by Alex Sonfield '25
In the world of Dickinson athletics, friendships are not unique. But the connection between squash players Kobe Fleming ’24 (economics) and Joe Smyth ’25 (international business & management) goes beyond the typical teammate bond. Because they grew up in New Zealand together, where they played they sport since they were 6.
Fleming is in his fourth and final season with the team, and as a captain alongside Smythe, he reflects on his time as a Red Devil with pride and nostalgia.
"Being part of this team, especially with our exceptional facilities, has been the best experience I could've asked for," Fleming shares.
Memorable moments from his career include his first match against Saint Lawrence, a nail-biting victory that set the tone for his college squash career. Another notable achievement was defeating Navy at nationals, a victory for the team's growth and resilience under his leadership. Fleming's first year was also remarkable, as he won the MVP title and led the team to win the Conroy Cup, placing them among the top 25 in the country.
Kobe Fleming '24. Photo by Dan Loh.
For Fleming, Dickinson has been more than just a place to play squash; it's been a second home. This feeling is deeply intertwined with his relationship with Smythe. Their connection dates back to childhood through their mutual love for sports. They grew up in New Zealand together, where they played squash since they were 6.
Fleming was a big role model for Smythe growing up, as they spent a lot of time together, both on and off the court. Once Fleming arrived in the U.S. and began his time at Dickinson, he came to understand the challenges of being an international student-athlete. He became a mentor to Smythe, guiding him through the possibilities of pursuing higher education and athletics in the United States and introducing Smythe to Head Coach Richard Glanfield.
"Kobe has been a mentor and a role model," Smythe says. "His influence was a major part in bringing me here."
"Having Smythe join Dickinson was like merging two significant parts of my life," Fleming explains. "It's been incredible sharing this journey with him."
Joe Smythe '25. Photo by Dan Loh.
At Dickinson, Smythe has excelled in squash and found a second family in the team. "The friendships and connections I've made here are irreplaceable," he remarks. Beyond the court, the team shares a bond, enjoying activities like poker during their downtime.
Smythe also recalls the significant victory against the Navy in the semifinals of their division. "It was a team effort that truly defined our spirit," he says.
“Squash is generally an individual sport. So coming into a team environment has been a bit of an adjustment,” he adds. “However, I’ve loved being part of a team. It’s been nice being surrounded by motivated people that bring my game up every day. I used to play lots of team sports when I was younger, such as cricket, hockey and rugby. So being able to be surrounded in a team environment with squash has been very fortunate.”
As Fleming prepares to graduate and Smythe continues his journey at Dickinson, their story remains full of friendship, dedication and the life-changing power of sports.
Published February 2, 2024