February 15, 2007

10 Questions with Jamie Singer

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Coming off of a weekend featuring shutout wins over Tufts and Williams Smith followed by a tough loss to Ivy rival Brown, senior co-captain Jamie Singer of the women’s squash team swatted balls with Paul Testa.

1. Wednesday was Valentine’s Day. Did you have any big plans?
Yeah, I went to John Thomas. You know, hit it up big.
Was this a romantic dinner, or just going out with friends?
Every dinner should be romantic.
Who was the lucky man, or men?
That’s a secret.
Are you kidding me? The only reason we’re doing 10 Questions was to find out who you’re dating.
I’m not dating anyone.
Was this a potential boyfriend?
So you’re using this man just to get fine cut of meat.
It’s a friendship thing.
Sounds like my kind of friendship. Could you describe him for us? What’s your type?
What’s my type? Strong personality, good lucks, smart.
Are you coming on to me, Jamie?
Well, it’s working.

2. Let’s move on to something more serious. What is it like to be a varsity racquetball player at Cornell?
[Indignantly.] Raquetball?!
What? You’re on the court with a racquet and ball, hence, racquetball.
That’s an insult to say the least. Racquetball is nothing compared to squash. Squash takes finesse, an intense amount of fitness and years of practice.
I do have to say the few racquetball players I know are not so fit.
No, not at all. It’s usually old men chasing around a ball.
But it looks like fun. Have you ever played?
To tell you the truth, no.
So you have no basis for these claims.
It’s peasant squash.
But you’re from Brooklyn. I don’t imagine there are too many country clubs there. How did you pick the game up?
Well, my dad played. I’d say I’m pretty gansta preppy if you will. I’m from Brooklyn, but I’m from Brooklyn Heights, which is kind of a mix.
You’re sporting the FUBU with the Uggs.
Yeah. Pretty much. Well, not really Uggs, maybe more like loafers.

3. Seeing that you are from Brooklyn, what would be your ideal Valentine’s Day date? Does it involve a stoop and a 40?
I love stoops and 40s. My ideal day, back in Brooklyn would be chilling out, watching TV. And at night I would sit on the stoops and have a 40.
Maybe bust open the fire hydrant if it’s really hot.
Woah, that’s a little Bronx if you ask me.
Well, what is your 40 of choice, because I judge a person based on their malt liquor selection?
Olde E. I have to go with the classic.
That’s a little safe. I bought my uncle Colt 35 for his 35th birthday, and I have to say, it was surprisingly smooth.
I don’t know, Olde E is really what I’ve been drinking since the days of the stoop.

4. Now that I know you play squash, can you tell me a little bit about the sport because I think it is a sport that the average sports fan isn’t too familiar with?
I started playing squash when I was seven. I actually had to give up everything else that I loved for squash.
That sounds like a made-for-TV movie.
I’ve thought about writing the script for it, but it hasn’t come through yet. But squash is a very small world. You play in these tournaments and you pretty much know all the Muffy’s and Ashleigh’s and Buffy’s and Brooksey’s. There really are people named that. There’s one girl named Wheezy.
Does she play for Harvard?
No she actually quit.
No, although she used to cry a lot. She was a big crier?
That’s fantastically appropriate. So girls you’re playing now in college you’ve known since middle school. Does that make for huge rivalries with girls you just hate?
Sure. Sophomore year, we were at Harvard, and this Harvard girl tried to physically beat me up on the court?
Does she know you’re from Brooklyn?! You’re Jamie from the block.
I am Jamie from the block. So we get on the court, and Harvard’s good, I’ll give them that. Most of them are ugly, but I go on the court with her, and I’m in the match – I’m doing well. But this is a big girl and she won’t move, so I keep lightly tapping her and things get a little physical.
Squash isn’t known for being a contact sport.
It’s not, but the Harvard girls are known for throwing some bumps. But in my four years at Cornell, we’ve had more of a rivalry against Amherst, Bates and Brown. I’d say Amherst girls are ferocious. Not anymore, but they used to be.

5. The head coaches for the men’s and women’s teams, Mark and Julee Devoy are married. What’s it like having a husband-and-wife coaching team?
Actually, they were my coaches in high school, too. They’re from the BK.
Didn’t they coach at a casino or something?
That’s where I played, Heights Casino. It’s squash love.
They’re originally from New Zealand, but have traveled all over the world. What are they like as a coaching pair?
They’re crazy. They’re Kiwis for sure. I mean, my coach will say some things that we don’t really understand all the time like “nickels.”
Does the accent ever get old?
No. It’s just there are no R’s really.
It’s very cute. I just want to pinch Mark Devoy’s cheeks.
I don’t know if he’d like that.
We have a bond.

