Racquetball – A History of the Game
An immigration attorney in San Diego, California, Christopher Stender has been practicing law since 1990. Outside of his work as an immigration attorney, Christopher Stender enjoys traveling, reading, and playing racquetball.
Although the origins of racquetball can be traced back hundreds of years to games such as tennis and handball, it didn’t emerge as its own sport until the mid-20th century. Known as the “father of racquetball,” Joe Sobek invented the sport in 1950 after he grew dissatisfied with other indoor court games like squash.
Sobek, an on-and-off tennis pro, created the design for a smaller strung racquet and used the core of a tennis ball to start playing a game he initially called paddle rackets. He then launched the Paddle Rackets Association and continued to experiment with racquet and ball design until he eventually came up with the small rubber ball that is still used today.
Sobek’s game quickly caught on locally, and it wasn’t long before paddle rackets was enjoying popularity nationwide. By the 1960s, tournaments were popping up across the country. In 1969, Robert Kendler, the president of the US Handball Association, established the International Racquetball Association, which used a new name coined by a California tennis pro named Bob McInerney. With that, the sport had a new name, and it has been called racquetball ever since.
Over the decades, racquetball has remained a popular sport and is played in fitness clubs and community organizations worldwide. Although it has yet to make it to the Olympics, racquetball is an international game that is enjoyed by millions of people in over 95 countries.