Tensor bandages caressed both his calves, the aroma of liniment enveloped him and there were a few extra pounds around his midsection. Still, Sherman Greenfeld, a two-time world champion (1994 and '98) and 10-time Canadian champion, showed Sunday he can still put a racquetball anywhere it pleases him.
Despite being hobbled by wonky legs, the bronze medal winner in the 1995 Pan American Games and 1993 World Games carved out a 15-5, 15-1 victory over Evan Pritchard in the final of the (unsanctioned) Rischuk Park Realty Cuban professional racquetball tournament at the University of Winnipeg's Duckworth Centre. Brandon's Wade Shadlock defeated Neal Dempsey 15-10, 8-15, 11-4, for third place.
Tournament organizer Rusty Rischuk pulled together the best male players in the province in order to give his Cuban protege, Marialis Alvarez Rodriguez, some decent competition.
Rodriguez was beaten earlier in the tournament by Pritchard 15-5, 8-15, 11-5.
"I am not satisfied," said Rodriguez, who considered Sunday's temperature of minus-41C (with windchill) a highlight of her trip to Canada. "I think I should have played better. I don't play my best game."
Rischuk's Cuban connection resulted from a visit to Winnipeg by the Cuban national volleyball team about six years ago.
"I used to coach Canada in volleyball, and they invited my wife Del and I to go to Cuba to watch them practice," he said. "We just jumped at it, and after we had been there for four days they invited Del and I to play against the Cuban racquetball team. After we slaughtered them, they hired us as their (non-paid) international consultant coaches."
With the Pan American Games scheduled for October in Mexico, Rischuk is on a crusade to get the Cuban government to reinstate its national racquetball team, and that's why Rodriguez is here.
"I think she is the best in the world," said Rischuk, "but she's never had a chance to play anyone different than one guy, so it is time she played a bunch of different men, and Winnipeg was the place to do it. I knew Sherman would play her, and if Jennifer Saunders wasn't in Virginia this weekend, we could have had the No. 1 from Cuba play the No. 1 from Canada.
"Cuba could easily qualify for the Pan Am Games, but it all depends on whether or not the government is going to let them. That is our first challenge, to make sure the Cuban government lets them play in Mexico. If they do, then we will try to get her and the best guy in Cuba out of the country again, and back to Canada to play some tournaments in February."
Rodriguez, 23, is hoping for the best. "It will depend on my government. Every other sport will be in the Pan Am Games, but no racquetball, so we want to get back into the Pan Am Games. Of course, the other countries will have racquetball teams in the Games."
Greenfeld used diamond-cutter precision to disassemble Pritchard.
"Sherman always had a great variety of shots and he showed that today," said Pritchard following his dissection. "There were a lot of times where I thought I could get the ball, but he hadn't hit it that hard, so it is not coming off the back wall. If you don't get it in front of you, which is hard to do because he has good angles, then you are not going to be able to get it at the back either."
Retired from competitive racquetball for more than 10 years now, Greenfeld said, "In 27 years of playing the game it becomes automatic. You don't lose the shot, the strategy or the percentage game. The only thing you do lose as you go on in age, is your body tells you one thing, but your mind tells you another.
"But yeah, you know where the ball is going."
-- The Oak Park Raiders and the Glenlawn Lions have a date for Dec. 28, at 10 a.m., at the University of Winnipeg's Duckworth Centre to decide the Wesmen Classic adidasjunior varsity boys basketball tournament championship.
Kedon Sweetney drained 26 points Saturday to lead the Raiders to a 62-55 win over the Miles Macdonell Buckeyes in the Black Division final Saturday night. The Buckeyes were led by Tim Ireland with 16.
The Lions won the Red Division final by defeating the John Taylor Pipers 76-46. Both games were played at the Duckworth Centre. Evan Bruce led the Lions with 25 points, while Dallas Murphy had 20 for the Pipers.
In Black division semifinal action, Miles Mac beat Selkirk Royals 56-52, and Oak Park beat Fort Richmond Centurions 78-65.
The Lions beat Sturgeon Heights 83-57 in on Red Division semifinal, and John Taylor stopped Garden City Fighting Gophers 73-49 in the other.
In consolation final play, Kelvin Clippers defeated Mennonite Brethren Hawks 83-65 in the Red Division, while the Black Division consolation was won by Dakota Lancers with a 65-53 decision over Kildonan East Reivers.
-- Dave Sigvaldason has been selected as the Harv-Al High School Rural Coach of the Month, while his contemporary in rural Manitoba, Chad Whiteside has been named the Urban Coach of the Month.
Sigvaldason of Rorketon School has been coaching for 13 years. His Rockets came in third at the Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association A volleyball provincials, last week in La Broquerie.
Whiteside coaches the Lord Selkirk Royals junior varsity girls volleyball team.
For the past eight years, the Royals have been consistently ranked in the top five in the province. This year they took the silver medal in the provincial championship.
-- The St. James Collegiate Jimmies hockey team will dedicate its Winnipeg High School Hockey League game against the Churchill Bulldogs on Friday to the Winnipeg Harvest, and the memory of two former SJCI students.
The game, which is their last regular scheduled game before Christmas, will be held at 4 p.m., at the Allard Arena.
Admission will charged at the game, in the form of a non-perishable food item, or a monetary donation.
Students, staff and the general public can also drop off donations in the school office during the week leading up to the game.
-- Allan Besson