In Monterrey, Mexico, the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour is playing the Paola Longoria Invitational, a big showcase event named for the racquetball's best woman player. She's been completely dominating for the last few seasons and as I've mentioned before, it's a big deal to Mexico. So much so, that Paola and her backers raised enough to create an event that's probably the biggest stand alone event for the LPRT this season.
Already in the 32's I see two interesteing outcomes. Aubrey Kirch breezed by Carla Munoz and Jessica Parrilla tops Maria Paz Munoz in 5. Jessica lost to Maria Pazita at the U.S. Open this past October. And it only gets more interesting for the winners in the next round.
But, it will most likely still be Paola's time.
I'm hanging in Warren, NJ at the NJ Open, snapping pics and taking in the event. It's a nice facility yet it's a bit more quiet than I expected. I think it's more a club related thing, because the best racquetball available today is being played here. Saturday should feel more alive, with the other divisions in full swing.
I've talked about younger pros and their opportunities a lot lately. Typically, I catch IRT event's later in the draw. But I deliberately wanted to make 32's and 16's, which are tail-ending as I put this down. Things have gone down pretty much as I expected them... you can check out the draw and see what I mean. But it's some of the best racquetball you can watch, and the biggest audience seems to be watching from a distance right now... because it's relatively quiet here. (And the Wifi is almost non-existant, dated for a club of this size. Trying to load more photos resulted in losing about 2 weeks of entries on this page. Frustrating...)
The event director, Jonathan Clay and his event company Rollout Event Group has things running smoothly, covering most of the bases. He managed to build it where it makes the local press in a big way here. (And as usual, it cool seeing one of mine, outside the regulars.) It's interesting to see this young guy work his way into making a business out of facilitating Tier 1 IRT events. He's working off the current IRT model, making it his business to maximize event potential, offering that out as a service for places that really want pro racquetball stopping at their club.
Until tomorrow, it will be all about being a fan for me, just hanging around, taking in the great play and the dynamics between the players and the people watching. This is my content watching this weekend. (And yes, I want to play...)
The IRT Network is broadcasting both events today and tomorrow.
I just realized, it's Friday the 13th. Totally unrelated. But it figures.