Neither heart attacks nor military promotions enough to slow Mr. Handball

2012-04-25T22:00:00Z Neither heart attacks nor military promotions enough to slow Mr. HandballBy Patrick Finley, Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 25, 2012 10:00 pm  • 

As an Air Force colonel, Charlie Wicker was asked if he wanted to move across the country, to Oklahoma. Do a good job for two years, he was told, and there might be a promotion awaiting.

How does “General” sound?

He said no.

“There was no handball in Altus, Okla.,” he said.

So Wicker retired from the Air Force, and in 1986 moved from New Mexico to Tucson, where he and wife Joan had a place.

He picked a job — a seventh-grade teacher at Vail Middle School — that allowed him to retreat to a handball court every day at 4 p.m. He started attending the Tucson Racquet & Fitness Club every day for at least two-and-a-half hours.

He goes there on Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day and even Christmas, during the lull between opening presents and dinner.

“My life is handball — everything rotates around handball,” he said. “If they were giving out gold at 11 a.m., I couldn’t go, because I have a handball game.”

In a town famous for the sport — its Hall of Fame is at Grant Road and Tucson Boulevard — the 78-year-old is “Mr. Handball.”

Read more about Wicker in Thursday's Arizona Daily Star.

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