Well after 18 wonderful years in Holland I am moving on to beautiful Ontario, Canada! I have accepted the role as Squash Director in a lovely club in London, Ontario and shall start in May. It is a great new challenge and a new adventure on the other side of the world, living in a city surrounded by the glorious Great Lakes and close to Niagra Falls. One of the main goals is to develop a great junior program within the city and challenging myself and all squashers in the area to achieve new goals and self-improvement. 

I just wanted to post an article that, hopefully, many squashers in Holland shall see and read. It has been an amazing adventure here and has helped me to meet hundreds of great people and help me develop into the kind of person I wish to be. I have enjoyed playing loads of tournaments, league squash and NK’s and been fortunate enough to win a few titles along the way. Probably should have been more but hey I like to enjoy myself and have a party, know what I mean Dylan Bennett? I have been fortunate enough to be in Holland during the growth period of squash, seen the dip, and hopefully now coming into a steady period for squash here in Holland. The juniors seem to be now growing and this should bring some long term results for squash.

I have had the pleasure of seeing our “Toppers” develop from cocky “little” buggers,( Yes little! All those boys: Piedro Schweertman, Dylan Bennett, Tom Hoevenaars, Niels Hoevenaars, Marc ter Sluis, Laurens Jan Anjema, Boogie, Rene, Frank, were all smaller than me when I arrived! Remember, with fond memories, a few years ago at the NK standing in a group with these boys and getting neck ache chatting with these giants), into great players, but more importantly lovely adults. I have seen the reign of Lucas Buit, Tommy Berden and now Laurens Jan Anjema, Vanessa Atkinson in the ladies and then Natalie Grinham and finally sitting behind Sjef van der Heijden the other year at the NK... Sjef van der Heijden was nearly having a heart attack and being aggressive to Everybody around him,(but we understand why and forgive him), as his daughter Milou van der Heijden claimed her first NK. Was a joy to be sitting behind them as they hugged and cried in each others arms celebrating the victory. This sums up what a wonderful game we play!

What can I say about Squash Utrecht, it has been my home for 18years and seen the club develop from a pretty small, low level club, into the powerhouse in Holland it is today. I believe all players/teams look forward to playing there on a Friday evening, which says enough of the atmosphere, and the level within the club, 100% Squash Utrecht players, is nowadays second to none. I have enjoyed every minute there, helping countless people enjoy our wonderful game more and more and hopefully along the way helped people to improve and understand the game of squash. There are too many people to name, but I hope it continues for years to come. Working 18 years with Patricia has been entertaining! We have had our ups and downs, but mostly ups. As we have matured we understand each other better and better. Together it has been a great journey and fun to bring Squash Utrecht to where it is today. We have, laughed, cried, argued, condoled each other with family losses and got drunk together! I hope my replacement enjoys this amazing club as much as I have and can carry on and improve what has been implemented and achieved.

I have made many great friends here in Holland and since the arrival of Facebook, Skype, easier travel the world has become a smaller place and those friends will be friends for life! So if any of you are in Canada in Ontario then please look me up.

Obviously, I can not leave Holland without a mega fun tournament and party!! So Saturday 2nd May  at Squash Utrecht there is a fun open tournament and in the evening a crazy, I hope, party to send me on my way. Would love to see as many friends and squashers as possible. If you can not play the tournament, then you are more than welcome to come along in the evening for a party and say goodbye. You can enter via www.toernooi.nl or send me a mail nickmaster5000@yahoo.com. Maybe even let me know if you are going to come along in the evening – for the numbers count. Hope you can make it and if not Bon Voyage and see you next time when I am in Holland.

Jay “Jan Frans” Francis

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