Chris Ebel has been playing racquetball for 6 years. It all started through a friend who grew up playing the sport. And in 2018, Chris played in the World Racquetball Tour Canadian Open Held in Calgary, Alberta. Last year, he also secured 3rd place in the Provincials. It is one of his proudest accomplishments.
And he hasn’t stopped there.
Most recently, he participated in the Albert Racquetball Association Provincial Tournament. He finished 5th in singles and 3rd in doubles. Further, Chris is off to nationals in Langley, BC from May 19th through to 25th. After a brief rest, he’s hitting the court for more training and more match preparation. Chris adds, “I also have in the back of my head a thought of maybe entering the 2019 US Open in Minneapolis this coming September. Close to 800 players from all over competing. The experience alone would be amazing.”
He attributes his motivation and drives to simply sport and competition. “From a young age I was encouraged to play anything I wanted,” Chris says. He grew up as a downhill ski racer. He also played baseball, soccer, basketball, football, track, and volleyball. Chris says ski racing, in particular, was a huge part of his life and where most of his time was spent growing up.
And Chris’s current claim to fame in the realm of sports and athletics isn’t the only thing he’s good at or athletically inclined toward. He proudly states, “I’ve skied pretty much every hill on the continent.” He’s further trained and played volleyball in Cuba, is currently playing volleyball with the Edmonton Volleyball Association, has coached the Special Olympics, and was a ski instructor for many years teaching 2-4 year-old beginners.
Chris also shares his insight into pre-competition preparation, “For pre, it’s just ensuring the week leading in I’m getting a mix of the rest I need along with any practice. As well, ensuring my diet is a focus (and) on having the most energy at the right times.”
And his biggest inspiration growing up? “Michael Jordan. He had a relentless drive to compete on the court and in life.” Chris says he takes these admirable attributes and focuses on his own athletics and career.
With sports as a big part of Chris’s life and childhood, he’s also met his fair share of challenges. He’s had basic tweaks and twists to broken ankles, wrists, fingers, and toes. Although, he adds, “I have been very fortunate to not have any serious injuries.”
In racquetball, his biggest challenge is muscle fatigue. And he’s constantly finding a challenge on the next level up. As he advances his skill set, he says it always starts with the physical requirement of playing faster, hitting harder, and playing better than your opponent. Then, it comes down to a mental challenge. Chris says, “The best quote I’ve seen about competitive racquetball is ‘It’s chess played at 100 m/hr.’ Holding that focus through a game that is so physically demanding takes practice and repetition.”
As for the future, Chris says he is focused on getting into the top 100 ranked nationally for racquetball. He currently sits at position 180. He elaborates further, “From there, it’s just getting out to new experiences. Try new things. Continue to stay athletic. At my age, there aren’t ambitions of world championships and fame but so long as I can continue to progress and grow with anything I do I consider it a success.”
As for individuals out there who want to get into racquetball or any other sport for that matter, Chris leaves you with this: “Just get out and play. Be active. Everyone has been a beginner so don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. There is a sport for everyone.”