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One taste of racket sport hooks veteran Renouf

May 22, 2008, 1:23 p.m. (ET)

One taste of racket sport hooks veteran Renouf print this article
Herald Staff

Holy Thursday,1984.

It is a day Lorne Renouf won't soon forget.

"That's when I started playing squash," said Renouf, a nostalgic smile creeping across his face. "As soon as I picked up the racket I was hooked."

After playing his first game, however, Renouf would have to wait a brief spell before trying it again. Because of the Easter holiday, the gym in his hometown of Stephenville, Nfld., wouldn't open again until the next week.

"I couldn't wait for that Monday," he said. "I wanted the gym to open so I could play again."

And play again he did. In fact, over the next decade or so, Renouf played all around the Atlantic provinces - winning a host of tournaments in the process.

But then, in 2000, he moved to Prince Albert and his squash-playing days came to an end.

"There's no squash here," said Renouf, who teaches forestry at SIAST Woodland Campus, "so I started playing racquetball."

That was January 2001.

Since then, the 46-year-old Renouf has taken to his new sport like a fish to water.

"It's a different kind of workout," he said, comparing racquetball to his first love. "The rallies are shorter and racquetball is more of a shooter's game, but I adjusted quickly. I already had the court awareness and the racquet control, so everything fell into place."

It most certainly did.

In 2002, Renouf won the men's D division at the Canadian racquetball championships in Montreal. He followed that up over the next few years with two third-place finishes in the C division at national championship tournaments in Vancouver and in Burlington, Ont.

On May 19, Renouf will again head to Burlington in search of the C-division title that has eluded him in the past.

"That's definitely the goal," said Renouf. "The last two times I've been beaten by juniors, so I'd like to go there and win my division."

And what if he does? What if Renouf goes to Burlington and comes back with the C-division crown?

"Then I'll move up to the B division," he said. "But I don't think I'll ever move up to the open in racquetball. I started playing too late in life ...

"If I kept moving up, I'd probably be 100 by the time I got there."

The Canadian racquetball championships will be held May 19-26 in the Toronto suburb.