6. Which do you prefer, hard balls or soft?
[Laughs] Soft.
I feel like it lasts longer with soft balls.
But do you have the endurance to play with soft balls?
Actually, I think it takes more endurance to play with hard balls.
Really, I feel like it’s over quicker with hard balls.
Indeed it is, but it’s hard and fast, and good.
But no one plays with hard balls anymore.
It is a dying breed. It’s sad. Once you’ve gotten hit with one of those hard balls, you want to go with the soft balls.
That’s why you wear the glasses right?
What about doubles?
I love doubles. I wish there were college doubles.
College seems like the time to play doubles.
It is, but a doubles court is completely different from a singles court. You can play doubles on a singles court but it’s a little unorthodox. Sometimes they’ll play two-on-one.
Are you part of the two or the one?
I like to be the one. I like the challenge.

7. On the team, you’re known as “J-Money” or “J$.” Is this because you’d like to pursue a career in finance?
No, not at all. Actually, the nickname comes from a couple of different sources. Some would say it’s because I’m so money I don’t even know it.
You do swing a lot.
Others would say it’s because my last name starts with an S and sometimes I put swishes through it, and that could imply the money sign.
What about your real name? You’re not actually a Jamie.
No, I’m not.
You’re a Jamison. You and Muffy must be good friends. Now did your parents name you after the Irish whiskey or the lead singer, Jimi Jamison, of Surivivor and Cobra fame?
I would like to say that they named me after the whiskey and the porn star, but in fact, I was named after a Hilton.
A Hilton?
Yeah, like Paris Hilton.
Are you family friends with the Hiltons?
Yes, with Jamison Hilton.
Do you ever party with them, maybe hang out on the yacht, snort some cocaine off some dude’s chest?
[Laughing] The Hilton’s that we hang out with are more of the Colorado Hiltons. They ski.
Again with the white powder. What would you do if you met Paris Hilton?
We’d chill. I’d chill with anyone.

8. The last squash player we did for 10 Questions, Matt Serediak ’06, was trying to go pro on the Canadien circuit. Are you familiar with his game?
Yes, I am familiar with Serediak’s game.
Does he have what it takes to make it?
You know, I don’t know.
What are his biggest weaknesses?
His hair. It’s pretty long. He got a haircut recently, so I think that helped him out.
A crucial career move. What do you think he’s doing this Valentine’s Day?
[Pauses] I don’t know.
Let’s say he were to call you up right now, and beg to take you to John Thomas. What would you say?
I’d probably have to pass. Actually, I would go with him, and probably not talk to him for the entire meal.
Wow, that’s cold.
Yeah, and then I wouldn’t call him the next day, or maybe I’d give him a phone call and ask him how the squash is going.
The pity phone call.
Yeah, exactly.
Is there something about a squash captain, like senior Rohit Gupta, that makes them especially attractive?
You know that’s a funny story because Rohit doesn’t know many of the girls on my team by name, but he’s known my name since freshman year. There have been many catfights over him on the women’s team, but I think I’m coming out on top.
He’s a hot commodity.
Yeah, he’s successful, attractive, smart, athletic — maybe he should be my Valentine’s date next year.

9. Was that you on the stage last Slope Day, with Talib Kweli?
That was me.
How in the world did you get up there?
Funny story. I am at Slope Day completely excited for Talib Kweli, and when Talib goes, “would anyone like to go on stage.” I go “me” point with both fingers and so the security guard helps me up and get on stage. I’m hanging out with Talib. We hug. We have a little chat.
Did you have any clue who he was?
Zero. I had no idea. In fact, I actually went up him and asked him if he was a student from I.C. He wasn’t too happy with that. He didn’t acknowledge the fact that I asked him this question. I get off stage and I ask my friend, “I wonder when Talib’s going to get on stage,” and he goes “that was Talib.” I wish I had known, but then I might have been a little star struck.
So were you there for the after party?
Yeah, I’m Jamie from the Block. That’s how I roll.

10. What’s the hottest men’s varsity team at Cornell?
I’m going to have to go with golf.
A 10 Questions first! Is this pick related to your country club roots?
Actually, it is. I’m about to retire, and I figure I’ve got to get a sport for a retiree. Plus, I can’t resist those polo shirts that they wear, and they can handle a big stick.
As can you.
Yes I can.
Who has the better stick skills, a squash player or a golfer?
I’d say a squash player, definitely.
But those guys know how to put in the hole and they can bump and run. They really do.
But golf is kind of a low visibility sport at Cornell. How do you even know what these guys look like? Are you one of the drink girls over at Robert Trent Jones golf course?
I’m a fan. I’m not really in the gallery. I’m on the course with them, with chants like “defense.”

Paul Testa is a Sun Assistant Sports Editor. 10 Questions will appear every Thursday this semester until Paul Testa goes too far with his ball references and loses his job.