By Matt Miller email@example.com
A smashing hit
Upcoming racquetball tournament to raise awareness for colorectal cancer
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in men and women and the second leading cancer killer in the United States. In just 2006, approximately 139,000 people were diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and nearly 53,000 people died from it. In July 2007, the cancer claimed the life of 37-year-old David J. Kinman, who left behind his wife, Braedi, and an 18-month-son, Cole. Although Kinman passed away three years ago, his presence can still be felt among friends, family and even within the walls of the local Oakmoor Racquetball and Health Center. The facility plans to honor Kinman and continue to raise money for colorectal cancer research during the upcoming Oakmoor Fall Classic from Nov. 5 to 7.
“This tournament is really a special one because it honors Dave but also brings awareness about colorectal cancer,” said Pam Burns, general manager of Oakmoor Racquetball and Health Center. “It’s a great tournament that attracts a lot of people — young and old for a good cause.”
The Oakmoor Fall Classic has been taking place for more than 25 years, attracting novice, advanced and professional racquetball players from across the United States. Last year approximately 200 individuals participated traveling from as far away as California. Burns says she expects 250 individuals this year over the three-day event. The tournament is nationally known, drawing top racquetball players such as Cliff Swain, who was inducted into the USA Racquetball Hall of Fame in 2003, and Keith Minor, who is currently ranked No. 46 in the nation. Burns says a wide range of ages compete from 4 through 70. The tournament will feature more than 26 divisions on the facility’s 10 courts.
“The tournament has varied in attendance over the years, but we’re once again expecting a big turnout,” Burns said. “People come because they enjoy our hospitality — how we treat the players — and our courts are kept up really well.”
With so many players competing, Burns says it can be 2 a.m. when the gym lights turn off for the night, before they do it all over again the next day. The object is to win each rally by serving or returning the ball so the opponent is unable to keep the ball in play. A rally is over when a player is unable to hit the ball before it touches the floor twice, is unable to return the ball in such a manner that it touches the front wall before it touches the floor or when a hinder (to be or get in the way of) is called. Points are scored only by the serving side when it serves an ace or wins a rally. The first side winning two games wins a match. The first two games of a match are played to 15 points. If each side wins one game, a tiebreaker game is played to 11 points.
“There are a lot of rules in racquetball, but it’s easy to catch on,” Burns said. “Anyone can play in only a few minutes.”
Outside of the Oakmoor Racquetball and Health Center, racquetball is prevalent in the state with playing facilities at YMCAs like Oskaloosa and in downtown Des Moines. The state has an Iowa Racquetball Association and a website, which can be found at www.iowarball.org, featuring news, tournaments, videos, tips and racquetball training.
“Racquetball is a lot of fun; it’s a good workout,” Burns said. “Cancer affects everyone in some way or the other. We’re just glad that we can do our part to help bring more awareness to it.” CV
caption: For more information on registering for the Oakmoor Fall Classic, visit www.oakmoorfitness.com/racquetball. Photo courtesy of Bryan Crosser