GRATITUDE...BELONGING...INSPIRATION Our “Third Place” Revised Racquetball Edition
by USA Racquetball
When club leaders support organized court programming, they also seize the opportunity to use their courts as a competitive advantage in creating a “third place” culture* at their club, i.e., a place beyond home and work that feels like Cheers (where everybody knows your name!).
* Celebrating the Third Place - Inspiring Stories about the “Great Good Places” at the Heart of Our Communities, by Ray Oldenburg
This article seeks to remind club owners and managers how grateful we are that you make racquetball possible. Lives are enhanced at your club every day, year after year.
Quotes from Kevin Sendrey (TX), Barry Dixon (IL), Amy Pivovar (NE), David Stob (WA), and Doug Jenkins (SC) were included in the May 2021 Club Insider article. However, their quotes had to be abbreviated to meet space limitations, and others had chimed in as well. We have no such space limitations here! For your enjoyment, here are all of the submissions we received on what their home clubs, their “Third Places,” mean in their lives. Thanks to all!
LA Fitness, Dallas/Fort Worth, TX (16 years)
I have been a LA Fitness member since the 1st club opened here in Dallas/Fort Worth since 2005. I joined and have remained a member solely for the fact that it has racquetball courts. I spend 5-6 days a week at LA Fitness where I enjoy hanging out with my second family….the racquetball crew! My son has also found the love of racquetball and plays up there with us every day. I literally don’t know what I would do with my evenings without the courts!
Glass Court, Lombard, IL (25 years)
My time as a member at the Glass Court has been filled with countless fond memories since my membership began in 1996. I have created lasting friendships; I have caught up with old friends from my college days and I continue to create new friendships each and every day. One of the best parts of my memories is that they involve my family as they have been around or been involved in racquetball for most or part of their lives. Three generations of my family (including my dad, my son, and me) have played racquetball at Glass Court. I can remember my son beginning in Junior Team Illinois (JTI) at the age of 8, and he still plays to this day. I can remember my daughter being pushed around in her stroller at tournaments. Even today, after coaching JTI for many years, I am once again working with the kids and enjoy nothing more than watching them flourish. I truly enjoy the game and the camaraderie that comes with being involved in the sport.
The Torres Family (Claudia, Jairo, and Montserrat)
Glass Court, Lombard, IL (4 years)
What it means to us to be a part of the Glass Court family is so very nice, because they make us feel welcome. Aside from having fun and playing racquetball, they also have a great environment and a great staff.
Athletic Society West Valley, Canoga Park, CA
I’m playing at the Athletic Society as a member -- my husband works there! They have five courts with open play. I would say that it is every bit the third home for most of the players there.
Genesis, Omaha, NE (6 years)
There is really no end to friendship opportunities. I’ve been making friends since I started in 2015.
I had taken a break from racquetball in 1997 and I was talked into playing again. Prairie Life was the only place in Omaha at that time to play racquetball as most of all of the other clubs had closed.
When I came back to racquetball in 2015, I was re-introduced to many of the old players and I soon weaseled my way into the group that I am in now. Racquetball is just one of those sports where it’s so inclusive of everyone. I can’t imagine not playing...ever! What’s been great since Genesis took over, we have seen more people interested in playing. I help with the juniors program which is super satisfying and encouraging to the sport.
Genesis, Omaha, NE (6 years)
Racquetball player for 13 years
I've made several lifelong friendships from the club. Our morning group has two yearly breakfasts where we go out to local diners after playing. Our nighttime group players participate in leagues and tournaments. We've been known to travel to the US Open together and talk late into the night about racquetball, fun, and life.
Olympic Athletic Club, Seattle, WA (17 years)
Racquetball is my “third place” and has been since 1982. In my little two-court club, there are at least five distinct pods of players that treat the club as their third place. I call them the Senior/Masters group, the Technology Workers, the Professional Women, the Young Families, and the Diehards. The reason these players choose one facility over another is because of social groups. Just like a Zumba® class creates relationships, so does racquetball.
Sportsclub, Greenville, SC (20 years)
Racquetball has been in my life for over 40 years now. Baseball, basketball, football, tennis, and bowling (believe it or not), have come and gone, but racquetball is something I love to do as much today as back when I started 40 years ago. As long as the club has courts, you can count on me to be a member. ... Racquetball can grow if we continue to promote the sport!
Sports Courts, Lincoln, Nebraska (27 years)
Sportsclub, Greenville, SC (15 years)
Playing Racquetball for 42 years and still going strong!
I have two racquetball families, 27 years at Sports Courts, Lincoln, Nebraska, and 15 years at Sportsclub in Greenville, South Carolina. It is so easy to make great friends on and off the courts while getting a great workout and having a lot of fun! “Friends for life” describes my summary of why I am passionate about making racquetball great again!
Thanks again, Everyone!
How can we reach a place where clubs realize how much their members appreciate what they bring...where the members are inspired to devote some time to helping the clubs be more successful...where the “third place” that the clubs provide becomes something very special in the equation of profitability...and where retaining long-term members as well as gaining new members is achieved via the warm atmosphere of friendship and acceptance fostered by the clubs and sustained via the “third place” family?
These aren’t easy times, and we all need each other more than ever. Club owners and managers...players...members...please reach out to each other to see what assistance can be arranged. It will look a little different everywhere, and we would love to hear about your successes!
Returning Members + New Members = Increased Profit = Keeping Courts = Win/Win!
Please view our court programming resources and materials.