Forward Motion

By Peter Perl
Sunday, September 15, 2002

The hard rubber ball smacks off the front wall, and, just as it hits the polished wood floor, Daniel Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins, is all over it. He smashes it hard and low into the right corner, so I have no chance. Now it's Snyder's serve: He wins the first point, then the second. I haven't played racquetball in years; Snyder plays, quite competitively, at least three times a week. Very quickly, Dan Snyder is getting bored.

"I'll spot you 11 and we play to 15," he says.

"No way," I say.

"I'm spotting you 11. You got 11, I got 2; 11 to 2, and I'll still beat you."

We'd been talking about playing racquetball since I'd first met him six weeks earlier in his office at Redskins Park to propose writing an article about him. He'd had decidedly mixed feelings. "You're gonna trash me. The media always trashes me," he'd said, eyeing me skeptically over the rims of his eyeglasses as he sat, swigging a bottle of water, his shiny black shoes propped on his large, handsome rosewood desk. He seemed convinced this story would be like others that he said have portrayed him as brash, arrogant, aggressive, greedy, meddlesome. I assured him that trashing him was not my intent.

"You smoke cigars?" he said, abruptly veering the conversation.

"Uh, once in a while."

"You drink beer?"


"You play racquetball?"

"No, not really. . ."

"Good, I can beat you," he said, smiling. "We'll play for money."

CONTINUED     1                 >

© 2002 The Washington Post Company