By MJ Henshaw
May 8, 2008 | Just months after setting foot on the
racquetball court for the first time, Celeste Porter
found herself at a national tournament being crowned
"It's really not that big of a deal," Porter says
as her face turns a shade of red. "It's more of a fluke
than anything else."
One Saturday afternoon Porter, 22, set out to try
something new and play a game of racquetball with a
friend. She liked it so much that she went back the
next day. Soon she was finding anybody that would be
willing to play with her.
"Since the first time I played I just wanted to get
better and better. I would make my roommate come with
me all the time so we could practice and get better.
I'm pretty sure she got sick of it, but she was a good
sport," Porter said.
In racquetball you have a cube-shaped room with nothing
on the walls. According to USA Racquetball Association,
a standard racquetball court measurement is 20 feet
wide by 40 feet long and has a ceiling that is 20 feet
high. There are two lines painted on the floor that
run parallel to each other 3 to 4 feet apart.
The server stands in the middle of the lines and faces
the wall opposite the door, or the "back wall." The
opponent stands back by the wall with the door to get
ready for the serve. When the server hits the ball,
it must hit the wall first before it hits the ground.
Then the opponent must hit the ball back against the
wall before it hits the ground twice. The ball may hit
as many walls as possible, but when the ball hits the
ground twice, the other player gets a point.
Cameron Copeland, a friend of Porters, said he is
one of those lucky people who get to play with her.
"Celeste is amazing at racquetball. I can't believe
a girl could be that good," Copeland said. "I have to
admit that sometimes it sucks to get beat by a girl,
but then I remember who I'm playing; she's an All-American
and it's ok to lose to them."
Porter is originally from Farmington, Utah and is
a dual major in Human Resources and management information
systems. She has a twin brother who is in the Air Force
and is currently serving in Iraq for the second time.
She said she worries about him, but knows he's doing
the right thing.
"I hate that he is gone, but at the same time I know
it's necessary," Porter said. "He has lots of good things
to say about what is going on over there, so that is
Porter said she loves being around her family and
says one of her favorite things to do is get into prank
wars with her dad.
"I love pulling pranks on people. I wish I did it
more," Porter said. "My favorite prank I've ever done
is when my dad and I put my neighbor's house up for
sale. We took an ad out in the paper and listed it as
something really cheap. They were getting phone calls
nonstop. It was great."
Another hobby Porter likes to do is take famous pictures,
such as a picture of the Beatles, and Photoshop the
heads of her friends inside of them. She then posts
the pictures on facebook or around their houses.
Amy Dimick, a co-worker with Porter, said she loves
working with her because she never knows what she will
come up with next.
"One thing I love about Celeste is that you never
know what is going on in that brain of hers," Dimick
said. "It's always entertaining to see what she'll say
next, or what picture she'll create. She's just got
a great sense of humor."
Porter admits she does enjoy a good laugh, but not
when it comes to the racquetball court. As she got better,
Porter said she would spend a lot of time playing. Coincidentally,
she would play every day right before the racquetball
club would practice. One day she was approached by the
"I didn't know it, but the captain would get to practice
early and would watch me play," Porter said. "When he
approached me, he told me that one of the girls on the
team twisted her ankle and dropped out. They needed
someone else to go the nationals and asked me if I was
Porter said she quickly accepted the invitation and
began practicing even harder so she would be ready.
"I only played in one tournament at BYU before I went
to nationals so I was really nervous to go," Porter
The tournament was held in Kansas City, Missouri.
Porter said that 350 athletes were participating. Once
at the tournament they divide the athletes into six
divisions. The players on each team are ranked one through
six. Each player only plays participants in their division.
"I was in division six because I was the last person
to join the team," Porter said. "I am pretty sure I
was better than the ranking I got because I've beat
the number two person on the team. But I understood
that I was the last coming in, so I got the last seed."
After five rounds of play, Porter made it to the final
game against a girl from BYU. She ended up losing that
game, but said she was fine with her second place win.
"It was my first nationals and I hadn't been playing
that long so to get that far was an accomplishment,"
The top two finishers in every division were awarded
the honor of All-American, Porter said. She says she
didn't win any big prize, but she loves being able to
tell people that she is an All-American.
Porter graduated in May and said she won't be playing
next year on the team, but racquetball is something
"The best part about racquetball it that it's a sport
that old people like to play because it's about strategy
and not strength," Porter said. "That means I can play
this game for many years to come."