CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- On the night of Dec. 25, 1935, a fire of unknown origins destroyed most of Edgewood Country Club except for one thing - the squash courts. Today, almost 78 years later, squash is still thriving at the Charleston landmark.
Each year starting in October, players begin the unofficial squash season at Edgewood with games played every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evening as part of a league. This season nearly 80 players participated.
Charleston resident Doug Meeks plays in the league and also helps coordinate its schedule and assists with running the tournaments, such as the league championship tournament played Saturday at Edgewood.
Meeks has been playing for about 10 years, he said, and was introduced to the sport by a friend.
"I was just looking to have some exercise, really," he said. "A friend recommended it - John Hussell. That's really how a lot of these guys get started. A lot of them are golfers looking for something to do during the winter to get fit."
Squash is a peculiar sport with both singles and doubles matches. In squash, as opposed to racquetball, the ceiling is not in play.
The racquets used in squash have a long, thin handle and resemble a cross of sorts between a tennis racquet and a badminton racquet. Singles games are played on courts smaller than those used for doubles contests.
Another difference between singles and doubles squash are the balls. In singles there is a much softer ball as opposed to a harder doubles ball.
"I think here the doubles portion of it is a good social thing as well as exercise," Meeks said. "The majority of it takes place in winter so it's inside and never really hindered by weather. It's nice to get out and do something in the winter."