Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Happy 30th Birthday Rhonda Rajsich!

What a year it's been for you! Finishing as the Women's Professional Racquetball Organization's (WPRO's) #1 player for the third season in a row and qualifying for the USA World Championship team only to have that thrown into doubt when you were assaulted near your home in California.

Then you made a remarkable recovery to play in the World Outdoor Championships only a few weeks after being in hospital. That appearance convinced US coach Dave Ellis to keep you on the team for the Worlds in Ireland, where you win your first women's singles World Championship.

Yes, quite a year.

Furthermore, you start the 2008-09 WPRO season with two wins in two tournaments to make it six victories in the last six WPRO events going back to last season. In all, you've won sixteen* women's pro tournaments in your career, and later this month you'll have a chance to defend your US Open championship and win that title for a third time, which would tie you for the most US Open titles by a women.

You burst onto the scene in the 2000-01 season coming from nowhere to finish 3rd in the rankings at season's end, winning the Portland event and coming second at the 2000 US Open along the way. Since then you have been in the top 4 women players, including finishing #1 the last three seasons in a row.

Internationally, you've played on Team USA six times always playing singles, but twice playing both singles and doubles. Your first time on the team was in 2002 at the Pan American Championships when you played singles as well as doubles with Kim Russell. Your most recent appearance, of course, was at the World Championships in August.

All of these accomplishments, yet what people like to say about you is how you were a fine college basketball player and could have played in the WNBA. But that's what might have been, and you're 30 now. Can't we talk about what you have done?

That is, shouldn't we be talking about you as one of the best women racquetball players ever, because that's the kind of record you've built.

And at only 30, you should be able to continue to building that record for many years to come.

Follow the bouncing ball....

* Note: tournament data incomplete for 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons.

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