League numbers remain steady for racquetball

Published 6:53 pm Saturday, August 18, 2012

By Kari Langen



The sound of screeching cross-trainers stopping midcourt is a common sound for a demanding workout for racquetball players.

New players and returning veterans face the challenge of mastering the guidelines and regulations of the exhilarating game. A faster paced game compared to other racquet sports, racquetball requires swifter movements and stronger control.

Many players remain on the court for improvement and competition. Players compete during the off-season on one of the three courts at the Albert Lea Family Y.

“A few return and some are new,” said Marilee Brown of the Y.

The Y is the single organization housing racquetball courts in the local area featuring a league.

League fees are $8 for members and $25 for nonmembers.

The league begins on Dec. 3, with registration beginning on Oct. 29 and ending on Nov. 21.

League members include members and nonmembers of the YMCA. Susie Hulst directs the league, and she tallies the scores of the matches to create the play-off brackets. Play-offs finalize the league’s champions after three to four months of play.

League members are paired to compete at the accommodation of the members. Players have choice on the time of the match.

The most congested playtime is the early mornings and noon hours. Lunch breaks are common periods at the racquetball courts. The average match is 20 minutes, allowing players to compete twice during their lunch break.

“Players should reserve the court previous to the match during league times,” said Brown.

There are three divisions based on skill the A, B and C leagues. The A league has the highest skilled competitors with the others progressing with skill to the C level.

“Over the years there were two A leagues, two B leagues and one C league. There were not enough people to keep the leagues full,” said Alicia Peterson of the Albert Lea Y. “Players should not have to play against each other over and over again.”

The Y dropped two leagues, retaining three leagues, because of lack of numbers.

Numbers in the league remain consistent with an average of 20 members for the previous three years. The roster listed 22 members for the league in 2011 with a male to female ratio of 21:1. Twenty members enlisted in 2010 with a male to female ratio of 19:1. Eighteen members enrolled in the league in 2009 with a male to female ratio of 18:1. Numbers based on registry of league members at the Y. The intensity of the sport requires drive for participants.

“Many individuals will cut from the league, but still remain in play,” said Peterson.

The majority of the people dropping from the league’s roster will remain to play casually.