WE ARE USA RACQUETBALL infographic describes the role USAR plays in the sport of Racquetball
by USA Racquetball
Dear USA Racquetball Members (and Racquetball Players Across the United States),
The USA Racquetball infographic above has appeared in the last nine issues of Serving Up the News. The contributors and editors of this newsletter have observed that while many of our members appreciate the infographic’s high-level description of the value USA Racquetball brings, perhaps they would appreciate more detail on each point, to understand more about what USA Racquetball provides to the infrastructure of our sport.
In each of the next several newsletters, we’ll grab one or more of the 13 points on the infographic and give more detail.
Let’s start with these two:
#1 We are the US OPEN -- the #1 event in racquetball.
Since its inception in 1995, the US OPEN––brainchild of several of the sport’s leaders at the time––has grown and matured into being easily the #1 event in Racquetball. Entries for the pro and amateur divisions are capped at 750, and this event is “the one” no one wants to miss!
Beginning in Memphis back in 1995 and migrating to Minneapolis in 2010, the US OPEN has never lost momentum. Owned by USA Racquetball and expertly run by Doug Ganim, this tournament is the meeting place for the sport’s players from multiple countries as well as manufacturers, staff, volunteers, and fans from around the world. It’s truly the experience of a lifetime! The US OPEN website paints the picture with its introduction of the October 6-10, 2021, event:
It’s a 25th Anniversary Racquetball Celebration and You’re Invited!
Be a part of racquetball’s premier “Grand Slam” and the largest racquetball tournament in the world: the UnitedHealthcare US OPEN Racquetball Championships. See all of the top players from the IRT and LPRT compete for the largest total prize money purse in the sport. Experience the thrill of dramatic player introductions featuring booming music and laser light shows. Stroll through the UnitedHealthcare US OPEN Players Village and see what’s new from the world’s top manufacturers.
Visit the event website for more details. Right now is the time to make hotel reservations, since a great part of the overall experience is staying in a host hotel where you’ll run into the best players in the world and enjoy meeting up and hanging out with racquetball friends from near and far.
#6 We are the U.S. Adult and Junior National Teams
The U.S. Teams compete on the “World Stage” with USA on their backs! The pride these elite athletes feel to be able to represent the United States is inspiring to behold. We hope the hard work of these athletes as they vie for spots on the national teams also create pride in each and every USA Racquetball member in knowing that these teams represent all of us who love the sport.
Qualifiers are held each year for one-year positions on each of the teams. Normally, the adult season goes June through the following May, and the junior season goes July through the following June.
For the Adult U.S. Adult Team, until the pandemic hit, there were two qualifiers for U.S. Adult Singles slots (at National Doubles and at National Singles) and one qualifier for Doubles slots at National Doubles. The top four men and women singles finishers made the team as well as the 1st and 2nd place doubles teams. Members of the U.S. Adult Team have traditionally competed internationally twice a year, once at the Pan American Racquetball Championships (not to be confused with the Pan American Games), and also at the IRF World Racquetball Championships every other year, with the Pan American Games and The World Games occurring in the off years from the World Championships.
This year, the qualifier event would have been in St. Louis in June, but COVID got in the way again and the qualifier will now take place in Des Moines, Iowa, July 14-18, with U.S. Team Singles and Doubles team members named at this one event. U.S. Team Head Coach Jim Durham will finally have the opportunity to man the helm as the very real possibility of the IRF World Championships in Guatemala City looms large later this year.
For the U.S. Junior Team, the pandemic has been a challenge as well. In 2020, the USAR National Junior Championships qualifier had to be canceled, and that compelled U.S. Junior Team Coach Charlie Pratt and his assistant coaches to enter into an unprecedented selection process (i.e., essays, extensive video analysis, and prior results) to name the team with the anticipated possibility of competing in Bolivia at the IRF World Junior Championships later in the year. That event had to be canceled as well, which unfortunately meant that, like the U.S. Adult Team, the 2020-21 team missed the chance to compete.
The U.S. Junior Team for 2021-22 will also emerge at the same July event in Des Moines. Divisions ranging from 6 & Under to 18 & Under, boys and girls, singles and doubles, will be offered there. The makeup of the official U.S. Junior Team is comprised of 18-, 16-, 14-, 12-, and 10-. The top two singles players and the top doubles team in each age category (boys and girls separately) will be named to the team.Safety permitting, we hope they will have the opportunity to compete later this year in Costa Rica!
We are so excited that the Adult Team contenders and the Junior Team hopefuls will have their qualifiers in the same location at the same event. It’s a midsummer dream!
We take very seriously our role in serving all of you and in saving and strengthening our sport, and we hope this resonates with you as an inspiration for working together to do whatever we canto preserve this treasure in our lives.
It will take all of us to do it, and USA Racquetball accepts and embraces our sacred responsibility to lead and to inspire everyone to participate in solutions.
The Staff, Board, and Volunteers of USA Racquetball