On the Horizon - Reach for the Stars
by Erika Manilla & Rhonda Rajsich
The Team USA 2021 Women’s National Doubles Champions are making strides in the Women’s Racquetball community! With over 50 years combined in the ladies’ racquetball world, they feel there are opportunities and approaches to bringing more women out to play events on a regular basis.
Through Manilla Athletics, Erika Manilla and Rhonda Rajsich have begun offering experiences for women to gather, learn, compete, and support each other in building camaraderie in the sport. These experiences are meant not only to help each individual improve her game but also to provide introductions to new players, new ideas, and new opportunities to grow the sport and increase the number of women at all levels who come to events to play and support one another (women building up women). Activities have included instruction/analysis of racquetball, some contests here and there, play-the-pro, play-with-the-pro, as well as social gatherings like dinner barbecues, corn hole, ping pong, and Q&A. Connections are made that can extend well beyond the court in the form of friendships and/or business opportunities.
Manilla and Rajsich simply want to build and bring together the ladies’ racquetball community. They know there are women out there who genuinely enjoy the game, and may (or may not) have a group they enjoy playing with.
Manilla said, “Do you know how amazing the ladies racquetball community is? Imagine if we all could get together a couple times a year? It doesn’t have to be in a tournament setting but just a time where we can talk, learn, connect, and play the sport we love.”
Rajsich added, “Be it local, state, regional, national, or professional, we aim to inspire women to have something more to look forward to -- simply to 'come out and play' more often, with more people, and with more to be excited about in doing so.”
Manilla and Rajsich aspire to build a network of women who will come forward to support other women, including more engagement with the LPRT. “If we build it, they will come!” What they hope to create is a fun, exciting, engaging, and fulfilling experience that ladies will never forget -- one that they can be a part of for years and use to help usher in the next generations of racquetball stars!
Be on the lookout for these National Champions and their “Reach for the Stars” events!