AKA Women Making Racquetball History Now!
We will feature another woman making racquetball history every Wednesday. Do you know someone else we should be celebrating with this interview and feature process? Drop us a line on Facebook!
Name: Sandy Long
Are you a pro player, coach, association board member, tournament organizer, or racquetball broadcaster AKA why do racquetball players know you?
I am a coach, junior racquetball fundraiser, junior racquetball organizer for Texas.
Country of Origin: USA
Place you consider home: Fort Worth, Texas
Did you play as a junior? When & how where you introduced to the competitive side of racquetball?
I did not play as a junior player. I began playing racquetball in the Seattle area November 1985. However, I moved February 1986 to Austin TX with my company. In Austin, I played with friends at an apartment complex until I moved to Grand Prairie TX. I joined a small club 1991-95, where I met Hal Perry and Mark Jones. They played competitively but I didn’t think I was good enough to play. It wasn’t until 1998, after we moved to the Houston area that I met players who encouraged me to compete. I started playing tournaments and loved the experience.
Playing hand: Right
Year you started playing racquetball: 1985
Who got you into the game?
The first person to encourage me to start playing was a friend, Bryan McClung. I’ve lost touch with him long ago as he lives in Washington State but I often think that if I could, I would tell him how grateful I am that he encouraged me to begin playing and not be afraid of getting hit by the ball.
Favorite racquetball shot: Backhand reverse pinch
Motivation for the game (what keeps you playing): Being at the Maverick in Arlington is my happy place. I enjoy hanging out with friends, playing with friends, coaching and teaching mostly junior players but also adults.
Love most about racquetball: The quick pace of the game and the challenge of competing in singles or doubles. And these days, seeing my students improve. Coaching them and watching them steadily improve while having fun. Hoping they will love racquetball as much as I do.
Preferred equipment: My preferred racquet is the Gearbox 10th Anniversary 165 Teardrop. I restring with multifilament 18g at 31 for a bit more power. I give up a little control but for me it’s worth it. I am sponsored by Gearbox. The opportunity to be with such a great company that does a great job supporting my efforts to grow racquetball, especially junior racquetball is amazing. I’ve never felt so supported by a company before Gearbox.
Favorite event: My favorite event is the Longhorn Open. It’s not just the competition, it’s the excitement. As well as seeing friends from all over Texas in one place as well as the opportunity for my students to get some world class experience.
Best results at tournaments you’ve played in: In the last 20 years, I’ve competed in mostly Texas events, Women’s Open and Mixed Open. I competed in Nationals Singles from 1998 thru 2002 but since 2003, I haven’t competed in National Singles. My best finish in National Singles was First in 40+ A. I’ve competed in National Doubles twice and the US Open (Memphis) once. I took first place in both my divisions at the US Open, 45+A Singles & Women’s A/B doubles.
Day job: I retired from Farmers Insurance after a career spanning almost 37 years. My heart and passion is now teaching racquetball and mentoring my students.
Charity close to your heart: Humane Society of North Texas. Helping those that cannot help themselves .
Family shoutout: My husband David is long time racquetball player, competitor, tournament director and former long term TXRA board member. Jack Long who I think is an amazing racquetball player. I enjoy watching Jack play a match. Our next generation of Long’s is beginning to get interested. Michael Long age 12 started practicing with me during Spring Break and is practicing back home in the Houston area with his Dad, Richard. My brother James McCall organizes and helps new players wherever he happens to be. He worked with a group in the New Orleans area when he was posted there. He’s been in Germany for the last two years or so. Although they lost their courts, he was working with new players and helping them enjoy the sport.
Other sports played in addition to racquetball: Before Racquetball, I played a lot of different sports. Growing up, I played baseball, basketball, football and volleyball with my brother and his friends. I grew at a time when girls were not allowed to play organized sports so we played in our backyards or in the street. It wasn’t until high school when I played for a school team. I played fast pitch softball in high school. After high school, I played slow pitch softball but while it was fun, it wasn’t fast enough or challenging enough. At 26, I started playing racquetball and never looked back.
Do you know someone else we should be celebrating with this interview and feature process? Drop us a line on Facebook!