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Vandenberg Airman wins gold medal at U.S. National Racquetball tournament

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Tech. Sergeant Reid Percivalle gets in some practice time at the racquetball court here recenlty. Sergeant Percivalle won the U.S. National Racquetball championship men’s military 30+ division on May 21 through 26, in Houston, Texas. Sergeant Percivalle used 25 years of racquetball experience to win first place over 16 other military individuals. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jonathan Olds)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Tech. Sergeant Reid Percivalle gets in some practice time at the racquetball court here recenlty. Sergeant Percivalle won the U.S. National Racquetball championship men’s military 30+ division on May 21 through 26, in Houston, Texas. Sergeant Percivalle used 25 years of racquetball experience to win first place over 16 other military individuals. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jonathan Olds)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Tech. Sergeant Reid Percivalle gets in some practice time at the racquetball court here recenlty. Sergeant Percivalle won the U.S. National Racquetball championship men’s military 30+ division on May 21 through 26, in Houston, Texas. Sergeant Percivalle used 25 years of racquetball experience to win first place over 16 other military individuals. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jonathan Olds)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Tech. Sergeant Reid Percivalle gets in some practice time at the racquetball court here recenlty. Sergeant Percivalle won the U.S. National Racquetball championship men’s military 30+ division on May 21 through 26, in Houston, Texas. Sergeant Percivalle used 25 years of racquetball experience to win first place over 16 other military individuals. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jonathan Olds)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --  Tech. Sergeant Reid Percivalle stands with his racqetball racket inside a racqetball court here recenlty. Sergeant Percivalle won the U.S. National Racquetball championship men’s military 30+ division on May 21 through 26, in Houston, Texas. Sergeant Percivalle used 25 years of racquetball experience to win first place over 16 other military individuals. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jonathan Olds)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Tech. Sergeant Reid Percivalle stands with his racqetball racket inside a racqetball court here recenlty. Sergeant Percivalle won the U.S. National Racquetball championship men’s military 30+ division on May 21 through 26, in Houston, Texas. Sergeant Percivalle used 25 years of racquetball experience to win first place over 16 other military individuals. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jonathan Olds)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Who would have thought that forced family bonding time at the racquetball courts in the 1980's would spawn a life-long love of the game and eventually a gold medal. 

It defiantly wasn't what Tech. Sgt. Ried Percivalle, 614th Air and Space Operations Center standardizations and evaluations non-commissioned officer, anticipated would come from 25 years of family togetherness spent smacking around a hollow rubber ball. 

On May 21 through 26, Sergeant Percivalle used that 25 years of racquetball experience to win the men's military 30+ division of the U.S. National Racquetball championship in Houston, Texas. 

"My mom and dad played three to four times a week so, I started playing when I was four-years-old because they did and it was something we could do together," Sergeant Percivalle said. "I never imagined through a family past-time, I would eventually end up winning a national level racquetball tournament." 

Over six days, Sergeant Percivalle beat over 15 men over 30 years old from all over the Department of Defense which won him a gold medal and his name in the national record book. 

"I entered my first tournament when I was six years old," Sergeant Percivalle said. "Over the years, I have probably played in over 200 tournaments and my win/loss ratio is 50/50."
The excitement of playing and individual sport against other experienced players is what keeps Sergeant Percivalle constantly entering the sometimes pricey racquetball tournaments. 

"The entry fee alone for this U.S. National Racquetball tournament was 100 dollars," the gold medalist said. "I would have never been able to go as far as I did this year without the help of the United States Air Force." 

The Air Force sports program accepted the resume of Sergeant Percivalle and 15 other AF Members and granted them funding for the entry fee and hotel cost. 

The AF apparently endorsed the right individual after over a week of playing the high intensity sport Sergeant Percivalle clenched the gold medal in his division. 

"I love racquetball and I keep playing for the competition and because it's an individual sport," Sergeant Percivalle said. "I like the fact that if you mess up, you have no one to blame but yourself. Also, if you win, the glory belongs only to you." 

Sergeant Percivalle has kept his family's tradition of playing racquetball as a family bonding experience. 

"I have two young sons who also play racquetball with me," Sergeant Percivalle said. "My seven year-old entered his first tournament when he was five years-old." 

Sergeant Percivalle not only extends his positive pastime to his family but also has been an exemplary Airman contributing to Vandenberg's 100 percent mission success and has taken that exuberance and dedication to the U.S. National Racquetball tournament to win first place. 

"I am used to putting my all into my job which makes playing to my fullest potential rote when I'm in a racquetball tournament," he said. 

This was Sergeant Percivalle fourth time at the U.S. National Racquetball tournament and he plans on entering the again next year.