The World Outdoor Racquetball Championships kicks off tomorrow with 225 players registered with start times. It's going to be a wonderful time filled with spectacular outdoor racquetball. Local pros matching up against the usual pro contingent that has taken to showing up annually. Though the growth has been pretty flat from this view, it's sustaining, which means there is room for growth.
Half of the 225 players waited to the last couple of days to register, which I consider lucky for them. I believe that had there been a significant marketing push earlier, many might have been locked out, or a better scenario would have been forced growth. A few years ago, I imagined things could be significantly bigger giving more to awareness about how fun this event really is. I imagined, most top pros not being able to rule out attending this event because it may have been too large a scale not to show. Or something of a must make happen deal.
Great news is that states are showing with continents. Arizona leads with 17 players registered, Missouri with 11 (They'll be on a safari of a new experience...) and Nevada showing 10 players attending. More good news is that my thoughts about global warming are suppressed a bit. The McDonalds are going strong with, like, their 37th or 38th straight year in attendance. 4 of them will be boosting Florida's number to 7 players. Somebody had to help Rob Mijares carry the coolers. :) All jokes aside, it's good that this event is something to shoot for when new outdoor players discover the scene.
My One Wall partner of 15+ years gets official recognition by the WOR Hall of Fame. Well deserved, though some of the info, like him earning the name "Ice Man" happened before he even picked up a racquetball racquet... but that's ok. People get it. And acknowledge.
Last year, I talked a bit about what things look like on the Women's Pro side of things. That hasn't changed much this year unfortunately. I think this has to be seriously considered by those looking to engage growth for this even. The Women's Pro Singles draw is down a player, from 8 last year, to 7 this year. (Though the match ups still will be fun to see.) The Pro Doubles draw sees a slight improvement with 9 teams, up two teams from last year. My feelings remain the same here.
I'm interested to see how this event echoes this year. Free for all to watch, starting tomorrow, courtesy of Ektelontv.com
On another racquetball-sport tip to look at would be a couple of non-profits to consider:
First, as always, The Military Racquetball Federation. Good people. Strong mission. Never in doubt.
Second, the newly introduced Reaching Your Dream Foundation. Though the mission is still being defined and program still being developed, it's ultimately all about creating growth and a climate that encourages talented players to pursue professional careers. Let's see where this goes.