The World Racquetball Tour is in Chile this weekend already having played through the Quarters. I like what's going on here. The WRT and the peeps at Gearbox are making it so young players are getting a real taste of travel and international competition. In these types of situations, it allows for an opportunity to get an idea of how younger, South American players stack up to players I'm pretty familiar with, providing a small sense of where things are at with the level of play.
Without actually watching matches, I'm left to read into scores. (With a grain of salt.) I'm finding trends that tell me the time on the court is invaluable to some of the developing players from South America. (Ditto can be said for all the young guys.) For instance, Jose Daniel Ugalde of Equador took 3 sets to get by the 209's Bobby Horn in the round of 16. Similarly, Fernando Rios of Equador beat Jose Rojas in the group stage at these past World's in 3. Both cases saw them losing the first game. This makes me draw a very preliminary conclusion that once these guys get past the hype on the court, they settle in and play tough. I try not to read too much into it, but I do see trends... not just with him.
It also proves a concept for me. The WRT is insistent that it's all about providing an easier opportunity for players to get right into the mix of high level play at pro stops. Opportunity is key here to keep the level of play really high at the pro level. I mentioned the newly formed Reaching Your Dream Foundation in the last post. I'm not quite sure how they will be able to sustain sending young, talented players to pro stops. I'm also not sure if that is a proper end game for a non-profit within an industry, that should be facilitating it's own growth more effectively. But I am sure there is a need for more opportunities that allow strong young players the option to pursue racquetball professionally. Because, that is a reflection of just how strong the sport of racquetball is in terms of growth.
You can watch a crisp looking feed, (provided you can figure out the times...) at Gearbox Live and see the draws here. In depth breakdowns will be available as usual from the experts on The Racquetball Blog.
The World Outdoor Racquetball Championships will begin it's 3 days of peaking today and can be watched for free on Ektelontv.com
(Provided you at least have a free script to EnetLive.tv. If you don't at least have this, you may not be a diehard racquetball fan...) Live Streaming Schedule (pacific time): Friday, July 11th - 1pm-6pm, Saturday, July 12th - 10am-6pm, Sunday, July 13th - 10am-5pm.