I may have played my last racquetball game ever this morning at the Northfield Athletic Club. The club is due to close at the end of the day.
Therese and Jeff Smiens purchased the club in January of 2010 (blog post here), leasing the building from former club owners Kyle and Dale Snesrud (Dale died from cancer last November). The Smiens were not able to make the club work financially and Kyle has not been able to find a buyer. (If you know of someone who might be interested, contact Kyle via one of his two Olympus 24 hr Health & Fitness clubs in Rosemount and Farmington.
It’s a sad day for area racquetball players, as Northfield has more racquetball players per capita than any other town in the state. But it’s a particularly sad day for Eric Pritchard who has worked at the club for over 15 years.
I’m grateful that we’ve had the club for the past 35+ years, nearly my entire life in Northfield. Not only have I had fun and stayed in shape playing a lifelong sport, I’ve met and developed lifelong friends there. I’m really going to miss it.
I got to know Dale Snesrud when the local racquetball club opened up in the late 70s (now called the Northfield Athletic Club.) Dale and his sons were avid players and got so into the sport that he and son Kyle eventually bought the club. Northfield has more racquetball players per capita than anywhere in the state and much of that is due to the enthusiasm that Dale, his sons and grandsons brought to the sport. They’ve since sold the club but still make it their racquetball home away from home.
I last blogged here about Dale in 2007 when he wrote an eloquent heroin-related letter to the Northfield News titled ‘Holy Discontent.’
Dale’s losing his battle with cancer and his son Kyle and grandson Elliot have organized a tournament in his honor called The "Oh Dale" Racquetball Invitational and silent auction.
I stopped by his house this morning to take his photo. As you can see, although he’s lost weight and is in a lot of pain, he still has that same mischievous smile.
Here’s Elliot’s letter with the details:
Continue reading A tribute to Dale Snesrud
I’ve been a member of Northfield Athletic Club (formerly Olympus Athletic Club) since the building was constructed in the late 70s. Therese and Jeff Smiens purchased the club from Robin and Chad Johnson a few weeks ago and changes (new signage this week) are starting to appear. In last week’s Nfld News, Local couple buys Hwy. 3 athletic club:
Continue reading Northfield Athletic Club gets new owners, signage, and more
Northfield has more racquetball players per capita than any other town in the state. (You can look it up on the internet.) Both colleges have had racquetball courts for decades but the critical mass of players here is really due to:
- the success of the local club, the Northfield Athletic Club (formerly Olympus Athletic Club) which has four courts and owners (Chad and Robin Johnson) who promote and nurture the sport.
- local players like Anthony (Tony) Pierre who take time to teach/coach. I caught him teaching some younger students on Saturday morning (upper photo).
- local players like Daryl Knudsen (on the right, lower photo) who took it upon himself to secure glass from a closed club and have it installed on the back wall of one of the courts over the weekend to enhance the viewing for spectators.