Photographed at the University Club of Chicago
Amid the thunk of the ball hitting the wall and the squeak of court shoes, Chicagoan Robert Minetz sits in the lounge at the University Club talking about — what else? — squash.
A regular morning player, Minetz gets on the court at least three or four times a week (when there’s not a pandemic). Although he started playing squash only about five years ago, he has a racquetball background.
“I rely on my racquetball skills and a good serve to generally beat fellow 70-year-olds,” says Minetz, who loves a challenge. “Sometimes we play with special rules to make the game interesting, and so we play longer rallies.”
The games are fast, Minetz says, which adds to the competition.
“It’s amazing to me how fast you can lose a squash game, since a player scores on every rally. If you make a couple of errors, in 45 seconds you can be down by six points and the game only goes to 11.”
While squash is a lesser-known sport in the U.S., it’s popular internationally. The sport has many benefits: It promotes heart health, strength and flexibility. People can also play it year-round, as well as throughout their lives.
And Minetz can certainly hold his own on the court. He recently won his age group at the 2020 Illinois State Championships, and a couple of years ago, he won a skill-level club tournament.
“I love the quality of the workout, notwithstanding the soreness after the match,” he says. “I love the competition and the adrenaline rush that is part of the competition.”