I was incredibly proud last week to have been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
I found out a month ago and I could easily have missed the letter. It went to my old address but thankfully a friend of mine lives there now. It was marked up as from the Cabinet Office so I knew it was going to be something very good or that I’d done something very bad.
People have asked where this ranks alongside my achievements. It’s funny because without the tournaments that I’ve won, there would be no OBE. But I think this is on a par with my greatest wins.
I have been awarded this for my work on and off the court and that is really special for me. When you get to the stage of your career that I’m at, you want to be in a position where you feel like you have given something back. Hopefully there is plenty more to come from me on that front.
Jonah Barrington had more impact on squash than anyone in the history of the sport, bringing in the professional era and raising the profile dramatically. If I can help raise the profile of the sport a tenth as much as Jonah did, I will be more than satisfied.
Hopefully me being awarded this will raise the profile a bit more with the debate over squash’s inclusion in the Olympics coming up again for the 2020 games.
Things like this allow you to reflect on things that you’ve done. I’m incredibly grateful to my mum and dad for all they have done to help me out in my career. I used to think it was a bit cringey when parents talked about being proud of their kids, but being a father myself now, I know what that means.
Hopefully, when my daughter is old enough, she will be proud of her dad getting this award. It’s something tangible that she can see to show what her dad did in squash.
If there is one thing this OBE has done for me, it’s making more determined to work harder and push myself for more success. I don’t want this to be seen as the marker for the end of my playing career. And there are going to be plenty of young players determined to take me down a peg or two after this.
I’ve had my head in the clouds over the last month or so with the end of the season, family holidays and the OBE but now it is time to get back to it.
I’ve been doing yoga sessions, just to let my body know that the hard work is going to all start again next week.