Three men from McMinn County showed themselves to be among the nation’s best at racquetball, even when taking their skills against opponents from deeper talent pools.
Playing in the 2017 National Senior Games in Birmingham, Alabama, during the weekend of June 9-11, John Grubb took second place in the men’s singles age 75-79 division. Darrell Dumont and Bill Zimmer claimed fourth place in the men’s age 60-64 doubles, and as individuals, Dumont also took fourth in the top bracket of singles and Zimmer second in the singles’ second bracket.
All three players came away from the event in awe of the type of competition they faced. Many of their opponents were from larger cities with league play and city tournaments, giving them more opportunities to hone their game.
“I knew going in that people would be ahead of my game a little bit because they play in larger cities and play in tournaments over there,” said Grubb, who mentioned one of his opponents plays in more than 10 tournaments a year in Florida and New York.
While Grubb would’ve liked to have won the whole thing, he took pride in his performance considering the competition he was up against.
“I think all of us by instinct would rather be in first, but after all was said and done I was pleased with what I did, after I got done with the chip on my shoulder,” Grubb said.
Dumont mentioned one of his opponents, from Charlotte, had more than 100 players in his club.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have as many here in Athens,” Dumont said.
Zimmer, who has lived in Niota more than 50 years, saw himself matched up in singles against two state champions during his run.
“One was the Pennsylvania state champion, and he beat me. I played against the Tennessee state champion, and he beat me,” Zimmer said. “But it’s the experience, where you’re playing against such good players, and of the age bracket that…