Before the age of 13, Amanda Sobhy's life clicked along with the steady rhythm of a heartbeat: tennis, squash, school, music - the steady thump, thump thump of the average intricately scheduled Long Island child.
Then, in 2007, there was a spasm - a spike in her system that shaped the years to come.
Amanda Sobhy, burgeoning squash player, went to Egypt and came back with a backhand. Three years later, she would go to St. Louis and come back with history.
On April 24, Sobhy, 16, of Sea Cliff, became the youngest professional squash player to win three tour titles after defeating Alana Miller, 29, the top seed from Canada, in three games at the Women's Racquet Club International in Missouri. Sobhy's other two Women's International Squash Professional Association victories were the Delaware State Open in February and the Liberty Bell Open in Pennsylvania in January. (The previous record was held by the reigning world No. 1 player, Nicol David, of Malaysia. David won her second WISPA Tour title in 2000, a month before her 17th birthday.)
But Sobhy, daughter of Khaled Sobhy, who once ranked 30th in the world, and Jodie Larson, who won a national squash title as an amateur, had little thoughts of ash rackets and double-yellow balls as a child. That was the fate of her brother, Omar. Or so it seemed.
"I never played until I was 12 years old," the North Shore junior said. "I started playing tennis when I was 6 or 7, but my parents really focused on [Omar]" when it came to squash.
"She would travel with him to tournaments," Larson said. "For some reason, it just made sense [for her to play] . . . We knew Amanda had ability."
What she didn't have was that backhand. In the beginning, "I did well in easier tournaments," Sobhy said. "But before that summer [in 2007], I couldn't hit a backhand for my life."
She went to Egypt that year, trained all summer and, by October, was ranked 28th in the United States' under-15 bracket.
But Sobhy's talent couldn't be contained by her age bracket and then, by the amateur ranks. In September 2009, she played her first professional World Open. Sobhy entered the event as the 80th and lowest seed and made it to the top 32. She is now ranked 46th in the world and No. 1 in the USA in the girls under-19 division.
"I'm really not used to all the fame," Sobhy said. "My friend went to the Maccabiah Games [in Israel] and people knew who I was."
It's something that she'll have to get used to as her name becomes common knowledge in the squash world. She was featured in Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd" and made the cover of Squash Magazine. Still, for the precocious golden child of a niche sport, Sobhy's goals are modest. She plans to play during college - likely at one of the Ivies - and maybe a little after that, but doesn't want it to be her career.
Still: "I want the British Open," she said. "Someday, I really wish to win."
For the girl who crossed continents and changed her life in the process, what's one more?