I used to live in a van bought with winnings at the first professional racquetball tournaments in ’73. I customized the interior with cushions, book shelves, and shag carpeting to create the first CA racquetball van. it was a ’74 blue Chevy van dubbed the Blue Lemon that hauled many players to far flung tournaments when we were pocketing sponsor minimal expense money and pooling for rides, and jamming everyone into one fleabag hotel room. We were like hobos telling tall feats and psyching each other before the big matches.
After I purchased my van, the other players in the Leach stable followed suite, as they had done with bicycles and Dobermans. We were professional lookalikes because the bikes were strapped to the back, Dobermans sat in the passenger seats, and the players sported Keeley afros, only theirs were as bleached as a copy backhand.
I drove the Blue Lemon around the country, sleeping in it at tournaments and clinics, sometimes in sub-freezing weather in double jockstraps to keep what needed to stay warm. Once at a Lansing, MI tournament I forgot to take one off before the match, and nearly lost for lack of breath. Fillmore Hare, a 7′ stuffed rabbit rode shotgun on the road, insisting on leaving the Doberman in the back on the bed, and would wave down interesting characters or attractive chicks to accompany this traveling sports menagerie.
After ten years of good service the van died a mercifully quick death seizing up at 55mph only an hour walk to civilization. There would never be another, and I became a bicycle rider.