Being terrible at squash, or: How to beat the grey weather with a friend

01 Feb 2024

Jakob Jung loves football. But over the years, the History student's relationship with the sport has become quite complicated. For Vox, he is going on the lookout to replace the football-shaped hole in his heart. This week, he's making an attempt at squash and reminisces about old friendships – and new directions.

Have you been feeling tired, stressed, or down lately? No wonder! January and February have the infamous reputation of being some of the most depressing months of the year.

During this time of the year, I always feel a weird sense of disconnectedness. The unpleasant and grey weather hinders me from meeting others outside – and so does all the work that got left aside during the holidays when I was back home in Germany.

‘Squash is like that old computer game, Beat Ball. But on steroids and in 3D’

But this year, I decided that I didn’t want to let this gloominess win. So, I hit up an old friend of mine and we made an attempt to play squash for the first time. Squash is like that old computer game, Beat Ball, where two lines bounce a ball back and forth. But on steroids and in 3D.

It didn’t matter much that we weren’t any good at it. I had a great time catching up with one of my oldest friends here in Nijmegen. Every racket whistling through the air and failing to hit the ball was not a trigger of frustration, but something to laugh about together.

Our meeting reminded me of the beginning of my studies here more than three years ago. It’s exactly the joy and cheerfulness I shared with friends that made Nijmegen my home. I knew there was always a shoulder to lean on when things got rough.

Now, a few years later, my friends and I are spread over a lot of different studies. In fact, Nijmegen is not even everyone’s home anymore. And sometimes, that does make me worry that we are starting to disconnect. I’ve been travelling for my master’s. One of my friends just moved to Paris to do her internship there, some will graduate soon, and others are still deciding what to study next.

It is amazing to see the different directions my friends are heading. I’m suddenly talking to young journalists and experts on modern America, the ancient Mediterranean, and international relations. And when we get together, the vibes are still good, just that we value our time together even more now. It just takes some necessary effort to sustain these friendships. And one way of that is being terrible at squash.

Read Jakob Jung's blogs here

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