BILLINGS – The Big Sky State Games rolled on Sunday and one man has been there for it all. In fact, he’s been dedicating himself to the sport of racquetball for a lot longer. Dave Weber picked up racquetball in 1970 and 47 years later he’s still playing with the top guys.
Back in the 1970s, racquetball was booming with popularity. Tournaments had more than 470 competitors and would last 17 hours.
Weber would travel hours to play in tournaments and many of the clubs housed 16-plus courts. Unfortunately, he now believes it’s a dying sport. Montana tournaments now average around 60-80 players, with a few tournaments reaching 100 participants. The Billings Athletic Club is now down to three playing surfaces.
Those numbers are still positive, but Weber would love to see more young kids get involved and that’s the exact reason he had his two sons pick it up. He didn’t have to do to much convincing. His oldest son would wave at him in the driveway as his father drove from work to the gym. Then one day, as Weber was passing the house, his son was out there with a gym bag and his father couldn’t bear to say no.
It was from that day forward that their love for racquetball began. Dave says it’s extremely rewarding being able to share his passion with his sons but does admit there are days where he regrets getting them involved.
“When I used to play with them, I’d take them home after we played and they’d be crying because I beat them. Now, times have changed: I go home crying because I can’t hold a candle to them,” Weber said with a laugh.
He may not be as good as he once was, as he has been hobbled with a knee injury, but his love for the sport is as strong as ever. Weber still travels around to tournaments and plans on continuing to take the court for many years to come.