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I attended the National Singles this year, not to play, but because it was to be the last year it will be held at the historic YMCA in downtown Houston. The tournament started being held there in 1982, but the real estate has become too valuable, and it would cost too much to refurbish the aging building, so it is being torn down. A lot of racquetball history has passed through this Y, and it's kind of sad to see it go. Next year's event will be held at a 22 court facility in sunny southern California. A bit further to travel, but it should be a great venue.

 Very few players from NC made the trip to Houston to play the event this year. To be exact, only 3 played. Debbie Bryant and myself also made the trip as non-players. Of course, Mildred Gwinn from Waxhaw made the trip, as she misses very few national events. Once again, she was the gold medal winner in the women's 65+ division. Philip Lane, also from Waxhaw, played in the 35+ and 40+. In the 35+ he lost a tough tiebreaker in the first round. In the 40+ he won his first round match and then met the #1 seed, Jimmy Lowe, in the second. Jimmy was on, and left little room for Philip to get his game going. Jimmy has won this division several times now and this year was no exception as he went on to the gold. Wes Snead did well in the 50+ winning his first round and then beating the #1 seed in the second round. He made it to the semis where he met a tough opponent that he beat badly in the first game. His opponent came back to beat Wes in the second game. In the breaker Wes just didn't have enough gas to finish. It was a good tournament for him though. 

Friday night one of the racquet manufacturers set up a casino/karaoke/bull riding night. Lots of fun for everyone. I only rode the bull once, and once was enough for me. Many of the other players did much better, and I think the person that stayed on the longest was one of the women that works for USAR racquetball. Blackjack was much nicer to me. And most people are very glad that I don't do karaoke.

At the Saturday night banquet it was suggested that people wear their western gear since it was the last year in Houston. Quite a few did, including myself, since I have all that stuff anyway being a horse owner. It made for some great photo ops, and I wouldn't be surprised if 1 or 2 of them showed up in the next racquetball magazine. It was a fitting end to the last tournament after 28 years in Houston.

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