The Balling @ 3 Wall Ball
The only way you'll get a feeling of what's going on at this fantastic event, if you're not there, is catching the IRT Network and World Players of Handball Live and following along on Social. (What you'll see on Social totally depends on which random posts you and your friends spend time engaging on.) The fun is in being there. It's without a doubt the biggest outdoor venue in the country. Hosting well over 500 racquetball and handball players it's a crazy and unique environment. This event is all about getting players from around the country together. 12 courts, Vegas, night play, outdoor... all fun. You can keep up with current match results across the board here.
My wish list for this event would be a growing pro draw. Outdoor just isn't where the promise is. It's racquetball's most communicative form and we just don't get things. We want exposure, but keep running in circles trying to get it. We literally ask others to do it for us. Start with websites. Why bother having them if you have social? Because that's all we use. And who controls social? I think we confuse "social" with "content".
Ok, getting off frustration...
Checking the draws with interest, I see Carson and Beltran will have to win 4 matches to repeat as 3 Wall Ball champs. They will first play Jake Brendenbeck and Sebastian, two top WRT players giving outdoor some time. and in singles, Rocky and Alvi of course are set to meet in the Men's Pro Final again, barring an upset or two. (I don't know what shape Daniel is in, so I can't speculate there.) Where's Ben? (Who usually only plays doubs.) And what's the "why" behind IRT players not seeing this as a must? (It's easy to speculate and anyone who does will probably touch on the same reasons... reasons I had hoped Outdoor would have addressed by now.) Another thing, with the Gearbox Bus rolling in, the WRT guys should have been filling those pro singles draws. But for now, Carson and Beltran look set for repeats or at least a good showing in the case, that, Cliff and Tucker prove their WOR Championships pedigree. Either way, plenty of motivation for these guys.
And the Ladies... The Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour doesn't have a conflict with the Abierto Mexicano De Racquetas. (...which is misspelled on their website. I think it's how they view view this event in general. I've written in the past how they are missing the boat with opportunity.) Since there is no conflict, that means Rhonda Rajsich shows. She's already lost to Jessica Parrilla in her first match. Jessica is ranked #24 on the LPRT, so I see two possibilities from here. Either Rhonda just wasn't feeling it or Jessica is a way better outdoor player than she is indoor, which I like because it makes things wildly interesting. 8 women in the pro singles draw. 5 teams in the Women's Pro Doubles draw. When I compare that with the Men's Pros which has 17 teams, I ask again, where are the women? (I'm speculating the same answers would be had as my previous questions.) Would things have been really toasty had Paola and Maria shown up?
And the Hands vs Racquets thing. I would have loved to have been there for this one. It will be a wild affair. It's getting play on ESPN3 thanks to the handball side. Interesting how this national coverage is giving racquetball some play. Not quite reflective of how we play the game. Well, some of us. Exposure is exposure right? And it's all good.