- Freddy Ramirez
Still On The Run
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.