Excerpt from A History of Squash at Princeton by Rob Dinerman

September 17, 2017

The World Doubles championships start later this week in St. Louis. No one knows who will win, but it is a pretty sure bet that none of the participating teams will employ the positioning strategy that Charlie Brinton and his former Princeton teammate Stanley Pearson Jr. successfully implemented 69 years ago in their run to the 1948 U. S. National Doubles title. DSR is enclosing a passage from "A History of Squash at Princeton University." This book, authored by DSR Editor Rob Dinerman, will be released in Autumn 2018.

    Charlie Brinton was succeeded as U. S. Nationals winner by his former college teammate Stanley Pearson Jr., whose triumph in 1948 marked the only time in the history of this event that a father/son combination has won this prestigious tournament (Stanley Pearson Sr. won the Nationals from 1915-17 and from 1921-23). Though Brinton and Pearson were often rivals during their overlapping singles careers, they did team up to win the 1948 U. S. National Doubles championship in Baltimore, and they accomplished this feat in most distinctive fashion. Both players excelled on the backhand flank and thus greatly preferred the left wall; indeed, each had manned that slot while winning this title during the prior two years, Brinton in '46 with Donnie Strachan and Pearson in '47 with Dave McMullin.

   Rather than having to make a difficult decision as to who would get to play which wall, the two hit upon the ingenious compromise of having each player stay throughout the point on whichever wall he served from! If Brinton began a point by serving from the right service box, he remained on the right wall throughout the point, and if they won that point, Brinton would then serve from the left box and play the left wall during the ensuing rally. When they were receiving serve, Brinton played the left wall (since, when receiving serve, players are not allowed to switch walls during a game), but when they were serving they employed the foregoing approach. This had the additional benefit of confusing their opponents, the last of which, Strachan and Johnny Smith, had no answers in what became a fairly decisive final.

   It is a tribute to the versatility of the two Princeton men both that each was able to win two National Doubles in the three-year period from 1946-48 with two different partners, and that each was able to alternate so successfully from one point to the next between the left and right walls in the execution of a game plan that would be unthinkable in today's specialist-oriented era where often a player acts downright insulted when asked to switch away, even temporarily, from "his" wall. Twenty-five years later, when Princeton was designated as the host site for the U. S. Nationals in 1973, Brinton and Pearson were named as the event’s Honorary Co-Chairmen. Brinton was inducted into the U. S. Squash Hall of Fame upon its founding in 2000, and Pearson is the only player in the history of racquet sports to win both the U. S. Nationals in singles and doubles in both rackets (an exotic four-wall game played on a concrete black floor with a ball that resembles a golf ball) and squash.