Notice of Annual Meeting and Election of ISRA Board Members

The ISRA Board will hold its Annual Meeting on Wednesday, June 7, 2023. As with all ISRA meetings, this meeting is open to the membership. The Annual Meeting is particularly important since all members attending have a vote in the election of the ISRA Board of Directors. If you plan to attend, please contact Susan Mueller at skm713@yahoo.com for time and location.

Board positions are staggered two-year terms.

The following individuals are being re-nominated to the Governing Board:

Alisa Burris, Mike Davern, Barry Dixon, John Thorson

According to Article IV, Section IV.2 of the ISRA Bylaws (ratified by the ISRA Board of Directors in June 2022 and posted on the ISRA website):

Additional Director candidates must be nominated in writing by one or more ISRA/USAR members, endorsed by signed petition of at least 50 members, and received by the President prior to May 1. If there are any additional Director nominations, the President shall first verify that the nominee is in agreement to run and serve and shall give notice of said nomination to the public via the ISRA website and email communication on or before May 15 but in no case fewer than 30 days before the Annual Meeting date. The election shall take place at the Annual Meeting in June, by ballot, with only members present voting. If there are no additional nominations, the Nominating Committee’s slate shall be accepted automatically.

Additionally, any ISRA member who wishes to help improve the quality of racquetball in Illinois and familiarize themselves with Board processes is welcome to join the ISRA Auxiliary Board. Come out and support Illinois Racquetball! Please contact ISRA President Cheryl Kirk at cherylkkirk@aol.com.

Signed,

The ISRA Nominating Committee

Susan Mueller (Chair), Todd Burris, and Arun Baskaran

Message from ISRA President Cheryl Kirk

January 24, 2023

Three Things!

1 — Competition: ISRA State Singles & Doubles Championships

2 — Recognition: Annual Awards

3 — Communication: Let’s Zoom!

COMPETITION

State Championships – The ISRA State Doubles Championships, originally scheduled for January 28-29, has been combined with the ISRA State Singles Championships, February 17-19. We’re taking entries! 

Players from adjacent states are also welcome to participate (Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin). Call your buddies in those states!    https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=40406

RECOGNITION

The ISRA Annual Awards Ceremony will be held at Glass Court at 6:00 pm on February 18th. Everyone is invited!

Speaking of which, the deadline is fast approaching: ISRA Annual Awards – Call for Nominations!

Nominations for the ISRA Hall of Fame, ISRA Players of the Year and the ISRA Distinguished Service Award are being accepted through January 30, 2023. Submit your nominations to ISRA President Cheryl Kirk at cherylkkirk@aol.com with your name, cell number, the name(s) of the nominee(s), and the reasons why you feel they should receive the award, together with a list of their achievements. Note: The more detailed the nominations (including tournament results), the better chance your nominee(s) will have!

Those making nominations, and the nominees themselves, must be USA Racquetball members. Player of the Year nominees may play at any level. Winners will be selected by the ISRA Governing Board from the submitted nominations.

ISRA 2022 Players of the Year — Please submit nominations for Male Player of the Year, Female Player of the Year, and Most Improved Player based on the below criteria. Include comments regarding their:

Accomplishments

Number of years playing racquetball

Sportsmanship

Improvement

Contribution to the sport of racquetball

ISRA 2023 Distinguished Service Award — Criteria for consideration include:

Commitment to the sport of racquetball in Illinois

Quality of service

Accomplishments benefiting the sport and its players

We look forward to receiving your nominations!

TJ Ferro 2023 Junior Scholarship Award – This award is decided upon by the ISRA Board of Directors. Any Junior player, 18 and under, may submit an application. The deadline is February 3, 2023 (latest). Please contact Cheryl Kirk at cherylkkirk@aol.com for an application.

COMMUNICATION

As the ISRA website renovation project is underway, we encourage everyone to stay connected primarily through Facebook — ISRA Facebook: Illinois State Racquetball Association (832 likes and 891 followers). Please like and follow us!

Recently it was suggested that ISRA members might like to connect with the ISRA Board of Directors “face to face” (perhaps on Zoom?) to get to know us better, exchange ideas, share thoughts and suggestions, ask questions, maybe explore future Board service? We would love that! After the smoke clears on the Shamrock Shootout in mid-March (y’all come!), look for an invitation to join us and talk about one of our very favorite subjects: Racquetball. More to come!

