June 17, 2020
Greetings, Team Illinois,
We’re looking forward to getting back on the courts over the remainder of the summer! We don’t know what the new normal is going to look like, but we are hoping that health clubs will be allowed to open no later than June 26th and that this will include all of the Life Time Fitness, YMCA, JCC, Park District, and LA Fitness facilities, and of course locations like Forest View and Glass Court. We’re not sure when the college locations––DePaul, Northwestern, Lake Forest College, UIC, College of DuPage, University of Illinois – Champaign, Loyola, and others––will get students back on campus and allow their fitness centers to welcome back players, but from talking to people, we can tell that you are all ready and raring to go!
When the time comes, USA Racquetball has published some considerations for safer play, and you might want to go and review them before competing or practicing. Visit www.usaracquetball.com. I’m sure they will be posted at all courts, but simple ideas include using your own ball for play (you don’t actually ever pick up the other ball, you serve your own ball and keep it in your pocket while the other player is serving). Sounds hard, but once you do it, it’s really easy.
In the meantime, we are hearing reports of outdoor action at LaGrange and Rainbow Beach as players have been hitting the “3-walls” for a few weeks now.
As of right now, the Glass Court Summerfest and 3WallBrawl at Rainbow are both taking entries on R2 (calendar is on the right). When we hear the guidelines, we may have to adjust some of the divisions and times, but let everyone know that you are interested by getting your entry in now! That way we can use the system to notify all entrants of any changes!
Some exciting news from USA Racquetball – a real benefit to ALL of our members (and even expired or new members) has been put into place for a limited time! During this pandemic, many of our players have not renewed their memberships, as many do it at our tournaments, so a one-time membership special has been put in place for a limited time, now still valid through June 30th.
To put it succinctly, we need everyone’s help to assure the future of our sport. If you renew now, a one-year membership with the auto-renew feature is ONLY $48 – which is less than the fees were 11 years ago!
All you have to do is click on this link – and make it happen! Be sure to use the code RALLY when renewing!
We should also mention that the same 20% discount is being offered for a Lifetime Membership (normally $1,250, right now $1,000) and the Senior Lifetime 65+ (normally $750, now $600), which is a discount we are not likely to ever see again. Lifetime Membership is a great way to never have to pay membership fees again (ever!). Racquetball is a lifetime sport for so many of us, and if you’re of a mind to make this investment, you’ll be helping not only yourself but every one of us who love the sport and want to see it survive and prosper on the other side of this pandemic. (Use the same RALLY code when purchasing a Lifetime or Senior Lifetime membership, and thank you!)
Both the ISRA and USA Racquetball are dedicated to ensuring that racquetball not only survives, but grows and prospers, as we move forward. The pandemic will end – and the programs being developed now for our next generation of players, the work being done to maintain courts, the Instructors Program to teach and mentor players, and the competitive tournaments in the US and across the world will make the difference in racquetball being one of the sports that comes out of this stronger and more united than ever.
Thanks for your commitment to racquetball by renewing your membership. REMEMBER – if you are already a member, this will add a full year to your current membership for only $48. TELL YOUR FRIENDS!
There has been a lot of news on the Fitness and Racquetball front with today’s announcement that 24 Hour Fitness is not going to re-open 100 locations, plus, of course, the recent news that Lattof, Leaning Tower, and the Naperville YMCAs will not be reopening. That will reduce our total court count by 12 in Illinois, and we hope that those players will quickly choose a new location and get back on the courts soon!
We’re eagerly awaiting a decision on the biggest racquetball event of the year – the 25th Annual US OPEN scheduled for October in Minneapolis. Tournament Director Doug Ganim and USA Racquetball have promised an announcement on July 15. In the meantime, the 3 Wall Ball Event traditionally held in Las Vegas in September is now a GO with Las Vegas re-opening over the past two weeks. This is a fun event, and social distancing is much easier because, after all, it’s outdoors. Consider practicing at our own 3Wall Brawl and then following it up with a trip to Vegas!
If you have not done so already, please be sure to click on the link to ISRA Courtside to enjoy 22 pages of tournament results and features about racquetball here in Illinois as well as the 2019 UnitedHealthcare US OPEN and the 35th World Senior Racquetball Championships. Illinois players are featured prominently, with lots of pictures included!
Watch for the 2020-2021 Tournament Calendar to be published soon!
Above all, everyone: STAY SAFE!
— Your ISRA Board of Directors
June 1, 2020
Hello, Team Illinois,
This letter goes especially to the players who have enjoyed racquetball with their friends at the Lattof YMCA (Des Plaines), Leaning Tower YMCA (Niles), and Kroehler Family YMCA (Naperville). I am so sorry to hear of the closings of these clubs that have been second homes to so many in your communities, including our Racquetball family members.
With so much we’re going through as Americans this year, this could seem to the general public as not a big deal, just a blip on the radar of much bigger challenges. I’m here to tell you that this is a BIG deal to us in our world, and you’re feeling it keenly at this moment. The hopes you had to get past this pandemic and back to leagues and Saturday morning pick-up games just as before have evaporated.
On October 14, 2006, Naper Olympic closed its doors. To this day, I still remember the feeling, and it was awful. It was like finding out suddenly that you’re an orphan of sorts. “Where will we play? When and where will we meet up with our friends again?”
We all owe a debt of gratitude to leaders like Art Michaely, Dave Negrete, and Howie Robins who have helped to keep racquetball thriving in the northern suburbs of Chicago for years and years. In fact, Art, the guru of all things racquetball at Lattof, has been there for nearly 60 years, even before racquetball hit its heyday! I know these gentlemen and others will be at the forefront of keeping everyone together and playing as you have before.
Illinois has lost 12 courts as a result of these closings, and while we mourn (yes, mourn) our loss, I wish you strength and the resolve to stay connected to your YMCA racquetball peeps as you each seek your next racquetball home.
Your ISRA Board of Directors stands with you in this sad moment, and we will do anything we can to help. Please stay in touch, and please keep playing! Racquetball is very special in all of our lives, and it’s worth fighting for.
In friendship and in solidarity for the sport we love,