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.
The Carletonian published its first issue of the year on Friday and their lead article was Northfield’s heroin story, along with an accompanying interview of a former addict. (This first issue is not yet available via their online service but these photos I took of the paper are large enough to make the text readable. Click to enlarge.)
Left and center: Chief of Police’s heroin claims cause controversy; Right: A former Northfield High School heroin addict offers perspective.
Two other Northfielders have publicly weighed in on the heroin issue recently. Left: Dale Snesrud, former co-owner of the Olympus Athletic Club, wrote a letter to the Northfield News titled Holy discontent with heroin. Right: Craig Ellingboe, Pastor of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, preached a sermon title “Holy Discontent” on Aug. 26 that Dale references in his letter. Keep reading for the full text of their remarks.