Running a Racquetball tournament: What I learned

The PSRA held its first tournament of the season September 20th through 22nd, and it marked the first time that I directed a tournament.

 

I was excited, but admittedly a little nervous. With the help of fellow board member Josh Reddinger, and friend Travis Aldinger, I made my way through the dated, confusing, and complicated software that R2 provides.

 

I didn’t quite realize the magnitude of how important scheduling matches was until late Saturday night and Sunday morning during the tournament. There were a lot of things I could have done better, but also a lot of things that went really well.

 

I tried my hardest to accommodate all time restraints, and didn’t make anyone from out of town play Friday. I tried to have refs available for all matches because I know how much it sucks to self-ref. I was always honest, and didn’t mislead anyone if the tournament was running behind.

 

I hope everyone enjoyed themselves (most communicated to me that they did), and I also hope everyone will continue to come out and play, and support the sport, and the PSRA. I look forward to running another event, and putting my lessons learned to use. But also, I am looking forward to it because of the positivity the racquetball community showed me. We are a strong group, and when we work together, I believe there is no way the sport of Racquetball won’t grow. Whether it’s a sport we instill in our children, or just through a friend, like the 3 or 4 new players we had come out this tournament. The board paid for a few dozen renewed memberships, along with a few new faces we had to create USAR accounts for. Several players who were new to racquetball not only came out to their first tournament, but also played well, and won several matches.

 

Players like myself are important to the sport, but not nearly as important as players like Brandon Fuhrman, who played in his first tournament, and not only won the C division, but finished 7th our of 18 in Men’s B. Or players like Bob Dodge Sr., Kevin Comer and Geoff Heskett, who hadn’t played in tournaments at all for years, and decided to participate. Or players like Aaron Dardani, who traveled from New York. I personally thank you for coming, and hope you all will not only continue to play events in Pennsylvania, but utilize your membership and continue to play in events in all states throughout the year.

 

I want to thank Travis Aldinger and Tim Page, Josh, the rest of the board, and everyone that came out and participated and reffed matches. It was challenging, but a ton of fun. Without having a great facility to hold these events at, the state of racquetball in PA would be much worse off.  Also, a huge thank you to Rodney Hake for supplying the pizza and subs, along with Quaker Steak and Lube. Rodney is a big reason why the last two events were successful, and allows the board to extend offers like paying for USAR memberships.

 

I would like to leave you all with one thought.

 

Next time you play in a tournament, consider everything that goes into it. From the sliced bananas, to booking hotels, to managing scheduling around every players’ time constraints – it is a lot. Not to mention that the director must be present from 7:30 until the last match on Saturday and Sunday. It’s a lot, and the goal is to always have a great event that runs on time, and that everyone enjoys. But complaining is probably the least productive thing to do. I bring this up not because anyone at my tournament complained, but because I am guilty of this in the past.

 

If you’re upset about something at a tournament, it’s the last thing a director wants to hear, and on top of that, they are busy running the tournament, and probably not going to remember or care what you’re saying while they

 

worry about what court is open, and who’s going on next, or checking someone in. If there’s something you have to get off your chest and express to the director, do it once the event is over in an email or phone call.

 

I have now seen what it’s like on the other side, and it’s not easy.  73 players and 4 courts wasn’t easy, but it was manageable. I can’t imagine having 4 courts and 100 players, or 7 courts and 130 players.

 

This year, as I plan to play in events with large turnouts like Wintergreen, and the New Jersey Open, I will certainly have new found respect for the directors (Tracie, Ryan, Meredith, Jon, etc.). And when they ask me to ref, or my match at 3pm doesn’t start until 5, I will be a lot more sympathetic. I ask that you all show a similar understanding of how involved running a tournament can be.

 

Thanks again, and I’m excited to see you all out on the courts!

 

Mike Spiro

 

 

PSRA Blog – New Jersey Open

The State of Pennsylvania was represented well at the New Jersey Open IRT Tier 4 event last weekend not only in presence, but in performance as well!

Twenty Five of the 167 participants were from the state including 3 Board members. The tournament featured two of the top players from the IRT, Mario Mercado and Sebastian Franco. Also, many of the top players from around the east coast, as well as Pennsylvania participated.

