Monday, April 13, 2020

IRF cancels World Championships, Rajsich & Waselenchuk speak

The Internatinoal Racquetball Federation (IRF) announced today that they have suspended the 2020 World Championships that were to be held in San Luis Potosi, Mexico in August. The IRF’s Executive Committee will meet in two months to evaluate how to arrange their tournament schedule moving forward.

As we reported previously, racquetball is part of the World Games program, and the 2021 World Games were scheduled for July 15-25, 2021 in Birmingham, Alabama. But those game have been pushed back to July 7-17, 2022, because the International Olympic Committee (IOC) pushed back the 2020 Olympic Games to summer of 2021.

Previously, the field of players for the World Games has been based on results from the IRF World Championships held in the year prior to the World Games. Thus, the IRF will probably want to hold a World Championships in 2021, rather than wait until 2022 to get back on their two year schedule.

After that the IRF would likely want to keep their World Championships on even years, so as not to interfere with either the World Games or the Pan American Games, which both happen on four year cycles in odd numbered years.

Racquetball Talk

The Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) has begun to do weekly chats via their Facebook and YouTube channels. Called “The Service Box” there have been two so far. The first was with the LPRT staff: T. J. Baumbaugh, Tim Baghurst, and J Josey, and the second was an interview with Rhonda Rajsich.

Rajsich talked about her enduring love for basketball, how it feels weird to be home for so long as she’s usually gone off somewhere every week or two for over 20 years of competitive racquetball. She hopes that home time will help her heal up some nagging injuries.

The Service Box chats happen live on Thursday nights, and run for about an hour. This week they’ll be talking to Jessica Parrilla.

Kane Waselenchuk also held a Q&A session last week, which is available via the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) YouTube Channel. Waselenchuk’s session has him answering questions submitted via his Intagram channel.

This session is unmoderated, so there’s some dead time as Waselenchuk reads the questions coming in, or there’s a lag in people submitting questions.

But you do hear Waselenchuk talk about his most memorable matches, why he doesn’t play internationally now, and how the tour has changed over the span of his career. Waselenchuk’s chat was to be the 1st of two sessions, but we’re not sure when the 2nd will be.

The LPRT Service Box and Waselenchuk’s Q&A are both nice ways to try and quench the thirst that we all have for racquetball, which is hard to satisfy otherwise.

We hope that you are doing well, and that we'll all be able to get back on court somewhere sometime soon.

Follow the bouncing ball….

Saturday, April 4, 2020

USAR's New Board Members, Coaches of the Year, and 2021 World Games

USA Racquetball announced its newly elected Board of Directors: Mike Grisz, JD Shelton - both new board members - and Cindy Tilbury, who was re-elected. Grisz is also the President and CEO of the International Racquetball Tour.

Three athletes were also elected to the USAR Board to be the Athlete Representatives. Michelle De La Rosa, Danielle Maddux, and Charlie Pratt, will be the athletes’ voices on the board. They succeed outgoing representatives Aimee Ruiz and Jose Diaz.

All of these newly elected board members will serve three year terms.

USA Racquetball Coaching Awards

Coaching is an important activity, but rarely awarded. But this week USA Racquetball announced its Coach of the Year award recipients. Brian Ancheta - Head Coach at Barlow High School in Gresham, Oregon - is the High School Coach of the Year. Sara Moulton - Assistant Coach at Brigham Young University - is the Intercollegiate Coach of the Year. Also, Dr. Tim Miller of Baldwin Wallace University received the Collegiate Lifetime Contribution Award.

Congratulations to all three coaches.

2021 World Games, now in 2022

The 2021 World Games that were scheduled for July 15-25, 2021 in Birmingham, Alabama will now be played July 7-17, 2022, because the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decision to postpone the 2020 Olympic Games to summer of 2021. That change meant there would have been an overlap in dates with the 2021 World Games, so the World Games also pushed back its event by a year.

This, of course, is all due to the COVID-19 virus situation that is ongoing across the world. The World Games change seems like the right thing to do, and we look forward to seeing racquetball players participating a multi-sport event in the USA for the first time ever.

We hope that you are staying safe during this crazy time. Best wishes.

Follow the bouncing ball….

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Racquetball News - Longoria part of Athlete Commission & 2021 World Games

Paola Longoria of Mexico was named to the Athlete Commission of the Pan American Games. The objective of the Athlete Commission is “To represent the voice of Pan American athletes in Panam [sic] Sports and ensure that all needs for their development are met.” For example, the Athlete Commission recently put out a statement supporting the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC’s) decision to postpone the 2020 Olympic Games.

It’s great for a racquetball athlete to be part of this commission, and Longoria is the only athlete from a Pan Am Games only sport to be part of the commission (the other members are from Olympic sports).

2021 World Games

With the change in dates for the 2020 Olympic Games from this year to 2021, we indicated that might effect the 2021 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, where racquetball will be on the program. Today comes word confirming this, as the dates for the Olympics now conflict with the World Games dates.

The new Olympic dates are July 23 to August 8, 2021, and the World Games dates were July 15-25, 2021. Not a large overlap, but still enough for the World Games to “urgently review alternative options.” The World Games and International Olympic Committee (IOC) have been in “close contact” with the IOC pledging to help the World Games overcome the challenges created by this change in dates.

The possibilities that the World Games are considering are changing “to similar dates in 2022 or to slightly earlier dates in 2021.”

Hopefully, this can be worked out, and racquetball players can participate in a multi-sport event in the USA for the first time ever.

Follow the bouncing ball….