Sincerely, 

Cheryl Kirk and the ISRA Board of Directors: Arun Baskaran, Alisa Burris, Todd Burris, Mike Davern, Laurel Davis, Barry Dixon, Alcides Gutierrez, Eric Mathews, Susan Mueller, John O’Donnell, Jr., John Thorson, Carolyn Vazquez

P.S. Is your USA Racquetball membership current? If it’s not…could it be? Please? How can we help? It’s $65/year or $60 with auto renew at www.usaracquetball.com (sign in to your membership profile) or if you’ve never been a member, go to https://www.r2sports.com/cartRoot/products.asp?companyID=86&brandIDs=228

 

ISRA YEAR-END REPORT

December 30, 2022

By ISRA President Cheryl Kirk

Greetings to all as we move together into 2023!

To put a bow on 2022, I’d like to cover a few Illinois racquetball topics that come under the general headings of:

Support (Memberships/Donations): USA Racquetball / ISRA

Communication: ISRA Website and Social Media

Competition: State and National Tournament Schedule

Recognition: ISRA Hall of Fame and Annual Awards

Our Future: Junior Team Illinois

Gratitude: So Much to be Thankful For!

This is a long one, so grab a cup of coffee, maybe a brownie, and settle in!

SUPPORT 

Membership/Donations

The most critical issue is Memberships/Donations, i.e., returning our sport to health now and sustaining it for the future. During the pandemic, USA Racquetball and consequently the ISRA lost a significant number of USAR/ISRA memberships. To be brief and straightforward:

— The sport can’t survive in the United States without the infrastructure USA Racquetball provides.

— We need Illinois players, past and present, to view membership as an investment in this loved sport, not just a “competitive license.”

— Please renew your membership. It’s $65/year or $60 with auto renew at www.usaracquetball.com (sign in to your membership profile) or if you’ve never been a member, go to https://www.r2sports.com/cartRoot/products.asp?companyID=86&brandIDs=228

If you’re a current member (thank you!) and are in a position to make a tax deductible year-end donation (by midnight Saturday 12/31!) to USA Racquetball, visit the home page at www.usaracquetball.com. Any amount helps!

That’s as plain as it gets. Take a look at the value infographic that appears on the ISRA Facebook page and on our website home page. What are we willing to reminisce about that’s no longer here for us? We have something very special to preserve, and it will take more than a handful of players in each state to do it. Will you please help Illinois do our part? If everyone could contribute just a few dollars, the impact would be powerful.

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COMMUNICATION

ISRA Website and Social Media

The ISRA website is currently under construction and will feature a whole new look and upgraded functionality. Webmaster Alisa Burris has taken on this challenge. We’ll keep you posted!

Due to the cost of producing ISRA Courtside several times a year, we moved to social media along with our website as our primary modes of communicating Illinois racquetball news to Team Illinois and beyond. Alisa Burris is also our Social Media Coordinator, and because of her diligence and assistance, the ISRA’s social media efforts have progressed nicely.

ISRA Facebook: Illinois State Racquetball Association (830 likes and 884 followers)

Instagram: israillinois (184 followers)

Please like and follow us!

National Newsletter

You should be receiving Serving Up the News via email around the middle of each month. This is a way to stay current with our sport on the national level. It’s uplifting to see so much going on across the country with U.S. Adult and Junior Team competitions, the Pro Tours, and USAR National Championships!

Speaking of which…

COMPETITION

State and National Tournaments (not all-inclusive)

There’s a whole lotta competition going on…let me toss out a few right here/right now:

33rd Annual WSMRA National Championships Entry deadline January 5, 2023  www.wsmra.com

January 12-15, 2023   Tucson Racquet Club, Tucson, AZ

Good luck to Team Illinois players Diane Bunker, Cheryl Kirk, Sue Mueller, Julie Vincent, and Lynn Yeazell!

ISRA State Doubles Championships     https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=40405

January 28-29, 2023   Tournament Director: Laurel Davis

Entries are open. Players from adjacent states are welcome to participate (Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin)

USAR National Doubles & Singles Championships     https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=39974

February 1-5, 2023   Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

ISRA State Singles Championships & Annual Awards Ceremony  Taking entries beginning mid-January

February 17-19, 2023    Tournament Director: Cheryl Kirk

Players from adjacent states are welcome to participate (Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin)

PapaNicholas 38th Annual Shamrock Shootout – Tier 1 IRT Pro Stop  Taking entries beginning mid-January

March 16-19, 2023  Tournament Directors: Dan Jaskier (630) 629-3390 / Cheryl Kirk (630) 215-4242

Sponsors welcome – contact Dan!

National Adult Team Singles Qualifying, In Memory of Geoff Peters 

May 25-28, 2023      Lombard, IL

All of the above local tournaments will be competed at Glass Court Swim & Fitness in Lombard. We can’t thank Dan Jaskier and Joe DeArmas enough for being such great supporters and hosts for racquetball in Illinois!

