Jack Nicklaus is renowned for winning six Masters titles. The same goes for Roger Federer and his eight Wimbledon championships and Tom Brady and the five Super Bowl rings he has earned with the New England Patriots.
All great accomplishments, no doubt.
But none of those all-time greats can compare with Kane Waselenchuk.
Who, you ask?
Waselenchuk, a 36-year-old Canadian who now lives in Texas, won his 14th U.S. Open Racquetball Championship men’s singles title Oct. 7 in Minneapolis.
His sport: racquetball.
Alert readers may recall that racquetball just happens to be this writer’s No. 1 hobby for about as long as Waselenchuk has been alive, which may make me biased. But it also means I know how hard it is to win and thus find it almost unfathomable that Waselenchuk has won the sport’s biggest tournament for 14 of the past 16 years and the past 11 in a row. His record in pro tournaments over the past 10 years is 388-12, or a .970 winning percentage.
The man is a killshot machine who hits the ball nearly 200 mph with precision accuracy.
As the U.S. Open program said, “There’s a strong case to be made that he is one of professional sport’s most gifted athletes.”
While there weren’t any age-group titles this time for my longtime doubles partner, Kent Vandehaar of Chippewa Falls, and me, we were glad to still be able to compete in an international tournament with 800 athletes from 15 countries and, of course, to get a chance to watch the greatest player in our sport’s history.