June 19th, 2009 by Ben
Like the majority of racquetball players, I have always played my favorite sport indoors. My eyes have adjusted to the artificial lighting and I have become accustomed to the under appreciated confidence that no matter how hard I hit the ball, it will stay in the concrete box that smells of body heat, sweat and warm rubber. This box has become a comfort zone of sorts as I have explored every inch of wood floor whether it be while running, jumping or laying out for that pass shot just out of reach. Just thinking about it, I feel euphoric for my racquet and eyewear as I reflect on the many bruises, sore muscles and heated moments.
As I reflect on past matches I am looking forward to a new era of sunshine, fresh air and much less forgiving diving conditions. As July approaches so does my first Outdoor Racquetball Tournament. I am of course referring to the Racquetball Warehouse World Outdoor Racquetball National Championships (RWWORNC) in Huntington Beach, CA. I attended this event in 2008 but did not enter the draw, regrettably. Now that the tournament is around the corner, I have to rethink my whole game plan. There are only 3 walls and the side walls only go as far as the service box. There is no ceiling so the defense game is gone. I have to rely on shoulder high pass shots, splats, pinches, lots of new angles, and a slew of things I will soon have to learn very quickly to have any chance in the single elimination tournament.
My goal in this post is to encourage players to branch out and find some outdoor courts near you. If racquetball is to reach the masses, it has to be more accessible and what better way than to play in a public park exposed to the elements. If you don’t know where to start, then start here: www.worldoutdoorracquetball.com . I am a little scared myself, and perhaps my apprehension is unwarranted, but having a tendency to dive a lot, I expect to come back from the WOR Nationals with some fresh natural tattoos on my knees and elbows. It is a different kind of game and a lot of players will say that it is better than indoor so try something new and get some sunshine! The Nationals are going to be an amazing event this year so even if you don’t feel like playing, you will have a great time just being there: http://www.racquetballwarehouse.com/worchamp.html
Good luck and see you out there!