RECOGNITION

ISRA Hall of Fame and Annual Awards – Call for Nominations!

Nominations for the ISRA Hall of Fame, ISRA Players of the Year and the ISRA Distinguished Service Award are being accepted through January 30, 2023. Submit your nominations to ISRA President Cheryl Kirk at cherylkkirk@aol.com with your name, cell number, the name(s) of the nominee(s), and the reasons why you feel they should receive the award, together with a list of their achievements. Note: The more detailed the nominations (including tournament results), the better chance your nominee(s) will have!

Those making nominations, and the nominees themselves, must be USA Racquetball members. Player of the Year nominees may play at any level. Winners will be chosen by the ISRA Governing Board and will be honored at the ISRA Annual Awards Ceremony on Saturday, February 18, 2023, at Glass Court in conjunction with the ISRA State Singles Championships.

ISRA Hall of Fame

The objective of the ISRA Hall of Fame is to recognize and honor those individuals who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in Racquetball. Those areas include, but are not limited to, playing ability, sportsmanship, leadership, and development. The award is based upon years of consistent excellence in one or more areas. Please visit http://www.illinoisracquetball.com/?page_id=249 for a full description of the ISRA Hall of Fame nomination criteria.

ISRA 2022 Players of the Year

Please submit nominations for Male Player of the Year, Female Player of the Year, and Most Improved Player based on the below criteria. Include comments regarding their:

Accomplishments

Number of years playing racquetball

Sportsmanship

Improvement

Contribution to the sport of racquetball

ISRA 2023 Distinguished Service Award

Criteria for consideration include:

Commitment to the sport of racquetball in Illinois

Quality of service

Accomplishments benefiting the sport and its players

We look forward to receiving your nominations!

OUR FUTURE

Junior Team Illinois

The best way to preserve this sport for the next generation is to teach people to play! Head Coach Barry Dixon, assisted by John Thorson, Marian Bala, Liz Molitor, Andy Pitock, and Jairo Torres, launched the new Junior Team Illinois (up to age 21) season at Glass Court in October. If you have family members (their friends, too!) who would like to see what this fabulous sport is all about, contact Barry Dixon at bdixon01@comcast.net for more information.

JTI members Montserrat Torres and Axel Lopez competed in Mixed 14 & Under Doubles last summer at USAR Junior Nationals and qualified for the U.S. Junior Team! Earlier this month, they competed for Junior Team USA on the international stage in Guatemala City at the IRF World Junior Championships. This was the first time in decades that Illinois players have qualified for Junior Team USA, and we couldn’t be prouder! For a full description of the event, including photos, check out the Daily Blogs at https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Racquetball/Features/2022/December/02/Junior-Worlds-Blog.

GRATITUDE

So Much to be Thankful For!

This year-end report would be much longer if I were to try and list everyone who has contributed to Illinois Racquetball in ways big and small this past year. To the Board of Directors, the Auxiliary Board, the many volunteers, the JTI coaches and parents, and all of our USAR/ISRA members, thank you for staying the course and for continuing to play and to lend strength to the best sport on the planet!

To Platt Hill and his family (Platt Hill Nursery), and to Jim Schlicher and PapaNicholas Coffee, you have steadfastly supported Glass Court and Illinois Racquetball as Title Sponsors of the IRT and LPRT pro stops. Keith Minor (KWM Gutterman), you are always there for us with your consistent encouragement and support. The three of you, along with the other much-valued sponsors of the Shamrock Shootout and the Turkey Shoot Open, have been instrumental in keeping Illinois a respected part of the national racquetball scene. In the same vein, we remember and dearly miss Geoff Peters for his leadership, drive, and hard work on all of our behalf.

To Mike Russo and Eric Mathews, and to all of the players who have participated in the Singles and Doubles Cash Leagues, we thank you for your support of Illinois Junior Racquetball. We appreciate you so much!

There are so many more of you who make a difference, and you are all near and dear to our hearts. This sport is well worth all of our efforts, and we are incredibly grateful for the Illinois Racquetball Family.

Wishing everyone health, safety, success, and happiness in the coming year!

Sincerely, 

Cheryl Kirk and the ISRA Board of Directors: Arun Baskaran, Alisa Burris, Todd Burris, Mike Davern, Laurel Davis, Barry Dixon, Alcides Gutierrez, Eric Mathews, Susan Mueller, John O’Donnell, Jr., John Thorson, Carolyn Vazquez

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