I spent last weekend in Columbia, South Carolina at the 1st Annual Capital City Clash racquetball tournament. There were 46 players in attendance, including 5 from Georgia, 1 from North Carolina, and 40 from South Carolina. We played at the Tri-City Leisure Center, which had 2 glass-backed courts, so you could watch all of the matches with a well chosen seat. The University of South Carolina offers a racquetball class, and participating in the tournament was provided as an alternative to a final exam. These university players ended up in the C and D divisions.
In each of my first two rounds, I was playing against a left-handed player. I don’t see that very often, although I have played against a very good left-handed player from Alabama and a very good left-handed player from Venezuela in tournaments in the past. The first opponent was one of the university students. He really wasn’t used to people pounding on his backhand in the serve, so the games went my way mostly due to his inexperience, not so much due to my expertise or finesse. My second opponent had more experience, but still seemed to lack comfort with a relentless attack on that back right corner on the serve.
My third opponent was the first right-handed player of the weekend for me to face. He was also the most tenacious and scrappy player I’ve played against. He ran and dove and ran some more. He was definitely getting to things 99% of my opponents would have given up on. He took the first game 15-13, and was a rally or two away from winning the tiebreaker, which ended up 11-10 in my favor. The last rally of the tiebreaker, I hit a blast that just barely stayed low enough on the back glass to be in, that then bounced and headed fast towards the front wall. An amazing chase and dive let Daniel get the shot, but it rebounded off the front wall and hit him in the shoe (which was two feet above the floor), giving me the point. Definitely one of the most exciting matches of the weekend to play in or to watch.
My opponent in the finals had a similar experience, one of the university players in the first round, a more experienced opponent in the second, and his biggest challenge in the third. He was also playing some great doubles racquetball that weekend. I had refereed his first match and watched some of doubles matches. I took video of this match and agreed not to post it, thought I did share it with him directly via Dropbox. One of the minor problems with the Orbo® NR22 Extreme Sports Action Camera setup is that the suction cup mount is designed to hold the camera steady 180 degrees from where it needs to be to film a racquetball court thru a glass door or glass wall. Every time the door closed, the view shifted a tiny bit to the right. A lot of backhand action, particularly on serves, was missed for this. I will probably need to invest in some superglue, as I don’t intend to use that mount or the protective case for anything else. We seemed to be relatively evenly matched in the first two games, with Jerry winning the first 15-10 and I won the second 15-9. During the tiebreaker, Jerry recovered more quickly from the previous efforts and was able to take the game and the tournament. I’ll be examining those three videos (one for each game) later on to see what needs to change, the most prominent one seeming to be getting back to center court in front of my opponent. I seemed to spend a lot of time directly behind Jerry as he was getting setup for his shots.
Other than the long delay between the semi-final match (9 am) and the finals (5 pm), I had a great time at the event and spoke to some great friendly players while watching and refereeing. Pictures were taken of all of the medal winners, which should show up on SCRball.com eventually.