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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Four white walls and a blue rubber ball

During the fall, I’d text Ryan Steinkamp — among several others — trying to initiate a pick-up basketball game at the YMCA.

The “several others” responded with a variation of yes or no.

Steinkamp texted back: Have you played racquetball yet?

Know this: Disagreement and disapproval is how Steinkamp and I get along.

So, I responded ... by not playing racquetball.

Months down the road, the game kindled my curiosity, though. That, and Steinkamp’s excessive reminder each weekend. He’s a damn racquetball salesman.

We printed the rules, a good friend of mine and I borrowed rackets and began playing regularly.

We received plenty of exercise early. We had no idea the trajectory the blue ball was taking.

And we both failed geometry, obviously.

The rubber ball angled off the side wall and we’d over run the ball or under run. Or we’d be exhausted, and wouldn’t run.

We pelted each other — the legs, upper back, lower back, ear, earlobe ... face.

Not hard enough for bruises but hard enough to contemplate the $10.50 eye wear the YMCA sells.

The YMCA has assembled a racquetball league now. It’s had good response, about 20 people. And may have future sessions.

Before the salesman, before curiosity, I’d never ran across racquetball or desired playing. For those healthy enthusiasts — the game, invented by Joe Sobek, burns from 640 to 820 calories per hour.

Those lost calories work for me — I work at a desk, pecking at a keyboard. Old, middle-aged, male, female and young can play and, for the most part, they don’t need segregating.

I’m proof.

Roxanne Carroll ran me back, forth and sideways one week ago. In the end, I was the one more tired.

Racquetball is not regularly taught in schools, at any age. So, most are not familiar with the game.

But it’s worth trying once.

Who’s the salesman now?

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