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  • Freddy Ramirez

Starting Things Off; Board Straight

The new year means a chance to start things off fresh. In many ways that's just a feeling. The truth is you have to pick up where you left off. So, I'll re-phrase it. You pick things up where you left off with a new attitude. So I'll be trying to have a new attitude as I think and play racquetball. Positive. And open to things I may have been closed off from because of my thinking. The tricky part is figuring that out.

In October and November, I had a few conversations with some people about maybe contributing to the sport in a different capacity by running for the Board of Directors for USA Racquetball. I instinctually, felt that having what I consider a non-traditional involvement with the sport could be a good thing and those initial talks were very positive.

I decided to throw myself into exploring this move by formally emailing my 200 word letter of intent to the board. They acknowledged receiving it and informed me they would let me know in January what their decision would be. Yesterday, I received an email from the USAR election committee chair, it read,

"Once again I would like to thank you for your interest in the USAR Board. There were a number of qualified candidates 'competing' for a limited number of slots on the board approved slate. It was an extremely hard decision as we made our choices and while you are a very qualified candidate I am sorry that you were not selected. If you are still interested in running for the board the election committee encourages you to take advantage of petition process. I am attaching the petition process and the Master USAR Petition Form. Please note the deadlines and if you have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to contact me via cell phone or email. One more thing please remember you must be a current USAR Indoor member.

Again thank you for your interest."

Despite not being selected on the board approved slate, it was pretty positive, in the encouragement to continue if I am still interested. I'll also note the last line. "One more thing please remember you must be a current USAR Indoor member." A current USAR Indoor member... (I could hear "but he's not a member")... (It used to be, early in the WOR/USAR connection days that being a member of WOR provided membership to the USAR...what is it now, exactly? Covering and supporting each other's events?)

When I sent the initial letter, I was well aware I wasn't a card carrying USAR member yet. I knew that this would be requirement that would be met by me while I gathered friends to assist in the signature gathering process. I actually had it on my "take care of at the New Year list", but the informing email seemed like providence to me. As I looked to become a member this morning, I began to think on what the direct benefits to me could be aside from the chance to support the organization and the listed benefits. I considered the groups that I think of when I hear the word member. The large groups of people I know who pick up a racquet religiously, yet have no direct connection with the USAR because they either don't play sanctioned events or don't play indoor. It was this consideration that drove me to explore running for the board.

I have just, very recently, begun to play indoor regularly. Right now, there are about 7 people who I step indoor with. Of those 7, only 2 are current USAR members, because they played a sanctioned event recently. Everyone in the group is a committed indoor player. I feel I need to ask the other 5 why they aren't members. And I'm also thinking, there is an Open One Wall tournament this weekend. I want to ask around, what, if anything, the USAR means to these players. When I do officially become a USA Racquetball member and while I ponder continuing my interest in running for the board, I'll have a clearer idea why those groups, closest to me regularly, aren't connected to the USAR.

A little more today...

I'm looking forward to seeing how the heavy half of the IRT season starts of this weekend in Cali. At the end of the year, I start thinking of starting fresh on the Facebook Page with images. Over the last 2+ years I've posted thousands of images. (Restrung members can access older ones.) I threw this together... well over 900 images in 2 minutes... people.

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