Balls of Fury

Hollywood Beach is wonderful for many reasons: If you’re under 45 you’ll get called “kiddo;” soft serve ice cream is abundant; and odd sports reign supreme. From putt putt to competitive roller blading, the Broadwalk is bustling with friendly competition. This weekend you can get a front row seat to watch a sport that ESPN2 doesn’t even cover. Yes, folks, we’re talkin’ paddleball.

For the uninitiated, we’ll clear up the basics. Paddle ball is like a minimalist version of tennis, racquetball, jai alai, ping pong, and handball combined. Paddling duos will face off against their rivals for two days; keeping their game faces on while the torturous summer sun turns their rubbery shoe tread to the consistency of warm, chewed gum. But bragging rights and thousands of bucks in prize money are at stake, so winning the QPC Paddleball Tournament is worth sweating through their tongues like dogs while onlookers (that’s you!) taunt them by enjoying cold drinks and ice cream cones from the stands. The best part? Watching is free. It all goes down at Hollywood Beach’s historic Garfield Street Paddleball Courts (Where Garfield Street meets the beach, Hollywood).
July 12-13, 2008

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Jamie Laughlin