Squash Pro, Tom!
Our Squash Pro Tom Van Unen comes to us all the way from Rotterdam in the Netherlands. In 2007 his wife Susan and daughter Femke and himself decided to make the move to Canada to escape the business of Holland. Growing up Tom wasn’t very athletic, he played a little bit of soccer here and there in his youth but didn’t have a sport. When Tom was in his mid-twenties he found himself lazy, and admiring those who ran in the park near his house. Wanting to make a change Tom started running 10 km’s 4 times a week. It wasn’t until the age of 28 that he ventured into the sports facility opposite his home and discovered squash. Tom began coaching squash out of his love of helping other’s better themselves and practicality as he wanted to have a career that he could practice in Canada. Three years before his family made their big move Tom got his squash license through the President of the Dutch Squash Association. He taught at Universities and Sports Clubs around Rotterdam until it was time to try their hand at a Canadian lifestyle.
- What is your biggest struggle with work?
Tom feels he has always been pretty lucky in life when it came to work. Twice now he has been able to turn his hobby into his profession. In Holland, our Squash Pro was actually a professional musician! He played the guitar in Fuse Fun Factory and toured and recorded with bands like “the Platters” all over the world. Now that music and squash have both turned into work he’s looking for a new hobby!
- Who is your favourite person to spend time with and why?
Tom’s favourite person to spend time with is his wife Susan because they are best friends. If he chooses to do something, he always wants to experience it with her!
- If you could go anywhere in the world right at this moment where would you go and why?
We could catch Tom on the next flight to Thailand! While he has experienced the country many times he would love to go back! Avoiding the bigger cities, he really loves the feel of the more rural areas, and the islands. For Tom, Thailand is a great country with great atmosphere, nice people, and fantastic food!
- What is your favourite local restaurant and why?
Thanks to the fantastic European vibe, Tom’s favourite spot is Bouchon’s. Tom and his wife have spent quite a bit of time in France and feel that it stays true to French dining. While it isn’t the most important part of dining out, Tom appreciates that they leave all of the dishes on the table until the last person is finished with their meal. He feels that our North American culture of clearing dishes as soon as they are empty, and bringing the bill before it is requested give off the impression that they want him out.
- Where or how would you like to see positive change in Kelowna?
Tom would like to see Kelowna move away from the small-minded village approach and start implementing infrastructure that mimics functional design in other larger cities. Everything here is built around the 97, and doesn’t have a plan which leaves many of the buildings empty. By spreading out instead of building up, the City of Kelowna is building a busy city full of traffic.
- What is one of your favourite songs?
Tom really enjoys the guitar work and vocals in David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” (1983).
- If you were on death row what would your last meal be?
No hesitation, it would be Thai food.
If you’re looking to start playing squash Tom offers private lessons, runs a juniors group, and runs a Squash skills night on Tuesdays from 5pm -630pm on the back courts.