Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by John. John Wonders, “Is racquetball dangerous?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, John!
As far as sports go, racquetball is a pretty recent invention. In the 1940s, Joseph Sobek was a tennis and squash player. He also enjoyed handball, but the game was very hard on his hands. That’s why he started using a paddle, or racquet.
By 1949, Sobek had created the sport he called “paddle racquets.” The game brought together many aspects of handball and squash. Later, the name changed to racquetball. Over the next few decades, the sport became more and more popular. By the 1970s, millions of people across the world played racquetball.
In 1979, the International Racquetball Federation was established. It organizes world championships every other year. Racquetball has fallen a bit in popularity because it isn’t as easy to watch on TV as sports like basketball or football. Still, many people enjoy the game and continue to play today.
Have you ever played racquetball? If so, you know how much fun the sport can be! Games take place on a court that’s 40 feet (12 meters) long, 20 feet (6 meters) wide, and 20 feet high. Players choose either a singles match (two players) or doubles (four players who play in pairs). Some people also play a version of the game called “cut-throat,” where three people play against each other.
How do you play racquetball? First, all players face the same direction, toward the front wall. The goal is to make the ball hit the front wall before it has the chance to bounce on the floor twice. Only the player who served the ball can score a point, and they do so when an opponent fails to return the ball to the front wall. When one player reaches 15 points, the game is over.
Racquetball players have several rules to remember. For example, players have to hold the racquet in only one hand. They can’t change hands while the ball is in play. Lines on the court also mark where players should stand while serving. There is also a “short line” that a served ball must pass in order to be in play.
Racquetball is a fast-paced game. The ball can move at 150 miles (250 kilometers) per hour. Players have to be quick on their feet to return the ball before it bounces twice. This is why the game is a popular choice for exercise and many gyms contain racquetball courts for members to use.
Racquetball became an Olympic sport in 1995. Have you ever played the game? It can be a fun way to exercise and have fun with friends and family!
Standards: CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2, CCRA.L.3, CCR.AL.6, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2