The mission of NM Racquetball: to provide educational and recreational opportunities to the broadest cross-section of the population.
President’s Message for April
‘Poor Courts Plague Racquetballers’
It is always an adventure to clean out a garage, a cabinet, a room, or all of the above! I recently cleaned out my office; including file cabinets, drawers, nooks, & crannies. Lo and behold, I found a plethora of stuff; objects, clothing, and articles. I write about one of those articles with its heading up top. (From the UNM Daily Lobo by Larry Saunders September 16, 1975).
What is described is, as it was in 1975, at the University of New Mexico; Johnson Gym specifically. The four handball/racquetball courts sat in the auxiliary portion of the main gymnasium. Dirty, poor lighting, and compromised heating and air. It did not matter! According to Saunders, sixty students signed up for the Racquetball course sections; either a two day or three day per week option for the semester. These courses were conduits to: Intramurals, In-house leagues, and community wide or region wide tournaments and championships. Reserving a court was a difficult task, validated by the host of would be hackers waiting in line at the administrative office at 6AM. Courts could be reserved on a same day basis.
Hundreds of men and women who were privileged to play on the courts had little or no idea about the universe of racquetball. There had been National Championships in the late 60’s, and most at the top were paddleball aficionados. This was five to ten years before an onslaught of wannabe millionaires dared enter the virgin Court Club business. The other slim pickings for facilities in Albuquerque included the Elks Club, the Albuquerque Tennis Club, Kirtland AFB East and West Centers, Albuquerque Academy, and the Downtown YMCA. Tom Young’s Athletic Club, Supreme Courts, Academy Court Club, Rio Grande Sporting Club, and the Indoor Sports Complex were dreams. The peak of court activity in Albuquerque was 1991, with over 90 courts.
Let us return to the main theme of this article, the University. This is the same university that wanted to close Johnson Center on weekends less than ten years ago. The savings would have been $50,000 per annum; not to mention ticking off hundreds of consumers. At the same time the administration was paying Mike Locksley $700,000 to leave the football program, after he blessed the school with 2 wins in three years. A short time before, Head Coach Rocky Long was paid to leave. Shortly thereafter, Basketball Coach Steve Alford was paid handsomely when he broke his contract and successor Craig Neal was paid when he was terminated. This is the same university that recently decided to demolish the largest indoor four-wall court facility (8 courts) in New Mexico. Rebuilding the courts will, ‘come at another phase—no less than 15 years.’ Finally, the new administration recently dropped three intercollegiate sports to save a negligible amount of dollars annually.
Hopefully someone will take heed to the fact that the largest city in New Mexico, with well over 600,000 inhabitants, currently has less than 25 indoor courts. Most are precluded from accessing them lest they divvy out over $100/month for membership dues. The bottom line at the University of New Mexico is hurting!
The motto has now become, ‘NO COURTS PLAGUE RACQUETBALLERS.
Photo: Dr. Earl Badger & Gary Mazaroff
Quote of the month… ‘The breath controls the mind; rhythm controls the breath.’ Anon