Captain Alex Bernhard ’19 began to develop a love for squash at six years old, when he began playing in his neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y. Bernhard has been first seed of the Andover Boys Squash team since joining the team as a Junior.
According to Bernhard, his passion for squash derives from the long-lasting friendships and connections he makes through the sport.
“For me, squash is where I met most of my best friends, so it’s really just the people that I love the most and that’s something that’s held true no matter where I end up playing. I just make a lot of really great connections,” said Bernhard.
According to Erik Wang ’21 and Siddhant Sinha ’21, Bernhard has done a good job of keeping the team’s spirits up at all times.
“Alex has an unmatched work ethic, and I think that his leadership on the team has really helped us improve in the past few weeks as a team. I think one of the things he does really well as a Captain is bringing up the team energy both in practices and matches and having us stay focused in practice,” added Sinha.
Sinha added, “I think the one thing that makes Alex stand out as a Captain is his ability to keep the team morale up. He’s always joking around and having fun with us and he knows when we have to get serious as well.”
According to Arthur Nguyen ’22 and Wang, Bernhard uses his leadership role to motivate players and give them advice in both squash and other aspects of Andover life.
Nguyen said, “He leads by example, and he’s really positive. He’s a very verbal person, he has a really loud voice, so he uses that really well to get the players to be motivated and play well. I think he knows what the right thing to do is, like he knows when to console players when they’re upset, and if they’re happy when to motivate them and help them keep playing.”
Wang said, “As one of the Seniors and being team Captain, he’s a good mentor for us. He helps us if we need advice for Andover or student life… On the court, if we’re doing something wrong, he’ll help us fix that.”
According to Bernhard, becoming team captain has allowed him to reflect on the team mindset of squash, in contrast to the individual nature of the sport.
“I think [becoming a Captain] is something that has really made me focus more on the team aspect of squash than the individual because the way squash works with individuals on a ladder, you can get really caught up in yourself. Being Captain has really forced me to get more of a broader perspective about the whole team and being together,” said Bernhard.
Bernhard has shown to be a reliable and strong asset to the team as number one player, according to Xander Schwartz ’19. This position has also helped Bernhard develop a resilient attitude, according to Head Coach John Roberts.
Schwartz said, “He’s a steadying force on the team. He’s always among the first to practice and among the most dependable in matches. Having Alex at the top of our ladder has made an enormous difference in the past four years.”
In an email to The Phillipian, Coach Roberts wrote, “He has been our strongest player and occupied the number one spot since he was a ninth grader. This is very rare but also comes with challenges. Alex would often find himself playing against older, physically stronger opposition which as a younger player, can be tough to win. After tough losses last year, his attitude on court was always excellent and he would be back in training hard the next day.”
As Captain, Bernhard says he hopes to encourage hard work in his teammates, and is optimistic that the newer talent added to the team will contribute to a successful season.
Bernhard said, “I think that this year we have probably the most potential in any of the years that I have been at Andover, so I view my role more as trying to somehow get all these personalities to give their best to the team. I’m just really excited to see what we can accomplish, there is a lot of talent, there are a lot of new kids, so I think if everybody works really hard, we can do really well in the season.”
Editor’s Note: Alex Bernhard is an Eighth Page Editor for The Phillipian.