AKA Women Making Racquetball History Now!
We will feature another woman making racquetball history every Wednesday. Do you know someone else we should be celebrating with this interview and feature process? Drop us a line on Facebook!
Name: Vickie Onesti
Are you a pro player, coach, association board member, tournament organizer, or racquetball broadcaster AKA why do racquetball players know you?
I believe most know me as I am extremely vocal about my love and appreciation of the sport, the importance I put on healthy and fun competition and my overall passion for building solid relationships to help grow the sport.
Country of Origin: USA
Place you consider home: Chicago AND now, California! WooHoo!
Have you ever been on your country’s national team? When?:
No but follow them live or on social media with great enthusiasm and loyalty! 🙂
Did you play as a junior? When & how where you introduced to the competitive side of racquetball?
Ha! Very much NOT a as junior! In 2012 and at the tender (oh my achin’ back) age of 47 I was deep into a very chaotic and tumultuous divorce and began to work out at a local LA Fitness to de-stress. I had apparently passed the courts for months before actually noticing what people were playing and never had any prior exposure to racquetball. As my need to hit something increased, I asked a complete stranger on that wonderful day in May 2012 if I could step inside and from that very first S K I P, I knew this game was going to become a lifelong passion for me!
Playing hand: Right
Year you started playing racquetball: Actually started playing with others and in tournaments late in 2013
First female mentor or idol in racquetball:
Without a doubt, locally in Chicago, I owe a lot to Kelly “Kayleee” Gremley. She wasn’t even 25 at the time but we instantly had a sister-like connection and forever will. Nationally, it was all Rhonda Rajsich, Janel Tsinger-Ledkins and Leona Parrilla that gave me all the “WOW” and “WHAT THE???” moments in the beginning that motivated me to get on the court (they, and many others since) continue to do so.
Favorite racquetball shot:
The ones I actually make! DOH! (a strong sidewall pinch always makes me smile).
Motivation for the game (what keeps you playing):
First and foremost, the competition and the continual mental and physical development that naturally takes place each and every time I step on a court. The challenge is real and my expectations of myself are pretty high however, a very close second are the amazing friends from all over the world that I have made. Racquetball players feel like family favorites to me – the relationships are personal and pure and simple and I am grateful for all I have come to know.
How has racquetball changed your life:
I owe so much to the sport! In addition to the lifelong friendships I have acquired all over the world racquetball has, at the worst period of my life, brought me inner peace, happiness, confidence, health AND forgiveness but most importantly, racquetball has ultimately, brought me my GREATEST and TRUEST LOVE.
When I wasn’t looking and seemingly out of nowhere, there he was, playing in the Las Vegas WOR Tourney in Sept 2015. It was there that I randomly met the SUPERMAN of my dreams and in the 3 years of long-distance dating, not one day has gone by that we didn’t communicate or touch each other’s hearts in some meaningful way. Despite the 2,000+ miles between us, this dream, became my reality. I never, in a million years, thought I would leave Chicago, my family, my friends and the life I worked so hard to build and rebuild for over 53 years but here we are, in California, presently living our dream life, finally together.
Fairy tales do some true! GO FIND SOMETHING YOU LOVE AND SOMEONE YOU LOVE, MAY FIND YOU!
Sponsored by HEAD for the majority of my time. Great equipment, supportive sponsor and amazing mentors!
Favorite events: I truly enjoy all the events at Glass Court in Lombard, IL (and sponsor Turkey Shootout regularly). Also, the Women’s Senior Nationals, forever the WOR Tourney in Las Vegas for obvious reasons above and of course, the US Open.
Best results at tournaments you’ve played in:
I feel I am maturing at each event I participate in even if it is in the slightest way and that truly, is my goal. My attitude has always been open and positive and have made it a habit to model the players, study their games and talk with all athletes and wonderful coaches to help improve my thought process, approach, training and overall game strategies.
I own a CPR AED & Emergency First Aid training and certification company and travel around the country to empower all with the skills and confidence to potentially save a life! I opened the company after my father died of heart disease in 2012 without any knowledge of cardiac arrest or AED machines and knew I had to take an aggressive position on spreading the word. In additional to thousands in corporations, schools and universities, I have trained and certified many of my friends in the racquetball community and will continue to be a strong force and advocate to make this vital life skills training available for all. Recognizing cardiac arrest is half the battle, immediately knowing the steps to take is vital and clear communication of these steps, has become my life’s mission.
Charity close to your heart:
(Funny you should use that “heart” word!) Feed My Starving Children is typically where my time and money goes.
Other sports played in addition to racquetball: Just started playing pickle ball and really like it as well.
What can we do to activate more female players?
Keep encouraging young girls and women to play starting at a young age. Bring programs back to schools, universities and communities as a team option.
I think each of us individually could get more involved with those we meet in our own lives to talk about the sport and take an active role in encouraging anyone to just try it. If we each take more of a leadership role in our own schools and communities as players and “be the example”, it can positively promote the sport. I believe the game sells itself. I think the biggest hurdle is to encourage that person to take that first step on to the court and find out for themselves how wonderful and satisfying this game really is. Be their support, be their motivator, be there to encourage them.
What is your hope for the future of racquetball?
That those in decision-making positions to remain strong, focused and always work for the benefit of the sport first. That our teams of professional players remain healthy and passionate and to continue to compete with the level of love and devotion as they always have.
How do you feel is the best way to help grow the sport of racquetball?
Individually, within our own circles and communities, speaking about the sport and encouraging others to try it on all levels. Continue with focused efforts on making broadcast tournaments easily available and any/all use of social media to inform and promote.
If you could bring one thing back from racquetball past – what would it be and why?
The outfits, knee socks and the hairdos! Whoa! 🙂
Do you know someone else we should be celebrating with this interview and feature process? Drop us a line on Facebook!