A year after major shoulder surgery and six months after surgery to remove his colon, Tom Griffith has returned to the racquetball court to train for a series of championships that will pit him against some of the best amateur athletes in the sport.
Griffith, director of talent acquisition at Brookfield-based Superior Support Resources, Inc., has been playing racquetball on and off since his dad introduced the game during his childhood.
He began competing as an amateur racquetball player during his senior year of college and has since challenged opponents in at least seven national championships.
“I think (racquetball) fits me well,” said Griffith, who also teaches and referees the sport. “I think it fits my personality. I’m fiery. I’m really fiery. I’m very energetic. I’m very focused. And I’m in really good shape. For a guy my age, I’m in really good shape.”
At his last national championship in 2011, he captured the top spot in the Men’s Singles 50+ A Division, in which he played against men age 50 and older who are proficient in the sport.
During this year’s championship, which the USA Racquetball Association will host in May in Fullerton, Calif., Griffith will compete against men age 50 and older in the Open Division, reserved for elite racquetball players. To qualify for that tournament, he will first have to take part in a regional round of championships, to be held in April in Chicago.
Even without having gained back all 50 of the pounds he lost in the past year, on top of the muscle mass he lost, Griffith is determined to perform his absolute best at the championships ahead.
“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done physically – to come back from this,” he said.