Indoor or outdoor, nobody can compare to Kane Waselenchuk

November 19, 2015

Kane Waselenchuk drive serves during the 2015 U.S. Open in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo courtesy of Roby Partovich.

Kane Waselenchuk drive serves during the 2015 U.S. Open in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo courtesy of Roby Partovich.

Sometimes people start arguments for the sole purpose of arguing. Other times there is a legitimate point to be made concerning the topic at hand. Often, these two scenarios blend together to create the perfect storm of arguing for argument’s sake and bringing a valid opinion to the forefront of discussion.

During IRT Network broadcasts over the past few weeks there has been recurring talk about Kane Waselenchuk and whether or not he could dominate outdoor racquetball the same way he dominates the indoor game. On one occasion the argument was even made that someone other than Kane Waselenchuk is the best “overall” racquetball player in the world.

These types of statements fall into a different category, one I like to refer to as bullshit. On the Internet they call it trolling – a slang term used to describe behavior designed to intentionally anger or frustrate others in an attempt to get an emotional response.

I’m biting on this one hook, line, and sinker – just for fun…

For self-deluded experts who continue to claim Waselenchuk wouldn’t dominate the outdoor game and those who go so far as to say he isn’t the best “overall” player in the game today, I have two words for you.

Get serious.

You don’t need to be a racquetball expert to recognize differences between the outdoor game and indoor game. You also don’t need to be a brain surgeon to recognize that Waselenchuk is by far the most skilled racquetball player in the world and arguably the best athlete in the game. But to insist that Kane wouldn’t dominate the outdoor game (if he chose to compete outdoors) is intellectually dishonest at best and ignorant at worst. And suggesting he isn’t the best overall player in the game is outright ludicrous.

Did you happen to see Waselenchuk in the U.S. Open Doubles Championship this year? He and injured partner Ben Croft dominated the championship by playing an “I” formation with Kane taking all the serves and producing nearly all of the offense. Scores of that championship match? 15-0 and 15-5.

If you think that Kane wouldn’t dominate the outdoor game, that’s fine – I’m sure racquetball fans are all ears to hear your reasons why. But you have to defend your position a little better than simply saying, “The outdoor game is different than the indoor game. We all know the games have some differences.

I would love to hear specifics... What specifically in the outdoor game is so different that it would throw off Kane’s game enough for other players to hang in there and have a chance? Because right now nobody can hang in there with Waselenchuk. Rocky Carson, the world’s number-two ranked player and the man who has won more outdoor championships than anybody in recent history, has a career 3-61 record against Waselenchuk. Yes, we know that’s indoors. But what is it about the outdoor game specifically that would bridge the gap in ability between Kane and the rest of the racquetball world?

And before you go on about the differences between indoor and outdoor racquetball, please keep in mind: it’s racquetball – not rocket science. Kane hits the ball harder and more accurately than anybody in the world. He’s got more shot-making ability than anybody in the world. And he moves as well as anybody in the game.

As I listened to those recurring arguments against Kane Waselenchuk and his ability to dominate outdoor racquetball over the past few weeks, one thought kept popping into my head. It’s a phrase that originated from the William Shakespeare play Hamlet:

            “Methinks thou dost protest too much.”

This phrase is a figure of speech used to describe how one person’s repeated attempts to convince others of something ironically convinces those same people that the opposite is true.

I’m convinced that Kane Waselenchuk would dominate the outdoor game in the same fashion he dominates the indoor game. I’m not opposed to listening to outdoor racquetball purists and their thoughts about why he wouldn’t dominate. But going out of your way to bring it up time and again looks defensive and insecure.

I put in my two cents on this topic because it is an interesting discussion. It may not be a very productive one, since Kane doesn’t play outdoor racquetball. And as long as that is true both sides will always be able to pontificate about what it would be like if he did. I would prefer to spend my time witnessing history and appreciating the opportunity to watch the greatest player of all-time take the court on any kind of surface.