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  • Freddy Ramirez

Racquetball: Hyper-local

Racquetball today is in some ways no different than it was throughout the history of the sport. Yes, with social, we are able to find out who does what and who is winning both professionally and at amateur events. And based on how deep your interest, you can pretty dig up results pretty quickly. Yet the events themselves still are experienced the same way, at a hyperlocal level. For instance, the International Racquetball Tour or the Ladies professional Racquetball Tour or the World Racquetball Tour all hit various locations on their schedules, and the experience is one that is primarily an injection of energy for a local racquetball community. The small amount of pro players are the ones who travel to that particular club while local players gear up for their arrival, mostly play in the accompanying lower divisions, and get to share time in the same space with the pro players. They talk and get more insight by the person-to-person contact with the pros than they would normally learn just by seeing their social feeds. It's after the fact, that social then plays a more significant role. Though, even that, to a large degree remains hyper-local.

Other events, where the participation largely consists of traveling players, such as the upcoming Intercollegiate Nationals, or this past Beach Bash, overtake the local experience. With more players traveling to the event, the local dynamic changes immensely. Styles and personalities, (in some case like outdoor racquetball, the rules), come together to create the environment. Local gets taken over by those most likely to create the reach and translate the feel of what racquetball events can be like. Making lifelong friends, learning about differences while sharing a common theme. This type of energy travels farther and turns hyper-local into a broader shared experience.

Racquetball is the same, yet different today. How do we push forward towards growth? Is it on the local level? And at what point does it need to transition to a larger more easily shared experience? Or does it just remain a relatively small subculture with even smaller sub-subcultures and an instantly identifiable name?

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