Opinions differ on who was Western New York's greatest squash player.
But in the world of building and converting squash courts, there is no such controversy. Gordon Anderson, owner of Anderson Courts and Sports Surfaces in Clarence, is the undisputed leader in North America.
About 15 years ago, Anderson was running a 16-squash court facility in Toronto. He was bought out by a local building group and was looking for a new squash venue to pursue.
Anderson said, "Squash has been part of my life ever since I was a youngster. I wanted to stay involved in squash and was looking for business opportunities in the squash field."
Anderson said that in 1987 most squash courts in the world were international courts, while the U.S. and Canada had "traditional" courts that were 2 1/2 feet narrower. In addition, the American and Canadian ball was much harder and faster than the international ball.
Most tournaments around the world were being played on the international courts. In the late 1980s many squash facilities in Canada started building or converting their courts to international specifications. However, the U.S. was still a nearly virgin market.
"I saw that the Canadian squash scene was making a major switch to the international courts," Anderson said. "I felt that I could open a similar business in the United States and do the same thing. I decided that my family and I would move to Buffalo, a city that is close in proximity to Canada, and start my own court construction business."
Did he ever!
When he first started his company in 1987 there were about 3,500 American courts and very few international courts. Today, it is a totally different picture. Anderson's company has converted or built almost 600 squash courts, plus a few for racquetball.
His company has built or converted courts at Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth and Cornell.
He has also done squash court construction at the storied Merion Cricket Club (near Philadelphia) and at private homes.
Locally, his company has built courts in the Saturn Club and the Buffalo Tennis & Squash Club. His work force is now constructing courts at the Gow and Nichols schools.
Although there are other companies involved in similar types of court construction, Anderson's company is still the leading builder in the U. S. Why?
George Kloepfer, men's squash coach at Nichols, where Anderson's firm is building three new courts, says Anderson "is a class act, both as a world renowned squash player and as a court builder. His knowledge of squash and building and converting courts is second to none in the United States.
"He is an extremely honest businessman, highly personable and knowledgeable, dedicated to his craft, uses the best materials available, and is a hands-on guy from the start to the finish of construction. His company was the unanimous choice of our committee to build our courts."
Anderson said, "Generally, it takes a crew of four to five men a week to build a court. Our courts are made of a high-quality cushioned mapled floor, with specially designed plastered or coated walls, with a half-inch tempered glass back wall for safety and viewing."
Anderson feels that there is still room for his business to grow. He says that there are approximately 2,000 American courts that will be changed to the international product in the next few years.
He is currently the World Doubles Champion in the 50-over division and is ranked second in the U.S. in the 50-over singles division.
"I'm a lucky guy," he said. "I get to travel and play the game I love, in addition to meeting new contacts and wonderful people whom I get to do business with."
Anderson's 20-year-old daughter, Mollie, a junior at Trinity University in Hartford, Conn., played sixth singles on the women's squash team that recently finished second to Harvard in the Howe Cup National Intercollegiate Team Squash Championships. . . . Lyndsay Shosho, 17, a Williamsville East junior, was the only unseeded player to reach the quarterfinals of the K Swiss 18-Under Invitational Singles Tennis Championships in Chicago last weekend. In the first round she defeated Audra Falk of Cincinnati, the tourney's sixth seed and the 14th ranked player nationally in the girls 18-under division, 6-4, 6-4. In the quarterfinals, Shosho lost to the nation's 12th-ranked player, Julie Smekoduv of New York, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0. Shosho, who plays out of Amherst Hills, is ranked No. 1 in the East in the girls 18-under division.