The Barbara Cooper Award will be awarded each year to an individual who has over the years built, promoted and enhanced the game of women’s squash. This person exhibits fair play. The individual should demonstrate leadership and achievement in both their competitive and social life. This person is an inspirational role model for others to follow.
Elka Markus defines women’s squash in Toronto, in fact, in Ontario.
Elka has builds squash within her club by coaching all players willing to receive those words or wisdom. City -wide Elka has been involved in building women’s squash for longer than one can remember. To name a few examples, her commitment has involved serving as the president of TDWSA, captaining her team for decades and, where we really see her shine: running our Summer A/B league. The magic that she uses to make that league run so successfully that registration closes almost as soon as it opens, is outstanding. It’s Elka’s passion to make it work for everyone.
As a player, Elka exhibits good sportsmanship each time she steps on the court. There are many of us that use her as a benchmark of our achievements; a goal of: “I think I can get 5 points from her” or “I think I can get a game this time” is welcomed by Elka. That is when she gives you that grin of endearment. She is always fair and always competitive – a great mix in an athlete. Players strive to emulate Elka. One particular team has made this their T&D mantra. The line “Put your Elka face on” has great meaning and power to it. I don’t think you have to be on that team to know what they mean. Such examples are testament to her excellence as a player and as a mentor of others.
We couldn’t end this award presentation without mentioning the friendships that Elka has made with so many women. She has touched our hearts at many, many levels. Who in their right mind would invite 50+ players to her house to celebrate the end of our summer season? And who creates awards and makes speeches that are personal and sought after? Who finds a trainer that gave her great physical training tips and then shares that info with us by organizing a training “camp”? We all have felt special to have been, and continue to be, friends with Elka.
Elka’s love of squash, unending efforts to support players and her excellence in her own squash achievements make Elka one very special Barbara Cooper Award Winner.
Congratulations Elka, we are proud to have you on our side!