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Memphis, Tennessee. Basketball hotbed. Home of the Blues. Racquetball capital of the world? For a couple days, at least. Starting yesterday, the sixth annual Hilton U.S. Open Racquetball Championships will be held in at The Racquet Club of Memphis through Sunday, November 18. This is the grand-daddy of all racquetball tourneys, counting as the sports only recognized “grand-slam” and doling out $45,000 to the winner. The event will be televised on ESPN2. “Memphis is a great site for several reasons,” says tourney director Doug Ganim. One of those reasons is the “rich history the sport of racquetball has in this city, including its being the birthplace of the USRA [United States Racquetball Association], the outstanding collection of facilities offered by The Racquet Club of Memphis, the University of Memphis, and Wimbleton Sportsplex, Memphis has an excellent central geographic location within the United States, [and] a very supportive community including corporate sponsors, fans, and media.” In other words, this is a racquetball kind of town. Facing off in the tournament will be such top-ranked stars as Sudsy Monchik for the men and Cheryl Gudinas for the women. Monchik already has three of these titles on his trophy case. Gudinas is still looking for her first U.S. OPEN title. This event is going to be just plain out cool. For those not familiar with the sport, racquetball places two opponents in a small area with an even smaller ball. One player knocks the crap out of said ball, bouncing the thing like crazy. All the other player has to do is catch up to the blazing little bit of rubber and send the ball back to the wall. Easy, right? No. Not even a little bit. Imagine trying to imagine dodge-ball on crack. Now, take that scenario and tell the players to move toward the ball. Insane? Maybe just a little bit. And here’s something more. The entire event supports St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital of Memphis as the event’s designated charity. For more information, go over to the U.S. OPEN’s website at OTHER STUFF NOTABLE
  • Memphis RiverKings right winger Ben Gorewich has been named CHL player of the week on the strength of his seven point effort over three games which includes three goals and four assists. Not bad considering Gorewich joined the ‘Kings three games ago.
  • What’s with all the panic over the Grizzlies’ 0-7 start? Everyone acts surprised, as if Memphis inherited a good team. We didn’t. We inherited a team that was pretty bad, got rid of the core of its talent, and is rebuilding. That said, this team will be alright. The Griz need guard Michael Dickerson back from the injured list, need more fourth quarter effort/concentration from its players, and more experience in two starters (forwards Shane Battier and Pau Gasol), but those will come in time, as will the wins.
  • “We don’t have any days off.” Grizzlies point guard Jason Williams on the rigors of an NBA schedule. Williams was obviously forgetting those seven vacation days when the team had a game.
  • “It’s tough. It’s real tough. We’re playing our hearts out and one person is slacking. If you have five guys out there and one guy is slacking, it hurts the whole team. Everybody is not working together.” Grizzlies center Lorenzen Wright on why the team is losing.
  • “We allowed so many open shots. They [the Golden State Warriors] made the shots. We missed one or two shots. So what? We lost.” Grizzlies forward Pau Gasol giving his take on the team’s loss Monday night.
  • “At some point and time, you have to get angry. And just do something about it.” Grizzlies head coach Sidney Lowe on what it will take for the Grizzlies to win.

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