Grand Central Terminal in New York City is once again consumed with sports spectators as we approach the final day of the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, a competition to determine the world's best squash player. The glass cage in Vanderbilt Hall has become an annual pilgrimage site for avid followers of the sport, and a bane to travelers simply trying to get to, or home from, work. Sure, the exhibition hall is easy to avoid if you're not looking for it, but the sheer bizarre nature of the scene attracts all but the most dedicated commuters.
And we wouldn't blame you for gawking, what with a Forbes article on the event (now in its 16th year at Grand Central Terminal) containing sentences like:
No naked men, but the TOC and its glass court is a spectacle worth seeing.
...not to mention the array of competitors fighting for that $115,000 prize. Of course, given the nearly-universal Ivy League background of each spectator, the low six figures might seem like an amount retrievable from beneath sofa cushions. That kind of money goes a bit further in Egypt, the nation that dominates squash worldwide. How did Egypt become such a squash superpower? Here's what one former champion told the New York Times last year:
In Egypt we don't obey rules as the English, or Germans, or in the States. This helps us in squash.
So the next time you find yourself inexplicably drawn to the Cabots and Astors and women named Buffy sipping their scotch as they observe the world's best competitors in an obscure sport, remind yourself: this is the game of anarchy, rebellion, and subversion of the rules.