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5 Questions for Counte Cooley

POSTED: June 18, 2012 12:30 a.m.

Counte Cooley is a successful businessman who is active in a number of community organizations. But he recently made news for winning a national championship in competitive racquetball. Today, The Times asks Cooley five questions about his sport and his championship.

1. You recently competed for and won the national championship in racquetball at a tournament in Fullerton, Calif. What was the best part of that experience?

The most rewarding would be the last championship game where I actually won the championship. But the most stressful part was during the first match of the first day, when I was having to play the No. 1 seed (because my ranking was last seed).

I had already won the first of three games, but I found myself behind 10-1 in the second game. All I can remember is being so totally focused and trying to overcome being behind, that I hardly remember ending the game.
Somehow, I came back from that huge deficit to win the game. That was the most personally rewarding thing I’ve done in the last decade — other than winning the national championship.

2. When did you start playing racquetball and how did you get involved in competitive racquetball?

I began playing racquetball in 1998 at the Chattahoochee Country Club as recreation and a way to burn some calories. I played recreationally and in a non-competitive way until 2009.

Several of the people that I played with began to talk a little bit about the competition side of the game. I wasn’t aware there was organized competition. I started looking into it and went to my first Georgia championship game in 2009. I placed in the top 3. The next year, I won 1st place in the 60-plus division. The third year, I went to the southeast tournament and placed third. This year, I placed first at the southeast tournament. My wife and I decided to travel to nationals to see if we could continue to win.

3. What do you like best about the sport?

1. The camaraderie of all the players. 2. The competitive nature of the game. 3. I really enjoy getting so absorbed in the competition and the action of the game that I have no idea that we’ve already exercised over three hours and sweated through three T-shirts and I feel like we’ve only been playing about 30 minutes.

That’s probably the biggest reward because my doctors insist I do that type of exercise to make my eight heart stints work better!

4. What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about taking up racquetball?

The advice I would give is the same that I received myself. That is to come and watch a few games. You need to watch other people play that know the rules. There are always people at the courts that will be glad to help and answer any questions. After watching three or four sessions of play, begin to do what the golf pros suggest you do if you want to learn how to play golf and that is to go to the practice range.

Fortunately our practice range in racquetball is the courts. You can always book a court at First Baptist Church, there are a couple of courts at Chattahoochee Country Club and there are five courts at LA Fitness (in Buford).

5. You are actively involved in a number of community organizations. Which organization are you most proud of and why?

I’m proud of them all. I’m most proud of being a member of First Baptist Church. My spiritual life is very important to me and I reap spiritual rewards from that church on a daily basis.

The second organization outside of my company, would be the Kiwanis Club of Gainesville. Their mission is to help children in different areas of life. I love the aspect of benefiting children as much as I can.

The recent appointment by Nathan Deal for me to serve on the Low Voltage Board for the next four years was a great honor.

To be asked to serve on Riverside Military Academy’s Board was another highlight!

My wife, Jackie, and I helped to form and we serve on the boards of two organizations — For Her Glory and Glory, Hope & Life. Both organizations help cancer patients. I find this very rewarding and I’m proud to be a part of every one of them.

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