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Many things can trigger memories, perhaps an old film comes on TV and you think of the person you first watched it with at the Cinema. Most often its a song that reminds you of a time or place. Recently I bought a book from a charity shop by a brilliant author called 'Isaac Asimov', who was once a favourite of mine. But this story is not about the wonderfully creative works of Asimov but of the memories the book triggered, for when I started to re-read it I came upon the word, 'Trantor'. That brought to mind the superbly creative game invented by my son Morgan and I, way back in the July of 1993.
The game was played using swingball bats and a tennis ball, and it was a mixture of tennis, squash and table tennis, we called it 'Squennish'. The Squennish court ran the length of the side of our house and we would blast the ball against the wall where it would rebound back to where we stood, bats ready, to hammer it yet again. The court (which was also our drive) was twelve metres in length and five metres deep. Taking up half the height of the playing wall was an ingeniously designed slope (our corrugated tin garage roof) which we used for more gentle shots. The scoring system and rules were that the first competitor to score twenty one points would win the game. The richest prize in 'Squennish' went to the person who won 'The Trantorian Cup', and that was what Morgan and I battled for every week.
Most evenings, weather permitting, Morgan would come home from school and start practising his squennish skills, eagerly awaiting the time I would join him. When I did we would practice together for the hour or so before our evening meal. Once the meal was over, and having obeyed his Mothers insistence that we allow half an hour for the food to digest, the play would start in earnest. We became amazingly good at it for we learned to hit high, lob shots, that would come crashing down on the sloping tin roof, where the corrugated slots could send the ball in surprising directions. We could play gentle touch shots that would slow the game down before we'd unleash a series of thumping smashes that would crash like thunder against the side of the court (our house). The only rule was the ball must not go beyond the courts surface and must not bounce on it more than once. The court had a nine metre long back wall (our neighbours wall), that was one and a half metres high, that wall we could use for clever, squash style, shots. The end result was a unique game that was, in a word, 'Brilliant'!
So that was how Morgan and I spent some of our evenings in the summers of 1993, 1994 and 1995. We could be seen nightly by fans in the viewing gallery (our next door neighbours path), as we charged around, sometimes smashing into each other in our quest to win each point. We were evenly matched skill wise, although it was me that Jenny was concerned for with regard to a potential heart attack, she said my bright red face, sweat drenched body and twenty stone weight were not the healthiest mixture known to humankind. However, despite these concern, Morgan and I continued with our epic battles. On a Monday we would play the Australian Open Final, the winner was always a Tuffs, we would play the French Open on another night, next it would be the American finals and then our imagination saw a magnificent Tuffs winner at Wimbledon. Glory days indeed but, at the end of the week we travelled to the big one, we would play in Trantor, the capitol of all the known Worlds and one of us would hold aloft in glorious victory, 'The Trantorian Cup!' One of us would become the undisputed champion of champions. .......................................... 'The Squennish Champion of the Universe!'