BY LOGAN MCCOURTNEY –
Local racquetball player, Jack Schoeppy, won the National Masters Racquetball Tournament in Arlington. Jack competed in singles in the 80-84 age division where he was crowned the National Champion. Jack also finished 5th in Doubles while competing with the number three senior player in the world.
Jack has been playing racquet ball since 1964, before it was even racquetball in fact. Jack was actually teaching at a church conference in Wisconsin when a couple of men attending invited him to come play. “They invited me to play paddleball, racquetball hadn’t started yet. I went and played and then I was hooked. It was during that time that they started stringing the racquets, so I have been playing since before it started.” Jack continued to grow in his love for the fun game and he was playing in tournaments all over. When Jack was in his 50’s he began to play in the Senior Olympics, an event that has literally taken him all over the United States. “I have competed in Orlando, Houston, the US Open in Memphis, Albuquerque, and many other wonderful places.”
The tournaments that Jack and many others compete in can be quite grueling. At major tournaments like the one in Albuquerque competitors will play three to four matches a day Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. During the tournament play the points are tallied up, and the top eight competitors play for the gold on the weekend. “I am so passionate about playing, it is so much fun. Most of the tournaments take place on the weekend and the only thing that kept me from going all out was that I was worship the Lord on Sundays and so I don’t play hardly on Sundays.” To stay in shape and to sharpen his skills, Jack plays racquetball Tuesdays and Fridays at 6:30 with a couple of local players. “I would love for there to be more that played, it is so wonderful. I have friends in Hot Springs that meet everyday at 3pm and play for a couple of hours.”
Jack hopes to continue playing as long as he is able. He has a passion not only for playing the game, but teaching it as well. “I enjoy helping people. Give me 15 minutes and I can teach you to double your ability. My advice is that no matter what sport you play or what level you are at, never stop, just keep playing it and enjoying it.”