HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE! And welcome to another great winter of racquetball in Illinois! In case there was any doubt that winter decided to visit, just look at the thermometer and head for the courts to stay warm…
We asked you all a few questions last month and received our biggest email response yet. Thank you all for taking the time to send in your thoughtful responses. Here’s a summary of what we received (answers are in capital letters):
1. Would it make sense to designate certain divisions at each event to be competed on a single day for those who may have time conflicts and be unable to commit to three days? This would involve designating a division (or three), such as Men’s D, or Mixed A, to be played entirely on Saturday or Sunday. We might have to limit such a division to 16 players max to allow it to be played. THE OVERWHELMING RESPONSE WAS YES – WE SHOULD TRY THIS. THERE WAS SOME CONCERN ABOUT HAVING TOO MANY MATCHES IN A DAY, SO WHAT WE ARE GOING TO PILOT IS LIMITING DIVISIONS TO 8 PLAYERS IN MOST CASES BUT GUARANTEEING TWO MATCHES. THAT IS, THERE WILL BE AN AUTOMATIC CONSOLATION OR DROP-DOWN DIVISION.
2. Do players prefer: Winners Referee, Losers Referee, or No Referee? PLAYERS WERE SPLIT ON THIS – WITH A SLIGHT EDGE TO NO REFEREE.
3. Is breakfast important to you, or would you rather just see fruit available? We are looking for what we can do to maintain lower costs. Are you willing to absorb a nominal price increase in entry fees to ensure that breakfast is available? FOR THE MOST PART BREAKFAST WAS NOT CRITICAL, ALTHOUGH MOST WOULD LIKE TO SEE FRUIT MADE AVAILABLE.
4. Scheduling is one of our biggest issues. Some states have decided to only allow players to compete in one skill division and one skill/age or one age division. This would eliminate playing in both the Men’s B and the Men’s C division while allowing you to replace it with, for example, the Men’s 35B or the Men’s 60+ division as appropriate. AGAIN, THE RESULTS WERE MIXED, WITH SOME PLAYERS WANTING TO PLAY MULTIPLE SKILL DIVISIONS AND OTHERS VERY COMFORTABLE PLAYING IN THE AGE/SKILL OPTIONS. IF YOU HAVE NEVER TRIED AN AGE/SKILL DIVISION, PLEASE CONSIDER IT AS A SECOND DIVISION!
You’re going to see us piloting a number of things at the State and Regional Tournaments this year to see how they work. Please let us know what you think. To begin with, here is what we are going to do at the State Doubles Championships coming up at the end of the month, based on YOUR feedback:
• All 3-team Round Robin Divisions will play on only one day
• All 4-team Round Robins will play on two of the three days
• All 5-team Round Robins will play on two or three days (TBD)
• The Men’s 50+ will play on Saturday and be limited to 8 teams, guaranteed two matches
• The Men’s 55+ will play on Saturday and be limited to 8 teams, guaranteed two matches
• However, you may NOT play both Men’s 50 and Men’s 55
• The Men’s C will play on Saturday and be limited to 8 teams, guaranteed two matches
• The Mixed A will play on Sunday and be limited to 8 teams, guaranteed two matches
• The Mixed Open will play on Sunday and be limited to 8 teams, guaranteed two matches
• However, you may NOT play both Mixed A and Mixed Open
Please give us your feedback. We are hoping that this will help increase entries and reduce the number of requested time conflicts that players request. It is extremely difficult when players indicate that they can’t play on (for example) a Friday night.
Oscars, Emmys, and Golden Globes – and of course the Annual ISRA Awards! This is the time of year for ISRA members to nominate players for the 2017 Male and Female Players of the Year, 2017 Most Improved Player, and the 2018 ISRA Distinguished Service Award. You can find the forms under the Awards tab on this website and copy the information to print off or email, or you can grab a form at the ISRA State Doubles Championships and nominate deserving individuals (deadline Sunday, February 4, 10:00 pm). If you would like to receive a nomination form via email, please contact Marla Cusano at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, with all nominations, the more information received, the better!
We’re currently talking to sponsors for the ISRA Season and the Shamrock Shootout IRT Pro Tour event in March. If you know of anyone who would be interested in supporting professional racquetball (Men’s or Ladies’) at an Illinois Tour Stop, please have them contact Geoff Peters at email@example.com or (773) 251-4413.
We look forward to seeing you on the courts!
Your ISRA Board of Directors