NCO Takes the Gold

GOWEN FIELD, Boise, Idaho -- An A-10 Maintenance Scheduler for the Idaho Air National Guard placed first in the Men's Military Singles over 40 division and placed in two others divisions at the National Racquetball Singles Championship in Houston Texas May 20-25. 

After 32 years of playing recreational and competitive racquetball Master Sgt. Fred Rogers, 124th Maintenance Operations Flight, was selected to compete among 506 of the country's best military and civilian racquetball players. 

"I enjoy the speed of the game, year round sport and the camaraderie," said Rogers. 

His exceptional performance at the competition also brought him a bronze 3rd place medal in Men's Military Singles and 5th place overall in men's. The Air Force team was made up of 16 members that were selected based on their resume and accomplishments. Rogers was the only competitor on his team selected from the National Guard. 

He explained how the racquetball has helped him better perform his military duties. "It allows me to stay focused especially with the demand of multi-tasking and reduces stress with an avenue to vent. Playing and competing on a regular basis also prepares me physically for my annual fitness requirements." 

Rogers has competed in a variety of military and civilian competitions during his 17 years of service in the National Guard and his prior 14 years of active duty. In 2008 he was recognized as the top candidate for the Air Force team for nationals but was unable to attend due to unit tempo. He did go on to take the gold that year in Men's over 45 and fifth in the men's open at the National Military Championships in Sand Diego. His civilian accomplishments include four regional titles and over 20 state singles titles just to name a few. 

As a certified American Professional Racquetball Organization instructor he teaches at Boise State University as well as junior clinics and worked with players of all ages, from 5 to 85. Currently he is training with his 13-year-old daughter. He encourages people to do it for fun; it's a great way to burn off calories. There are many local and national opportunities for those who like to play competitively. 

"It's a sport you can play year round. The most important thing is to be safe," he said. 

As the season is winding down Rogers plans to take the summer off from competing and continue to instruct and play recreationally.