Hall of Fame - Jim and Sandy McPherson 2004 Inductees
Thank you for honoring us with this special event, and thank you for all you have done for ORA. Per your request, we have attempted to gather a few facts together.
Jim and Sandy started playing racquetball at age 31 in 1971 when it was known as paddleball, and the only courts in Oklahoma City were at the downtown YMCA and the OU campus underneath Owen Stadium. They played at the (non-regulation) OU courts, chaperoned by their five children on their second date. There was no water fountain, no restrooms, no air conditioning, but they were hooked for life. Their humble beginnings in the sport led to involvement in court management during 1975 of the newly-built Muehleisen Courts in NW OKC, and eventually ownership of Rollout Courts in Mustang, and Metro Courts in Moore and Midwest City; and, of course, they were very involved in playing in all tournaments within driving distance of OKC, winning many titles over a span of three decades. They both were very active in the organization of Oklahoma Racquetball Association, serving as state officers, providing lessons and clinics, and running many local, state, and regional tournaments. Racquetball became a major part of the lives of the McPherson family. Jim and Sandy provided the instructional manual, and gave a seminar for the administrators and staff of the local YMCA’s when the branch Y’s opened their racquetball courts in the late 1970’s. Jim even answered a request from an inmate to give a racquetball clinic to prisoners at the Federal Prison in El Reno, discovering what it’s like to be “inside”.
Sandy’s playing career encompassed many open women’s titles on state, regional, and national levels during the 1970’s and ‘80’s. There were very few women playing racquetball in the 1970’s, and it often proved difficult to find opportunities for tournament action in women’s events, and Sandy many times entered men’s events, just to be able to play in tournaments and have good competition. She won her share of trophies playing in men’s B & C events. Highlights included multiple Oklahoma State Women’s and Regional Women’s titles, various open titles in Wichita Falls, Amarillo, Dallas, Arlington, San Antonio, and Houston TX; Wichita KS; Shreveport and New Orleans LA; and a host of events in Oklahoma. The “big” win occurred in Detroit MI, in 1977 when she won the National Racquetball Senior Women’s 35+ title. After weathering major surgery and a major illness in 1978, she placed second the following year at the national championships in Denver CO.
Jim faced formidable competition from the start of his racquetball career, but through much perseverance and work on his game, his determination produced in excess of 100 singles titles and a lifestyle of good health. Highlights of his playing career include many local, state, regional, and master’s event titles. To Jim, some of the most memorable singles wins include his first Oklahoma State Seniors Championship in 1976 when the games were still 21 points long, and the Oklahoma State 50+ Championship in 1991.
While pursuing their individual singles activities, some of the most gratifying accomplishments happened for Jim and Sandy in the area of doubles. Throughout their playing years, they greatly enjoyed being able to compete together. They won mixed doubles titles at every level, and when there were no events for mixed teams, they brazenly entered men’s events, often landing a first or second place. They won national doubles age group titles in 1990 in Salt Lake City and again in 1996 in Indianapolis. When Sandy retired from active competition, Jim won two more national age group titles with other partners.
We are very grateful for this special honor of being recognized in the Oklahoma Racquetball Hall of Fame, and will cherish this milestone for the rest of our lives. It is our sincere hope that those who read this sketch will be encouraged to play this wonderful sport and find in racquetball the life-changing thrill of physical fitness, good friends, and memories that last forever.