Weather in Georgia was going to be poor, so I drove off to Sarasota, Florida for a great weekend of racquetball. The 2015 Florida Pro-Am had more concerns about players ending up in two semifinals or finals matches across divisions, so they didn’t allow my attempted B/C entry. I ended up playing in the C division, the 40+/50+ C division, and the C doubles division. The age group and doubles divisions were round robin, guaranteeing matches on multiple days. The C division had 15 entrants, so we had a traditional single elimination bracket.
There are a few problems with having 146 players, playing in up to 3-4 divisions each, and only 6 courts, with one or two courts reserved for the pro matches. The biggest one for me (after the delays caused by winners disappearing and not refereeing the next match) was the disparity in matches per day. On Thursday, I played two matches, one in C singles and one in doubles. On Friday, I played one match, in the age C division. Three matches down, three wins. On Saturday, I had 3 matches scheduled and a fourth if I won the first one. I did win the first one that started at 8 am, in the C singles, so my fourth match of the day was on. Then I won my second/last age C match. The doubles match was scheduled for 4 pm, but started closer to 6. This one we took to the tiebreaker, but Hugo and Shane made great shots from all over to court to end it 11-10 in their favor. My fourth match of the day started about 15 minutes after that, and Rod was able to take advantage of my long day and extra long match just prior to win both games 15-13/15-13. (Rod did also play at 8 am, but then he left the tournament for a few hours and got other things done, he did ref matches.) On Sunday, I had one match, which would have been for first place against my US Open doubles partner Darryl, but instead it was for third place against Marco. Marco had a similar experience on Sunday to my Saturday, as he had to play out his round robin and then face me last. I would really liked to have seen Thursday’s matches start at 10 am or noon, rather than the 2 pm when they did start so that the round robin events could have gotten completed sooner. I think that I am probably done playing in the age division until I have a higher level of proficiency.
In between matches, I did get to watch some of the best players in the world play. Overall, I think that I will return to this tournament in 2016 if they hold it in that same location. I thought that this was much better than the 5 locations used for last year’s IRT Florida Spring Break Pro Am. The event was short almost 100 players (243 vs. 146), but having everything and everyone in the same place makes for the best environment and the best tournament.
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