The Washington Racquetball Association was formed many years ago by individuals who saw the need for unity among private clubs with racquetball courts, players who were seeking venues to meet and play, certified instructors, and a structure for more organized activities like tournaments including state/regional/national and worldwide play, inter-club challenges and much more. I view those visionaries as pillars in our community whose legacy has endured nearly 40 years. Along the way, there have been several iterations of the WRA, numerous leadership teams, innumerable tournaments, countless hours of instruction and friendships formed in clubs, colleges and universities, community centers, outdoor facilities across the state. Many of these friendships have endured shrinking facility trends, a pandemic, changes in rules of play, frequency of gatherings, and evolution of equipment. Friendship is another pillar of our unique sport. One of our esteemed members wrote an article a few years ago describing the experience at racquetball facilities as individuals “Third Place”, a place that is valuable in so many different ways and fills a need in their lives.
I re-joined the WRA board in March of 2018 after about a 16-year hiatus. In August of 2020, I assumed the role of President after Rocco Vega completed his terms. As I have taken the reigns, I have come to realize that there is a new set of pillars that I rely on heavily. The dedicated and passionate team of fellow board members are a pillar in their own right. We are endeavoring to evolve the WRA to meet new realities, restore past capabilities and relationships while protecting the vision of the founders. I must admit that I seriously underestimated the undertaking. My racquets are tipped in the direction of all the past presidents and dedicated board members.
My first year of Presidency was spent in relative obscurity as our sport was still under the restrictions of the pandemic. Our board of directors was small and there were very few events to plan or support. We did have two one day events during the 2021-2022 season thanks to Jessie Scott and others at the Bellingham Athletic Club and Yen-Vy Van (Board Secretary) at the Kent Commons. I tried to reach out to many members, traveled to at least 17 different venues across the state to play in in-house events or challenge court format games. I also took an
inventory of all the places to play racquetball around the state; forwarding this to a website that aggregates key location information nationwide. I appreciate all the conversations and passion that the players in all these locations have shared with me.
My second year of service has been far more administrative in nature than year one. Again, I am relying on the pillar of your board to execute key initiatives.
Yen-Vy Van has served wonderfully as your Secretary since being elected in 2020, keeping track of all formal discussions and continuously reminding me of outstanding issues. Her constant encouragement coupled with speaking up for the players in her sphere of influence is noteworthy. She also has already run our first one day event of the 2022-2023 season with 40 players.
Bill Napier currently serves as your Director of Outreach and Education. Bill was on the board when I rejoined. His legacy knowledge has been invaluable. His vast connections in the competitive player community and his unquestioned ethics and competency provides great strength to our organization.
Phil Nelson has been serving as your Treasurer since being elected in 2020, keeping all the banking and financial records in good standing. Additionally, he has offered support in some of the technical areas of our website and Facebook page while our Media Director position was vacant.
Micah Miller recently came to the board and offered his expertise and assistance with our media needs including website and Facebook page. After a short period of time working with him, I recommended him to the rest of the board to fill the vacant position of Director of Media. He was unanimously accepted. Micah has hit the ground running and has revamped our Facebook page. He is currently attempting to overcome a critical error in our website which is hampering our ability to provide a platform for comprehensive communication with the membership and the community (critical error is fixed and the website is up and running).
Collectively this board is my pillar for board activities and leadership. They keep me on track and serve all of you admirably.
I am incredibly excited to share what we are working towards on your behalf. Right around the corner we have the Fall Classic at the Bellingham Athletic Club on November 19. We have 6 indoor tournaments scheduled for the first 5 months of 2023 including our first set of State Championships to be held at the WAC on January 28 and 29 (R2 site under development). We have developed a dynamic tournament calendar tool for the website (under repair) and a full list is available on our Facebook page. You will see that sanctioned and unsanctioned events are geographically dispersed from Bellingham to Spokane, from Seattle to Vancouver. There are gaps in the calendar that could be filled if we had more venues and tournament directors, an ongoing discussion that you are welcome to join with me. We are actively recruiting new members to join the board for the following positions: Director of Junior and Collegiate Development, Director of Fundraising, Director of Outdoor Events (new), Special Events and Promotion (new), Director of Tournament Oversight and Director of Referee Certification Oversight (new). Until all these positions are filled, they default to the President. Under Micah’s leadership we are hoping to pilot live streaming capability at events for the coming season.
The board is hosting a brief open discussion this coming Sunday afternoon at 2:00 pm via Zoom. All of you are invited. We will cover the content of this President’s message, other board initiatives currently planned for 2023 as well as open the meeting to discussion with each of you. The meeting is only 40 minutes long since we don’t have a paid Zoom Subscription. Feel free to share this invitation with anyone in Washington who might be interested. The meeting invite link is below
David Stob is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: WRA Open Discussion
Time: Nov 13, 2022 02:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/77762838920?pwd=Y6hRd1euPD6ghDIP4UnNKm3XJpTG19.1
Meeting ID: 777 6283 8920
David Stob, President
Washington Racquetball Association