TAVERNIER -- More than a decade ago, local attorney Nick Mulick was part of a small group that used and maintained a lone indoor racquetball court in the Upper Keys.
"It was probably the highlight of our week," Mulick said of their competitive Tuesday and Thursday doubles matches.
But eventually maintenance of that final court, one of two that had been operated by a gym in the Tavernier Commercial Center at Mile Marker 91.7, became too pricey for the group. So, they let the court go, believing it would be converted into storage.
Now, that court has been brought back to life courtesy of Melissa and Jon Edmiston, owners of the new I Am CrossFit Upper Keys gym. The gym and court sit next to each other in what is otherwise a large warehouse building directly across Hood Avenue from the Florida Keys Electric Cooperative building.
The couple recently spent $2,000 refurbishing the court. Jon Edmiston says it's the only racquetball court in the Florida Keys.
"That court has been here since the 1980s, so a lot of people have known about and played on it," he said, adding that he hopes to eventually run racquetball tournaments.
But that's looking ahead. The court was only reopened two weeks ago, and as of last Wednesday, no one had used it, the couple said. Court time can be booked online at keysracquetball.com.
One hour of play costs $20 per person. Bulk packages can be purchased that will bring the price down to $12.50 per person per hour.
Despite his years of hiatus, Mulick said he's never lost his hankering for racquetball.
"If I still have the stamina and the flexibility, I would love to play," he said.
For those who aren't interested in indoor racquet and ball games, the main thrust of the Edmistons' new venture is the trendy CrossFit program, which opened Sept. 14. It's the sixth outlet for the I Am CrossFit brand -- the others are in the Miami area -- and the second Crossfit gym to open in the last two months in the Upper Keys. The CrossFit program makes use of old-school weight training equipment, employs a broad assortment of full-body workout routines, and emphasizes exercises that involve functional movement.
It can be intense, but it's also for people of all ages, sizes and conditioning levels, according to Melissa Edmiston.
"The beauty of CrossFit is it's infinitely scalable and infinitely modifiable," she said.
Located in what is essentially a 3,000-square-foot warehouse, I Am CrossFit is decidedly low tech. There are several rowing machines on one wall. The remainder of the equipment, however, includes such items as medicine balls, barbells, pullup bars and gymnastic rings.
"We don't use machines, we make them," quipped Jon about the benefits of longtime CrossFit training.
Participants sign up for a minimum of one month and classes are offered multiple times each day, except for Sunday. Free trial classes are available Saturdays at 9 a.m., as well as Wednesday at 9 a.m.
No two classes are ever the same, said Melissa, who has been a CrossFit trainer for two years. Last Wednesday's workout of the day, for example, featured a warm-up followed by a 14-minute series in which participants alternately did freeweight lifting, step exercises, more weight lifting and then jumped rope. The workout ended with a cool-down.
Membership prices for I Am CrossFit vary depending on several factors, the Edmistons said. For information, call 305-330-1732.