DORA Creek Squash Courts will host a reunion and farewell to mark the closure of the facility tonight, July 9.
Manager and director Les Kiskarpati said it was with a heavy heart that he would walk away from the centre in Doree Place.
“There just isn’t enough money in squash any more – not just here, but everywhere,” Mr Kiskarpati said.
And with an estimated 60 per cent of the population overweight or obese, that’s a problem, he said.
“Sports, generally, are struggling. People just don’t get out and about like they used to. It’s an issue for society.”
Mr Kiskarpati said he had run the courts as a player co-operative for 3½ years.
Players help care for the centre, organise the grades, and complete the paperwork.
“We try and share the work load,” he said.
As recently as two years ago the courts boasted 60 players and six pennant teams.
“We’re now down to 30 in our internal comp, and maybe another 10 who drift in and out for social games,” he said.
To make the venture viable, 80 or 90 players were required, he said.
Volunteer Lyn Becker said squash didn’t enjoy the same public profile as tennis, and she suspects that had been a contributing factor to the sport’s struggles.
Mr Kiskarpati said the growing popularity of eSports and video gaming painted a worrying picture for Australia’s health and fitness.
The decline in player numbers at Dora Creek had also been a result of injuries, while some regular players had moved from the area, he said.
“The numbers are down and the majority of the players who are left here are aged 45 or older.
“We’re getting very few younger people coming in to play, and that’s the killer everywhere.”
There was a time, Mr Kiskarpati said, when high schools offered squash as a sports day choice. It seems those days had gone, he said.
Mr Kiskarpati took up squash at age 38.
“I started playing squash to keep fit in winter because I’m a windsurfer,” he said.
“I didn’t play my first competition squash until I was in my 40s.”
He said he enjoyed the intense cardiovascular work-out that squash provided.
“And that’s why so many people like it – it’s value for money.”
He’s inviting current and former players and supporters to the courts at 6pm on Monday to celebrate their history.
“We’ll play some round-robin squash, then afterwards people can bring a plate and we’ll sit back and talk about the good old days,” he smiled.
In future, the Dora Creek players would enjoy a game at the four courts at Avondale College of Higher Education, in Cooranbong, he said.