Kill shot

Last night I went to play racquetball. I fortified my game by buying goggles. The last time I played I matched up with a decent player and came away with a couple of victories. Considering that I hadn’t played since the 90s and that my racquet is in its second decade, I had a mild case of overconfidence.

It was around 8 p.m., which is the peak time for any gym. All courts were reserved except for the challenge courts. Was I up for the challenge? Naturally. At first it seemed like I’d never get on so I did some leg exercises. One of the guys waiting told me that the players were A or B players. Your player rating is like a grade in school. OK, maybe it’s like the grading system at Harvard. A, B, C, and incomplete. I instantly knew that I wanted nothing to do with an A player, but at the same time I was looking for a challenge and mildly cocky. After all, I had new goggles.
One strange thing about watching racquetball last night was that two players wore their goggles but kept them on their forehead. Maybe they’re just fashion accessories. I finally got my shot against a guy I hadn’t seen lose yet. He introduced himself as Alan. I noticed that he didn’t wear a racquetball glove. He also was a lefty, and naturally I didn’t adjust my game at all because of it. He graciously let me serve first. I scored to take a 1-0 lead. These A guys got nothin’, I thought.

Approximately five minutes later it was 13-1, bad guy. All Alan did was hit that lollipop serve to my backhand and he waited for me to screw up. There are two basic serves in racquetball. There’s the hard low serve that hopefully dies in the corner, and the lollipop lob serve that generally ends up going high to your backhand, and sometimes hugs the wall, making a return almost impossible. My goal with the return was to get Alan off the server’s line, where he could hit a kill shot that would bounce about four times before I could get to it. I was rarely successful at that.

I didn’t make a total fool of myself. He was surprised when I made a miraculous save with a skin-burning dive to my right. I managed to get up and win the point. I got it as close as 13-7 before he woke up and decided to put me away.

Next time I’m bringing a new headband. That will intimidate him.

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