On the surface, Sez Ozden and Bob Miller look like two ordinary men.
Ozden, now retired, was once an electrical and mechanical engineer at Savannah River Site. Miller founded a printing company, Miller Printing, and has worked there since its beginning in 1962.
Last weekend, the two friends earned national recognition in an entirely different area. Ozden and Miller won silver and bronze medals, respectively, at the 2006 Choice Hotels U.S. Open Racquetball Championships in Memphis, Tenn.
"I would like to tell you different, but by Sunday I was exhausted," said Ozden, who came up one win shy of a gold medal. "I played in two different divisions, and I just got too tired."
Ozden, 59, won silver in the men's 55-plus B division and bronze in the men's 55-plus A division. Miller, 77, took bronze in the men's 75-plus division. Both are regulars at the Patriots Park racquetball courts.
The men said it takes more than just skill to make it at the national level.
"It's repetition. It takes a lot of work," Ozden said. "There's no shortcuts. You have to play people better than you."
Ozden, who plays four to five times per week, said the medals weren't the highlight of the trip. Instead, it was a semifinals win on Saturday.
"My game was scheduled at the Racquetball Club of Memphis, which is a really nice place to play," he said. "But all the courts were full. Well, the guy I was playing, he was a member there, he took me back in the back of the club through a maze of corridors. Back in the back, all of a sudden, there it was. It was one racquetball court by itself, and it was built for Elvis Presley."
Ozden said Presley was once a regular guest at the Memphis racquetball club, but Presley didn't want to deal with the large crowds that followed him there.
"If he played on the regular courts he would just get mugged by fans. So they built it in the back for him to play. They use it just for the pros to warm up on now," Ozden said. "It was one of those darnedest things. That made my tournament."
To top it off, Ozden won the semifinals match to give him the silver medal.
"That was my best win ever," he said.
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