Tim Storey has a reputation to live up to. Eric's. And it's not easy . . . National champ in singles AND doubles in racquetball. A solid player with no visible weakness. A player many seniors would sooner meet off the court. Dark, young and handsome.
Not even considering the reoccuring introduction at tournaments, " . . . and this is Eric's father, Tim."The Storeys are, in fact, a father/son or son/father team, whichever, from Provo, and by U.S. National Doubles Championships standards, a very good one. The twosome moved into the semifinals of the A division on Friday.
Not an easy job anytime, but especially significant when taken into account that Eric is a teen-ager by only one year. At 13, he's at least a dozen years away from reaching the average age of most of the players he's competing against.
An obvious benefit, notes the senior Storey, for the first two minutes of a match.
"They see Eric and think they've got an easy touch . . . until he hits a couple of shots. Then they realize they've made a mistake and start picking on me," he said with an obviously proud father's smile.
Eric started playing racquetball when he was 5. By the time he was 9 it was obvious to dad that there was something to his forehand.
"We entered him in a few novice tournaments and not only was he able to hit with a lot of adult players, but was beating some.
We moved him into junior tournaments to take away some of the intimidation. That's when he really started to develop," the senior Storey recalled.
Developed to where he was the ruling national 10 singles and doubles champ, and is now the reigning national 12 singles and doubles champion.
Friday, the Storeys beat Sarge Kane and Art Stoker of Boise, Idaho, 15-8, 10-15, 11-2.
And they beat them, said Eric, on good, solid teamwork. Father/son togetherness. Companionships, he added, with maybe some occasional son to father advice . . . "Like I'll say, `Why did you miss that shot, or something like that," admitted Eric half smiling. "Then it's back to our game."
"Yea, he will," said father with a knowing nod.
But as teams go, Tim would have none other than Eric on his right - for now.
"I know I've only got one or two more years before he'll be in a class above me. These are the times we'll share together. I wouldn't miss this for anything. Anything," he added.
And they do play well together, as many of the country's top A class players have found out. They likely took the little guy too lightly, and then found out that the big guy wasn't so bad himself.
The tournament, being sponsored by Cannon Industries and Ken Garff Motors, brought together 600 of the top racquetball players in the country for competition in 34 division.
In the top division, the open, just one above the A, things went as expected. Seeded teams won - some easily and some not so easily.
The No. 1 seeded team in the women's open, for example, hardly got warmed up. Malia Bailey, from Norfolk, Va., and Toni Bevelock, from Santa Ana, Calif., beat Terry Latham, from Albuquerque, N.M., and Linda Porter, from Elgin, Ill., 15-4 and 15-1.
It was, admitted Bevelock, the kind of match the top team likes to open against . . . "Good, but off just a little. We were on. We played well. Considering we haven't played together since last year, I'm pleased."
For the No. 2 men's team of Brian Hawkes, from Santa Ana, Calif., and Egan Inoue, from Honolulu, Hawaii, the match didn't go that smoothly in the middle. They won the first game and the tie breaker handily, but slipped in the middle - the second game.
According to Inoue, the two haven't played as a team before and in the second game tried some silent signals.
"And they didn't work. We tried to see what would happen if I just hit a shot and he moved to a spot. We had to go back to our regular game in the tie breaker," he admitted.
The two beat Joe Cline, from Warren, N.J., and Ron Digiacomo, from Manorville, N.Y., 15-1, 11-15, 11-1.
The seminfals will be played today starting at 2 p.m.
There will be no charge for the semifinals today, but there will be a fee for the finals on Sunday at 11:30 a.m.