Nobody can tell Bob Miller that he is too old to play sports.
Bob Miller (from left) won the 75-and-over gold medal in the 2004 Racquetball U.S. Open Championship in Memphis, Tenn.; Haley Rollins won the bronze medal in the women's 24-and-under C category; Scott Rollins won the silver medal in the 50-and-over category; and Sez Ozden won the silver medal in the 55-and-over B category.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Miller, 75, is one of the top racquetball players in his age group in the nation.
He was one of four Patriots Park raquetballers to win a medal in the recent U.S. Open Racquetball Championship in Memphis, Tenn.
Miller took home the gold in the 75-and-older division. Scott Rollins and Sez Ozden won silvers, and Haley Rollins took home a bronze.
Miller, the founder of Miller Printing Co. in Augusta, has been ranked nationally in the top six for the past six years. That's not bad for a guy who picked up the sport at the age of 63.
"I played handball most of my life," he said. "Racquetball is on the same court and has the same premise. You just have a racquet."
The top-ranked 75-plus player in South Carolina and Georgia, Miller upset a 10-year national champion to win the gold. Miller previously lost four out of five matches to the same opponent at the previous U.S. Open.
"I work hard and I'm happy with the results," Miller said.
In March and April, Miller will defend his South Carolina and Georgia state titles. He also will compete in national tournaments in Pittsburgh and California and an international tournament in Ohio.
"This is probably my last go-around," Miller said. "Since I got on a roll, I kept going. But it gets expensive traveling to all these tournaments, and I work full time."
Miller said he will continue playing for the foreseeable future. Ozden isn't sure how long he will play.
"I don't know if I can play as long as Bob," said the Turkish-born Ozden. "I don't even know if I can live as long as Bob. I always say I'm going to play until I croak in the middle of the court."
One of the biggest reasons to keep playing is the chance to play with his friend Rollins, with whom he has played for 10 years. Ozden and Rollins started playing about 18 years ago when Ozden was looking for an activity after moving from Texas.
"Scott was already a standout player when we met," Ozden said. "He has taught me a lot about the game."
Ozden's silver came in the 55-plus division, Scott Rollins' in the 50-plus division and Haley Rollins won her bronze in the under-24 C division.
Miller and Ozden have collegiate backgrounds that help them succeed on the court.
Miller was a basketball player at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and Ozden was an Honorable Mention All-American at Ohio in soccer.
"I am very quick on the court," Ozden said. "I have quick feet that come from soccer."
Quickness is a must in a game where the ball travels up to 160 mph.
"It is definitely intense," Miller said. "That is why we like it."
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