Familial Duo Out to Squash the Competition


In the Specter household, it's no stretch to say that squash is the family sport.

Parents Shanin and Tracey met one another back in 1982 on the squash court while they were students at the University of Pennsylvania; these days, they can regularly be found playing on the family court. Sometimes the senior Specter, grandfather Arlen — yes, that Arlen — even drops by, and the whole family plays together.

In 2005, Shanin and Tracey Specter competed in the sport at the 17th World Maccabiah Games in Israel, taking their four daughters along as spectators. After watching her parents compete there, budding squash player Silvi Specter (pictured at right) decided that she wanted to shift her athletic focus from baseball to squash, and someday perhaps play in Israel herself.

Four years later, Silvi — the eldest of the children, now 15 years old and a student at the Shipley School — is preparing for her third trip to the Jewish state, but her first as a Maccabiah athlete. She'll be joined by eight other students on the juniors squash team, as well as by her mother. But Tracey won't be there as a chaperone — she's a competitor herself, on the court once again with the masters squash team.

One element of the games Tracey Specter is particularly excited for her eldest daughter to experience is the opening ceremony at Ramat Gan Stadium.

"It was one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had," Tracey said of the opening ceremony back in 2005. "Looking around and seeing 60,000 people in the stands, and you're one of over 7,000 athletes from over 50 countries participating — the feeling's overwhelming when you realize that everyone here is Jewish, and everyone is competing in these games."

Mother and daughter won't see much of one another during the games; they'll be staying in separate places and also competing separately, though, of course, they'll both be in the stands cheering each other on.

"I'm excited to see how she does and how she performs," Silvi Specter said of her mom.

The teenage athlete "definitely" wants to compete in the 2013 games — when she will be eligible for the open division — and Tracey Specter will likely be at future games as well.

She pointed out that her youngest daughter — now 8 years old — was quite the aspiring squash player, and she predicted that they'd be in Israel together for the 2017 games.



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