Juliet Campbell, President of the Conneticut Racquetball Association, requested I publish her following thoughts:
(published by Stan Shaw)
I've received several phones of late from concerned CRA members about the bashing of mysefl and the CRA that is taking place on the internet at the hands of an anonymous author using a pen name.
first things first, the CRA is alive and well, actively working with clubs and YMCAs, promoting racquetball throughout Conneticut, Western Mass. and Southeastern, New York. Our goal is and always has been to promote the game of racquetball and introduce both young and old to an activity that they can participate in for a lifetime.
Players are asking who or what is this Nutmeg Racquetball. If the information we have received, Nutmeg Racquetball is made up of a number of individuals who fall into one or more of the following categories:
|individual(s) who have been banned from several clubs in Conn.
for unethical and unprofessional behavior
|individual(s) who have been let go as club pros for
unethical and unprofessional behavior
|former board members at large who were either asked to resign
or were reomoved from the board
|individual(s) who felt the rules apply to everyone, but them
(entry deadlone, check in 30 minutes prior to the scheduled match
no-show fee, etc.)
|individual(s) who don't like the promotion system|
|or in the case of one individual who joined the USRA under an
assumed name in order to "sandbag" on an out of state tournament
It could be said that Nutmeg Racquetball is really nothing more than a group of individuals who have exhibited unethical and/or unprofessional behaviour. They are only interested in what is in their own personal interest and not interested in what is best for the game of racquetball on the whole.
Since the fall of 193, the state of Connecticut has lost 79 racquetball courts. That is equal to 10 facilities each having 8 courts (ok you want to be technical 7.9). The current norm for Conn. is 4 courts or less in a facility. Who is to blame? We all are Instead of making sure that we bring new people into the game on a regular basis, we have left it to someone else. Let the CRA do it. The clubs should be doing it, that's the job of the club pro, the league coordinators... that's their job, etc., etc., etc. The net result is as stated above...we've lost 79 courts in 5 years.
In an effort to deal with the lack of court space, tournament players with time requests along with incorporating the use of facilities with 4 courts, and the large tournament draws of both the Conn. Cup and the Jim Backus, we introduced the game format of 2 out of 3 games to 11 points. (For the record, 60% of tournament players like the new format, 15% don't like it, 15% don't like it but understand why we did it and 10% don't care what the format is, as long as they have the opportunity to play).
Tournament particpation on a whole throughout the Tri-State area and New England is down anywhere from 10-25%. Why you ask? Sanctioned tournaments scheduled on back to back weekends, too many sanctioned tournaments scheduled on the same weekend in neighboring states, players starting families or having kids go off to college or grad. school, players with jobs that are time intensive, players who have moved out of the state or players out injured. And in the case of several players, the loss of their jobs or divorce.
So what is a state director and a tournament director to do? You try and address and answer as many of the questions and issues as possible within the parameters you are given. There are no perfect answers. Each year we evaluate what is taking place, address the issues and hopefully come up with workable solutions.
The face of racquetball is changing. Currently, the average age of tournament players is 35+. The majority of these players are interested in playing time, not playing in draws where it is single elimination or playing in consolation matches scheduled at 8:00 am Sunday morning. Thanks to the Junior Development Program, we have approximently 75 new kids playing racquetball in leagues, along with 9 members of Team Connecticut. (These are our juniors who receive one on one training, play in tournaments throughout New York and New England, along with Regionals, Nationals and in some cases the World Games).
So let me pose a few questions. What are you doing to promote the game of racquetball and get more people involved? How many hours per week are you giving up to work with beginners and juniors? Have you become an AM/Pro certified instructor or USRA certified referee? Are you doing anything to give back to the game of racquetball? Or are you just interested in your own agenda?
I've got news for you...the writing is on the wall. In a couple of years it won't be a question of whether the format is 2 games to 15 points with an 11 point tie-breaker is better than 2 out of 3 games to 11 points. The question will be .....Where Can We Play?
The writing is on the wall... the architects are doing their walk-thrus, plans are being drawn up. If you think by the end of the year 2000 there will be any clubs left in the stats with 6 courts. You Are Wrong, Dead Wrong!
Juliet O. Campbell