Monday, January 19, 2009


Kane Waselenchuk got back on the winning track in New York City on the weekend, and this week we'll see if his streak can cont--... wait, there isn't a Tier 1 event on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) this week. There's a Tier 4 event in Fairfield, New Jersey, but the next Tier 1 event isn't for a month, when the Seattle Open happens February 19-22.

The scheduling of IRT events is not entirely in the tour's control, as some events have long histories, and aren't going to change them, or are reluctant to do so, simply to suit the IRT. Moreover, there aren't climate conditions influencing tournament scheduling, as happens in golf for example. Thus, you can have an IRT event in California one week and New York City the next.

It's a bit of the tail wagging the dog, but racquetball isn't the only sport to suffer this way. Tennis people have wondered if the staging of Wimbledon just a couple of weeks after the conclusion of the French Open is optimal. We think it's obviously not optimal, but do you think that Wimbledon going to change? We don't.

Similarly, people have wondered if the Australian Open could be moved further into the calendar year so that it's closer to the other tennis Grand Slam events. But seasonally the Australian Open happens at the same time as the US Open: the end of summer. They did move the Aussie Open from December to January a few years back, but that's not a substantial change.

So until racquetball is the big sport we all want it to be, the stops and starts of the season - kicking off the season with 5 tournaments in 6 weeks followed by only one tournament in over two months - is just something we're going to have to live with.

This Week

The Garden State Open, a Tier 4 IRT event, is this weekend in Fairfield, New Jersey, but the big action is in Concord, California, where the Classic Pro Racquetball Tour's (CPRT's) Concord Classic will be held featuring US Open Champion Jimmy Lowe, as well as Woody Clouse, Ruben Gonzalez and Cliff Swain.

Speaking of funky scheduling, Swain was in California two weeks ago for the IRT's California Open, but he didn't hang about Cali waiting for the Concord event. No, not Mr. Swain. He went to the French Open in Paris (where he won, defeating Canadian Patrick Jauvin in the final, 15-2, 15-9).

It's a 9 hour time zone difference between California and France, so Swain could be experiencing some big jet lag this week. Unless he was able to keep himself on California time. But that would have been difficult, although if you had to stay up all night to do that, Paris would be a good place to do it.

Follow the bouncing ball....

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