Backstory: In 1997, the first big One Wall racquetball tournament was organized in New York City. Until that time, most of the big One Wall events were paddleball and handball. One Wall racquetball didn't show up regularly (somewhat) on NYC courts until around 1995.
Back then, I was mostly a paddleball guy, dabbling in handball here and there. I played most of the big NYC paddleball tournaments and had nominal success with some quarters and semis finishes and a chip here and there. I played a ton, mostly at the Carmine Street courts in Greenwich Village. They had lights, so most of my summer afternoons and evenings (we would go until 2 in the morning sometimes,) were spent there. That's where, a few years earlier, I first heard of, then met "The Kid". He was winning all the major paddleball tournaments and was a couple of years younger than me. One summer, he would show up regularly with his friends, who became my friends and I began taking the game seriously. And by 1995, I had gotten as good as I was going to get in paddleball.
When the few racquetball guys began showing up, I would get called out (challenged) by them in an effort to get me on their courts. It became a regular thing for me to head towards that court after playing paddleball. (I remember buying a $30 Wilson racquet with a square frame and thinking it was a great.) And by 1997, the courts were full of racquetball players. By that time, I knew I had a knack for the game. And being a strong player, I was a bit surprised that I couldn't get a partner for the tourney, all the top players having found partners. So, I called Robert. Having already played a paddleball tournaments a couple of times together, it was an easy call. He hadn't played One Wall racquetball really and didn't even own a racquet. So, I borrowed a racquet for him and we entered and won the tournament. And so it goes...
Robert Sostre and I took another Central Park title this past weekend. We've been playing for 15 plus years and have had 4 loses in all that time. We've gone our first 12 years without a loss and have made every final of every One Wall tournament we've ever played, except for one event right after Rob had returned from his first Achilles injury.
I got started traveling to play 3 Wall racquetball because of his invites, which in turn connected me to the sport of racquetball as a whole. (I include all the different experiences and people I've had the pleasure to know during this Restrung run.)
As I think on it now, it's a pretty deep experience.
But what I take away from this weekend is this. Teams fight through a lot of stuff together sometimes. And teams that achieve their goals are comprised of people who are dedicated to the same thing. When you do it for a long time, it's becomes something deeper and more meaningful I guess.
So, I'm appreciating it and everything that goes with it. Now, in the present.