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The Pro’s Perspective – Vol. 1

September 28th, 2010 by Ben

Racquetball Warehouse Sponsors 4 players on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) and 1 player on the Women’s Professional Racquetball Tour (WPRO). In this series we let you into a glimpse of their lives, impressions, challenges and victories throughout their careers as professional athletes. Our sponsored players are:

Rocky Carson – IRT #2 –
Ben Croft – IRT #3 –
Chris Crowther – IRT #5 –
Jose Rojas – IRT #10 –
Rhonda Rajsich – WPRO #2 – WPRO Pro Player Gallery coming soon..

The IRT Season started with a Tier 1 event on September 9 in Kansas City, followed immediately after by the first Grand Slam event of the season in Cali, Colombia September 15-19. Let’s hear what a few of our players have to say about the season kick-off:

Rocky Carson
Getting ready for KC I was really excited to get the season started. After getting there, the weekend was really a great time. As for my play, I played solid getting to the finals. But as for my body, I really felt beat up going into the semis. Fortunately, I got through but could not quite pull out a victory in the finals. The parties and the venue were really enjoyable and made for a great way to start the season. It was also nice to see the back to broadcasting us pros and hearing all the RB fans thoughts on the weekend from what they saw from the network.

Cali, Columbia was one of the greatest experiences for myself as a player on the IRT and also for the IRT in itself. Having our first grand slam of the year this early in the season can put a lot of pressure on us to be ready for the beginning of the season. As far as my play, I didn’t have a great tourney and lost in the quarters. Even though I was quite disappointed in my play and results for the weekend, I got to still witness Chris Chrowther’s epic comeback facing 6 match points in the semis, to making it to his first finals of his career. To see him make it to his first final, and know how much it meant to him was not only emotional for him but for myself as well, being that I have known him about as long as I can remember and how much this would mean to his dad (Jack). It was also just a great reminder to me on how fortunate I have been to have the success I have had in my career. The venue was so cool, being that the courts were outside and just covered with a roof, I loved it. The only problem was I got eaten alive by mosquitoes. I also spent some time doing some color commentary with the It is really enjoyable seeing John Scott and Pablo from the make the IRT possible for everyone to enjoy.

Ben Croft
Ghost of Georgetown: Wow! That’s the easiest way to describe the experience at the Ghost of Georgetown Pro-Am this past weekend. Very rarely do you feel the vibe of a Grand Slam at a Tier 1, but Mike and Deb Wedel accomplished that task! As a player, it means a lot to play in front of a packed house of screaming fans appreciating the effort and hard work we put into the game we love! A great group of the KC racquetball community, second to none hospitality, fantastic club and surrounding area, and perfectly run tournament certainly kicked off the 2010-11 IRT Season with a BANG! A special thanks goes out to Bart Miller and his company Novasors for their generosity. Thanks for getting the entire racquetball community excited for the season!

Cali, Colombia: Whenever we leave the country to play in a tournament, it’s hard to know what to expect. But I tell you what, the Cali, Colombia Grand Slam event was an incredible event! Rarely do we get to experience other cultures in Racquetball, so when we have the privilege to step outside our country (or Continent!) we really look forward to the opportunity. Battling the outdoor elements adds a new angle to the game that tour players rarely have to experience. But it was fun to see how people reacted to playing in 90 degree weather! I called it indooroutdoor, or outdoorindoor Racquetball. Yes, that’s one word! J A great hotel, very kind and appreciative people, one of a kind club, and an amazing staff of tournament hosts really brought the FIRST International Grand Slam together and created an event not to be forgotten!

Chris Crowther
The KC Pro Stop was an eventful tournament. Although I did not do as well as I would have liked the tournament was a huge success. The galleries were completely full (first time), entries were maxed out and it seems as though everyone had a good time including the sponsors. The junior / adult clinic was also a huge success with nearly 50 participants. Overall a great start to the season.

Cali was quite an experience. Having an International Grand Slam was pretty special in itself nonetheless making my first semi and final in a grand slam. I felt I played pretty well and may have dodged a bullet with Mitch in the semis. Kane was tough as usual and kept the pressure on. Hopefully this will give me momentum throughout the season. Want to say thanks to Gutty (Juan Manuel Gutierrez) for all his hard work and effort in bringing a Grand Slam to Latin America. We hope to be back next year and years to come…

Jose Rojas
Kansas City: The trip was easy, especially compared to Colombia. The venue was amazing with large bleachers for viewing. The whole weekend there were lots of fans watching the matches from the qualifiers. Racquetball seems to be big there and is an incredible feeling. There’s not many places in the U.S. that are like that. I felt like I played really well, but could have played Kane a lot tougher especially in the third game if it were not for my ankle injury. It was a scary moment but I managed to take care of my ankle and will bounce back. An amazing tournament with awesome screaming fans.

Cali, Colombia: It was a very long trip but pretty easy compared to most of the other players because I only had one lay over. The venue was very nice and
unique in its own way. It had a very South American tropical feel to it. The courts however were very hot and humid and fast on top of that. Thoughts on my performance – probably one of my worst showings. I had no practice at all until I played Andy Hawthorne in the first round due to my ankle injury the week before in Kansas, which made me feel very unprepared. As for the rule changes, I have been practicing all summer so I was already used to it. All in all it was a fun trip to get to hang out with the irt network guys and the pros, as well as the locals from Colombia.

Make sure to keep up with the Racquetball Warehouse Blog as we will have regular posts from our players throughout the season.
Next Up is Tier 1 event – San Diego Racquet House IRT Pro/Am – September 30 – October 3
followed by the biggest event of the season:
Grand Slam – US Open – Minneapolis, MN – October 20-24

Posted in The Pro's Perspective | 184 Comments »

184 Responses

  1. Jeff Miller Says:

    I applaud having your sponsored players provide their personal perspectives of what it’s like being a touring IRT pro. The more I know about these men (and Rhonda!) the more interested I am in them and the sport.

    I also want to applaud John Scott and Pablo for the yeomen work of broadcasting the matches LIVE. The rocks.

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