Monday, November 24, 2003

After-school racket comes from his racquet

Basic training

By Shauna Scott Rhone
The Cincinnati Enquirer

For educator Pat Crahan, the word racket has two meanings. The Merwin Elementary School principal knows one definition describes the sound his students make daily at the West Clermont school. The other definition, spelled racquet, sounds like what he does when he's not at school.

The Anderson Township resident has enjoyed playing racquetball for 30 years. Crahan, 48, says he loves the workout he gets on this enclosed court game.

What is it?

Racquetball is a fast-paced game that you play in a court. The court is closed in (there is a small opening at the back) and you can play the ball off any wall.

How did you get started?

I got started back in 1973 in college.

What do you get out of it?

You get one of the best cardiovascular workouts available. It comes in short bursts of sprints to get the ball. You use all muscle parts including upper and lower. It is very fast-paced and that's what people like about it.

What type of equipment do you need?

All you need are shorts, T-shirt, a pair of court shoes and socks.

How much does it cost to get started?

You can purchase a racquet for about $35, but you can spend up to $200 on a racquet. Protective goggles cost about $10. A glove is very important to minimize slippage of your hand on the racquet. A can of balls is about $3. Once you get really hooked, you can upgrade to much better goggles, shoes, gloves and racquet.

How long does it take to get started?

I have given lessons to first-timers who can actually be ready to play a game after one lesson.

How long did it take to learn?

It usually only takes a person to learn the rules, get into the court and then they can start playing.


Basic Training spotlights Greater Cincinnatians who work hard at having fun. To nominate someone who keeps fit by playing sports or developing a new skill, e-mail: or fax: 768-8330 or write to Basic Training, The Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. Include a daytime phone number for you and your nominee.

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