms like “kill shot” and “hot ball” to pique your interest. (Also, by mid-week you’ll be looking to scratch your NFL football itch and have no where else to turn.)
Third, you don’t have to make a huge time commitment to check it out – Have a free hour in your week? Squash that hour with squash! Pop in and watch a part of a game or a whole game or more! Games tend to last between 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Fourth, on Friday night the event hosts an open cocktail party – with free food and drinks — you’ll be served local celeb sightings as Mayor Bill Peduto and County Executive Rich Fitzgerald will be checking out what all the racket is about.
The Pittsburgh Open opens with the first and second rounds Wednesday and Thursday nights — those nights lead into the Quarterfinals on Friday, Semifinals on Saturday, and the Finals on Sunday. Pittsburgh’s top performers will share the $50K purse.
Feb 6, Wed. 1st Round 5pm – 9pm
Feb 7, Thurs. 2nd Round 5pm – 9pm
Feb 8, Fri. Quarterfinals 5pm – 10pm
Feb 9, Sat. Semifinals 1pm – 3pm
Feb 10, Sun. Finals 12pm – 1pm
Here’s what you can check out when: