Blog from Melody Francis:
Retiring sounds far more dignified than saying I’m quitting. Whichever word you want to use, the outcome is still the same, the cessation of something. In this case it is my Squash career to which I am referring. When I first turned up to the squash courts across the road from my house I had no idea I would be where I am today, some 16 years later. But as sad as I am about the current state of my Squash the time has well and truly come for me to hang up the racquet and move on to different pursuits.
The reasons behind this decision are numerous and weighty. But the short story is that I am burnt out. I no longer have anything to offer on court. I will always love the game of Squash, but the sport of Squash and I, are going to have to take a break from each other. I am moving on to other pursuits which excite me as Squash is unable to do at this time.
I would like to take this opportunity to mention some of the people who assisted me, be it great or small, over the past 16 years.
First and foremost, my Dad. He was always a staunch supporter of me and made sure I had every opportunity that I wanted or needed available to me. From driving me all over Australia to watching every match of my junior career to driving a round journey of 170km to pick up my squash shoes when I forgot them for my lesson at Rosebud. If there was always one person I knew I could rely on for unfailing support, love and guidance, it was Dad.
Secondly, Vicki Cardwell. For coming up to my Dad after I got thrashed at State Titles and telling him about Inform Connection and their graded system. This pivotal piece of guidance ensured I continued playing throughout my teens and helped me improve my squash immensely. Since that time Vicki has been such an inspiration and pillar of support for me. I have no reservations in saying she is my number one sporting idol, both for what she has achieved on court and off.
Inform Connection leads me to Steve Walton, a stalwart and ever present mentor. You have guided, teased and realigned me through some tenuous situations and always ensured I was making good decisions that were not dictated by too much emotion. Every squash player should have someone like you on their team. Thanks also Steve for all the free stuff I will never forgive you for not producing a purple Grays racquet while I was playing though.
Now to rattle off some names and thank-you’s, before I turn this in to a novel!
To Dearne and Gwenda for getting me on to a squash court in the first place. Len and Flip Steward, for drilling a decent technique in to me! To Richard Cagliarini for starting my squash off and teaching me a very important lesson about proving people wrong. To Ray Price and Sue Tennant for your unfailing support during my time at Gladstone Park. Colin Cruickshank, Bert Armstrong, Jeremy Sneddon, Cam Dickinson, Martin Walter and David Temple from Kooyong. Byron Davis for the hours you spent chasing me up stairs and down trails trying to instil your love for running into my mindset. Anthony Ricketts though our time working together was short your enthusiasm was greatly appreciated. To Gordon Young you were always such a supporter of all the athletes and I truly appreciate your efforts and sacrifices. To Rod Eyles for making me laugh while torturing me with boxing and stairs.
To Maggy Marshall for being the best housemate anyone could have asked for, you’re the best wifey. To Michael Crooks for reinstating my faith in strength and conditioning, challenging my beliefs in what I could do (including my gymnastic skills) and getting me back from injury. To Ebonie Scase for being the best darn physio I have ever worked with! To Dani Catania, Dani you sweet, beautiful person you gave me support and advice above and beyond that of a dietician, I cannot thank you enough. To Nerissa Turner for always being there to help and support me over the last few years, you’re an institution! To Arnaud, mon ami, you are the best, without you I would’ve fallen to pieces physically and mentally.
To the amazing billet families I have had over the years, but especially to the Callaway’s, Syam and Sanjeeb I wish the Terrific Trio all the best in your future tournament organising extravaganza’s and to the Yap’s such a warm and welcoming family who made my last tournament an even more special one to remember.
To Sarah Cardwell, for showing me that fighting spirit and determination has nothing to do with size and everything to do with heart, much love shorty, much love.
To Cam White, your input over the last year has been sensational and your enthusiasm and love for the game was wasted on me.
Terry White. You are more than a coach to me, you’re family. Though you’re crazy as a bat when you want to be you are nothing short of a genius on the squash court. I would not be the player I am without your invaluable input and development. I owe you so much.
To my Mum, I cannot thank you enough for the undying love and support you provide each and every day.
Lastly, to Noel Forster. Though your time left on this earth may be limited your influence on me will be eternal.
WSA's COO Kim Creamer shared her thoughts about Melody's surprise retirement from the tour. "WSA would like to wish Melody all the very best for the future. We thank her for all the energy and time as an ambassador for Women's sport and the integral role she had as a WSA Board Member for two years. Melody should be incredibly proud of all her achievements on court, with seven WSA title, reaching no.34 in the world and representing her country at senior level. We respect and admire her for making, what I am sure was a tough decision, but we have no doubt that she will go onto great things."