Monday, September 17, 2007


Tyler and I are pretty much equals when it comes to racquetball, and it is infinitely more fun to learn a sport with someone your skill level, than learn the sport all by your lonesome. When Marc was learning how to snowboard a few years back, instead of just skiing alongside him, laughing at him while freezing my buns off; I decided to pick up snowboarding too—and we had an absolute blast. I still remember our first run, having no idea how to get down the mountain, but we raced anyways. I won with a mere 13 falls on my way to crossing the finish line first. Watching a string-bean 6’5” Marc trying to get up quickly after face-planting on a snowboard is right up there on my list of hilarity in the universe. Watching him fly off a jump—while trying to impress some lady-snow boarders—and land squarely on his non-existent ass at Stevens Pass tops the list of Marc Snowboarding Memorable Moments (MSMM).

A close second would be his memorable face-plant at Mt. Baker the day of the huge Seattle storm last year. I wrote a song about it, like to hear it? Here it goes… OK, I didn’t write the song, but I did make a video. I make a cameo appearance in the middle of the video getting my snowboard on, but Marc is the star, and don’t you forget it!

But back to racquetball. Apparently Mr. Howell, who I am observing for one more week, is also an avid racquetball player. He’s been playing for 20 years, and competitively for the last seven years. He was playing in a tournament up in Lynnwood on Sunday, and I was heading up to Everett anyways to watch the Seahawks game with Marc—so I made a pit-stop at the Lynnwood Bally’s to watch.

In the first 5 minutes of watching racquetball, I learned a dozen new things. Defensive shots, change of pace shots, serving technique, and court positioning—to name a few. I hadn’t really thought of any of these while playing with Tyler. I know how to lob in tennis, but when you are playing in a square court, where you can hit the ball off the back wall and the ceiling—it is like comparing blurnsball with baseball. The lobs I saw in racquetball hit the ceiling first, then hit the front wall, then bounce high and deep towards the back wall, which makes them incredibly hard to do anything with. The guy Mr. Howell was playing had an incredibly mean serve, that clung right against the wall. Any miscalculation on Mr. Howell’s part, and he winded up either completely missing the ball, or whacking the wall with his racquet, which never feels good.

Most of the other tricky shots I saw Mr. Howell and others hit, involved them hitting an off-wall corner, just before hitting the front wall. Some of those shots were just killer, and were basically instant point winners, where the defender has no chance to get to the ball by the second bounce.

Tyler and I got to play racquetball this afternoon down at Sand Point, because tennis practice was canceled due to about ten minutes of ill-timed rain. We discussed the strategy I soaked in yesterday a bit, then played two games to 11. I don’t think I’ve ever beaten Tyler before (although I probably should have last time we played), but I won both games today. My everyday tennis playing and being more in-shape helped, but watching the good racquetball players yesterday helped tremendously as well. Luck was on my side too, as I must have hit at least three shots that were accidentally kill-shots.

We reserved the court for Wednesday night, so hopefully Marc can make it after work for his first taste of racquetball. He says he is interested, and I’m interested to see how his 6’5” wingspan will change the game!

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