By Ashley Davies
The past couple of weeks my professional squash tour took me to Calgary, Canada followed by Washington D.C. My week in DC went considerably better than Calgary as I made the quarterfinals out in Calgary before making the final in Washington. This meant I spent a little more time at the courts but I still managed to get downtown and explore the city. The atmosphere around the city definitely seemed to have a hostile feel to it and the city certainly has a different vibe about it from when I previously visited three and a half years ago.
Back in 2014 the Obamas were settling in and the city felt at ease. However this time around it felt as if the whole city was still in a period of shock and that people were still holding their breath. The streets felt quiet, almost bare, 16th ave (home to the White House) wasn’t flourished with tourists as it was back when I previously visited in 2014.
This may be an unfair statement due to my lack of awareness back in 2014 but I am sure the hostility I felt this time was real. With the Democrats and Republicans going fist-to-fist and with President Donald Trump setting up his new dictatorship, I felt the unsettled atmosphere was warranted. There were various protests plaguing the city with people from all walks of life expressing their feelings towards the movements of Trump. This caused chaos downtown and havoc at the international terminal of Washington Duelles Airport.
The uproar that week was over the recent travel restrictions to and from some Muslim countries, enforced by Trump himself. This move has only added to an already present air of resent and anger towards his presidency. It is obvious and easy to understand people’s anger from the perspective of those affected. Trump is uprooting many systems that have been in place for numerous years. However to my surprise, alongside this negative air there were also quiet Trump supporters lingering.
Locals told me: “He is true to his word… he wants to do what is best for real Americans, why is that so bad?” or the classic “Clinton was even more crooked”. Many people told me they hadn’t voted as they simply didn’t believe in either two candidates and were embarrassed that they were the best two people America could come up with.
As I strolled through downtown between training everywhere I glanced, every newspaper my eyes connected with, there he was. During my whole stay Trump was pictured on the front-page everyday of the Wall Street Journal and every edition of the Washington Post discussed the Presidents new ‘inadequacy’.
So during my week in DC I felt I learnt a lot on the court and off it. I think that off court probably really helped me to switch off and not over think my squash game. This resulted in a great event for me that will quite possibly chuck me into the top 100 for the first time. The future of Washington DC though and the USA is still very uncertain. Nobody knows what is coming next and that’s including Trump. Only time will tell. Trump could become America’s biggest hero.
But for now I am leaving a good couple of weeks in North America behind me.