The 40th anniversary year for the NM Racquetball Association is 2017. As one of the first state affiliates to organize under the IRS 501C3 code for non-profits, it maintains momentum and continuity from the leadership of its Board of Directors. Previous attempts to organize a state association came from Carl Brand and Dr. Jack Reznik. The first State Championships were held in 1974 at New Mexico State University with 24 participants. The NM Racquetball Association was recognized by two national governing bodies (AARA & USRA) until 1980.
Follow some anecdotes from its past:
…1977 Founded by Clay Childs, Gary Mazaroff, and Rick Wright.
…1979 State Championships were held at Supreme Courts in Albuquerque.
The Mens C division had 70 players, with a total draw of 330.
…1980 Southern Colorado and West Texas communities were formally recognized
as part of New Mexico Racquetball.
…1981 Held the first State Intercollegiate Championships at Tom Young’s Albuquerque.
…1983 Sponsored a group of six elite juniors to attend the National Juniors in Fishkill, NY.
…1985 Inspired by John Koller and Ralph Waddington; hosted the first National Masters in NM.
…1989 The North American 40+ Tournament became the IRF World Senior Championships.
…1991 The World Senior event registered 403 players with 104 women.
…1992 Two clubs closed 30 days apart; Academy Court Club & Rio Grande Sporting Club.
…1997 Golds Gym in Amarillo sanctioned a tournament under NM Racquetball.
…2001 The State Doubles attracted over 200 players.
…2007 A PARC (Pan American Racquetball Confederation) Coaching License course held in Albq.
…2012 Sanctioned over 20 events throughout New Mexico and Southern Colorado.
…2016 University of New Mexico Johnson Center was a venue for the 32nd WSRC.
Other –Operated the Rocky Mountain Regionals four times.
–Hosted four Tier One mens and womens pro stops.
–Currently has raised over $440,000 for the IRF ‘Olympic Dream/Development’ campaign.
–The NM Intercollegiate Scholarship named for Dr. Damian Jelso.
–IRF World Senior Doubles held at Pojoaque Wellness Center.
–Contributes to other charitable organizations; ALS Fouindation,Boys/Girls Clubs,
Collegiate institutions, Parks & Recreation Departments, Pennies for the Homeless,
USA Racquetball National Teams, and others.
–Two past Presidents—Gary Mazaroff and Ralph Waddington.
–Longest serving board member is Terry Lauritsen.
Iconic No Longer:
The Tom Young legacy of clubs has disappeared! Most recently, the last one standing (at 305 E Foster in Las Cruces) was purchased by an investment group from El Paso. Our liason, David Castro says that the club was built and operated in 1974 by former NM Governor Jerry Apodaca and HS Football Hall of Famer Jim Bradley. Tom Young Sr. purchased it to add to his cadre of clubs in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Hobbs, and El Paso. The second largest city in New Mexico is now left with two facilities with indoor courts; NM State University and Meerscheidt Rec Center.
To those having worn the Open ring for New Mexico Racquetball; including Jan Corsie,Jesi Fuller, Rachel Gellman, Terry Latham, Brenda Young; Jack Blystone, Jesse Harden,Ray Maestas, Tom Neill, Jim Owen, Louis Vogel; and a host of others.
Quotes for the Times
In response to why the Tucumcari Club is named the ