Racquetball is a sport that with the smallest spark, grows into a raging wildfire.
Without that spark though, it does nothing. That small spark is you, and with the least amount of effort, you can start something really big.
Will you consider starting a fire today?
Frank Blevins, had recently moved to Skipburg, CA, and decided to visit his local fitness center to pick up a match or two of racquetball. After filling out the standard guest form, he headed for the courts. Back in Splatville, PA, he used to demonstrate his athletic prowess, and trounce any who dared to enter the court with him. He looked forward to proving his skills here in a new town as well. As he approached the hallway though, something was very wrong.. He turned and walked down the hallway finding darkened racquetball courts, and unusual sounds.. There was heavy breathing on court one, but to his dismay, it was a yoga class.. There was a thumping noise coming out of court 2, but disappointingly, it was music for the spin class. The other 4 courts were dark, empty, unswept, and unused except for the occasional people who came in to hit a ball around and wonder how one really plays the game. How many people, he wondered came down this hallway and wished they had someone to play with, someone to teach them how to play. He remembers his home facility, where the sound of the ball splatting into the wall, the cries of frustration from a player hitting a bad shot, and the screams of victory would all be deafening, yet a pleasing sound. What happened here?, he says to himself. Where did everyone go? It was all so much fun back home, such great exercise!. I made so many great friends! Then, he realized the seriousness of the situation.. Oh crap!, he thought..., I am going to have to get on a treadmill to get a workout in tonight! Ugh!
The thought was depressing and he just wanted to leave, to go find some other facility. But, he knew he had searched for other facilities, and this one was absolutely the most convenient to his work and home. He'd never consistently drive across town. Frank also wasn't much on leaving a situation he didn't like because of the current circumstances. Where others whined and complained, he pursued solutions and took action. He believed in having impact wherever he was, and he strove to leave a place better than the condition in which he found it. This place is ripe with opportunity for improvement, he thought. He chuckled to himself as he remembered one of his favorite quotes "If you have flies in your soup, it must be that you like them there."
Frank decided he would be the last one to walk down this hallway and wonder what happened. He knew what people were missing out on, and he was definitely NOT going to run on a treadmill for exercise. 10 minutes into a run, his body would scream in agony and his mind would ache in boredom. He knew he could play racquetball for hours!, until he could barely stand up, and never notice a moments pain or boredom. He knew he would burn thousands of more calories than with any other exercise, while having the time of his life in the process.
Rather than working out tonight, Frank headed up to the administrative offices and asked the facility manager what happened? The manager said, yeah, we used to have tons of racquetball players, but that was back in the 80's. Racquetball is in decline as a sport and there is nothing we can do but find other uses for the courts. The spin and yoga classes are keeping those two courts full 2 hours each night, at least when the instructor shows up. Sure, Frank thought, that fills the space for a couple of hours, but what about the rest of the day? After thinking a moment, Frank asked, would you mind if I posted a few things on the other court doors, and on the bulletin board? I'd like to see if I can get something going racquetball-wise.. The manager said sure!, and good luck! I think you are swimming upstream with a sport in decline, but go for it. With a grin, Frank said, I could use the exercise of swimming upstream. Thanks for letting me give it a go.
The next night Frank came to the club with a few things he'd printed out. On the bulletin board, and on each racquetball court door, he posted a sign that simply said: Hello!, my name is Frank Blevins. I am an average racquetball player, new in town, and am looking for others to play with. You will find me here every Tues and Thurs nights at 6:00 practicing my shots and waiting on your arrival. He put his contact information on the sign as well. After putting the signs up, Frank swept out court 3 and began practicing his shots. He'd take a break every so often and do some plyometrics for strength and conditioning. After an hour or so of this he left. The next time he came to the club, he again practiced shots and did his plyometrics, but he didn't get the much hoped for knock on the door.. On the 3rd night, though, he completely whiffed a ball when a knock at the door startled him. The door opened, and a middle aged man entered with his hand outstretched toward Frank. My name is Steve Phillips. Are you the Frank Blevins with the sign on the door? That I am, said Frank. Great!, said Steve. I saw your sign, and came here tonight hoping to see what you were made of. Frank and Steve found they were well matched. Neither was even close to being a professional player, but both would chase down any and all shots fired. They wailed away at the ball for over an hour, and came out gasping for air and drenched in sweat. Steve said, gosh Frank, that was the most fun I've had in years. I used to play a lot, but haven't had anyone to play with in a long long time. Will you be here next week? You bet said Frank. Would you mind if I added your name to my signs as a fellow player? No problem Steve said.
Over the next few weeks Frank had more and more people contacting him about getting in the program. Apparently many had walked down the same quiet hallway, but didn't know they had the power to change what they didn't like. After 6 months, Frank felt at home again. There was always a match to be found, and people thanked him over and over again for getting things started. New friendships were being forged, people were getting in great shape, and the club was moving the yoga class to a different space because of the high demand for court reservations. It is amazing, he thought, that just a simple sign on the door is all it took to start such a great thing. A buzzing sound approached, and Frank deftly swatted a backhand kill shot. I rather think I like the soup being served here now he thought. And he left the club for the evening exhausted and happy.
While this story is fiction, it is just barely that.. I have seen it happen many times in reality! People are waiting for the Franks of the world to just put up a sign. Can you do that?
Why go to the trouble you ask? OH!, it is not much trouble at all! What little effort there is, you will find more than worth it!!
You will be repaid over and over in lifetime friendships, frequent appreciation, resume bullet points!, and of course amazing fitness! Who knows, maybe even a few trophies!
If no-one takes these first steps, the sport will languish if not die at your university and the courts will be converted to yoga/spin classes...
Racquetball at most, if not all universities is a "club sport" rather than a varsity team.
It is a sport that student clubs setup and run.
If your university/college does not already have a racquetball club, they need YOU to start one as soon as possible!
Do not fear!, if you are not the state champion racquetball player.
What racquetball needs most is great leaders, not great players. Anyone can be a great racquetball leader! All it takes is a little communication.
If the story above is more than you have time for at the moment, here is a summary of why:
Regular meetings / play times are your number one tool for on going success.
People need to know that if they go to the trouble to come to the courts, someone will be there to play with.
If this one fundamental function is not done, the club will be doomed to fail.
Create a Facebook group for your club to discuss things.
Send communications via your challenge ladder software, Facebook, or email on a regular basis.
Remind everyone that you will be there for the meetings and what might be on the agenda for this week.
Yeah, this was mentioned in the "getting started" section as well, but it is definitely a part of on-going activities.
Since a college club constantly has members leaving the university, they need to be constantly be recruiting.
The leadership of your club should always have a backup.
If you are the only one doing things, when you leave, rest assured, your club will disappear.
Wouldn't it be great to have started the club, and when you return 20 years later, you found it still going strong!
They were unwilling to give 100 percent if they didn’t personally think it was important. What you don’t understand is the champions know it’s all important.
- Tony Dungy
The definition of success is really one of significance – the significant difference our lives can make in the lives of others.
- Tony Dungy
Lead and inspire people. Don’t try to manage and manipulate people. Inventories can be managed but people must be lead.
A leader’s role is to raise people’s aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there.
~David R. Gergen
A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.
The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.
Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
~Peter F. Drucker
A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves
If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.
I worry that something has gone seriously wrong with the way we run companies.
If you read the media coverage of our company, or of the technology industry in general, it’s always about the competition.
The stories are written as if they are covering a sporting event.
But it’s hard to find actual examples of really amazing things that happened solely due to competition.
How exciting is it to come to work if the best you can do is trounce some other company that does roughly the same thing?
That’s why most companies decay slowly over time.
They tend to do approximately what they did before, with a few minor changes.
It’s natural for people to want to work on things that they know aren’t going to fail.
But incremental improvement is guaranteed to be obsolete over time.
- Larry Page
A round robin shootout is the easiest thing to do.
In a round robin tournament, everyone plays everyone one game to 11 or 15, depending on how many courts you have and how much time.
You will need to allow 30 minutes per game. It seems like a game to 11 shouldn't last that long, but somehow it does..
So, if you only have 2 courts for 3 hours, the most players you can support are 12-14.
If you break them up into 2 groups, each player will play 5 games.
This will leave 30 minutes at the end for a tie-breaker game.
The more courts and time you have, the more divisions and players you can have.
A racquetball league is basically a round robin tournament spread over time.
If a league is short on time and has a lot of players, the round robin groups will be broken into smaller round robin groups (pool play) with play off matches between the winners of each group.
Winners of a league are based upon most matches won, or most total points.
Should there be a tie, the player who had previously won the individual match between the two players wins the league.
If there were a 3 way tie, and the previous sentence doesn't determine a winner, one could always have a game of cut-throat to determine a final winner.