Chuck Rankin discovered racquetball a year ago. 

The 32-year-old Kodiak resident can’t get enough of the sport now and wants to share his passion for racquetball with others.

Rankin and Leon Routsalainen are offering free racquetball lessons starting this Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Teen Center. They plan on doing this every Friday.

“We want to give back to the community as much as possible,” Rankin said. “If people don’t want to go outside, they don’t have to. They can get their exercise by being competitive, having fun and learning a new sport.” 

When Rankin started playing a year ago, he said he was the worst player in Kodiak. But, he devoted time to improve and is now on the cusp of reaching elite status.  

He will be competing at the USA Racquetball National Doubles Championships Feb. 2-6 in Tempe, Arizona. 

“Racquetball saved my life, and I dedicate a lot of my life back to racquetball,” Rankin said. “I spend between 6 to 8 hours on the court every day.” 

Rankin noted that the family atmosphere here in Kodiak attracted him to the sport. 

Since July, Rankin, a member of the U.S. Coast Coast Guard, has competed in three tournaments in the Lower 48. Most recently, the 29th Annual LPRR Christmas Classic Pro-Am in Maryland.

In a few months, Rankin said Kodiak’s racquetball community has grown from a handful of active players to close to 40.  

That’s not by accident. 

“I talk about racquetball to everyone,” Rankin said. “I convince everyone to get on the court with me at least once — and it typically happens again.” 

Rankin said he has rackets people can borrow but asked that players bring eye protection. 

There are five courts in Kodiak — two at the Teen Center and three on the Coast Guard base. 

“I would just like to get more people involved and get (the courts) into use, so they are not disappearing,” Rankin said. “A lot of people don’t play the game because I don’t think they are aware that we even have it.” 

 

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