While the Pro singles ended as most would have guessed with the two pros facing off, the Open Doubles final was arguably the highlight of the tournament, as Pennsylvania’s own Travis Aldinger and Seth Parker took Mercado and Franco to a tiebreak, losing 6-15, 15-12, 4-11. Watch the video I took here – Travis/Seth vs. IRT Pros in Warren, NJ

Additionally, Derrick Girouard had a great showing in the Men’s IRT consolation bracket, as well as the Men’s 30+ Singles, finishing second in both divisions, after a long three days of matches.

Visit the PSRA Facebook page for photos and videos of the event. Visit the R2 page for more results of the tournament.

Here is a list of the rest of the weekends winners:Racquetball Tournament in Warren, NJ USA

Tyler Aldinger – 1st Place Men’s D

Linda White – 2nd Women’s A

Marty Hammond – 3rd Place Men’s 30+

Dan Spiro / Hal Spiro – 3rd Men’s C Doubles

Joe Kelley / Sam Kelley – 3rd Men’s Open Doubles

Dan Spiro – 2nd Place Men’s C

Rob Fehnel – 3rd Place Men’s C

Upcoming regional events …

Wintergreen in Laurel, Maryland

Delaware State Doubles (Same weekend as Wintergreen unfortunately)

PA State Singles

Spring Shootout – York, PA (Link will be added later 4/1/17)

 

– Mike Spiro

 

 

PA Racquetball Board Resolutions

In the past year and a half, the PSRA Board has made a concerted effort to promote the sport of racquetball, incentivize tournament directors to run sanctioned events, and reward all Pennsylvania players with membership benefits.

Here are all of the following items that have been approved by the PSRA Board:

  • Offer Free USAR Membership Tournaments – All USA Racquetball sanctioned tournaments require participants to be USAR members – a $50 annual cost.
    • In 2015-16, we held 2 tournaments (1 in Pittsburgh, 1 in Philadelphia) that charged a fixed entry fee and then rewarded all PA members with a paid-for USAR Membership.
    • In 2016-17, we are having 3 tournaments (1 in Easton, 1 in Pittsburgh, 1 in State College) that will again charge a fixed entry fee in return for a paid-for USAR Membership. This will reach more of the PA membership with this benefit as we target the east, west, and central areas of the state.
  • Incentivize Tournament Directors to Run Sanctioned Events
    • All tournament directors can apply for a $500 award in order to offset club rental costs at the conclusion of their PA sanctioned event and after the event has been finalized in r2sports within 14 days.
    • All tournament directors can receive discounted Head/Penn balls from the PSRA. At the conclusion of their PA sanctioned event and after the event has been finalized in r2sports within 14 days, they can then apply for a full reimbursement of the cost of the racquetballs.
    • All tournament directors can apply for a full reimbursement of the cost of sanctioning an event at the conclusion of their PA sanctioned event and after the event has been finalized in r2sports within 14 days.
    • All tournament directors can apply for a full reimbursement of the cost of all PA Junior entry fees at the conclusion of their PA sanctioned event and after the event has been finalized in r2sports within 14 days.
    • All tournament directors can apply for a 50% reimbursement of the cost of all PA Collegiate entry fees at the conclusion of their PA sanctioned event and after the event has been finalized in r2sports within 14 days.
  • Reward Junior Participation in Tournaments
    • All PA juniors will have no entry fee cost for any PA sanctioned tournament.
  • Reward Collegiate Participation in Tournaments
    • All PA collegians (including PA residents attending college outside of PA) will have 50% of their entry fees discounted for any PA sanctioned tournament.
  • Welcome to 3 new PSRA Board Members: Mike Kehoe, Anthony Saba, and Mike Spiro

State Championship Change of Venue

  • Many of you may have hard that there has been a change of venue for the 2014 Pennsylvania State Championship this year. Because of the construction at Penn State, the indoor track area is closed. It has been decided to have the tournament at Bethlehem Racquetball Club. The 2015 Pennsylvania State Championship will be held at Penn State.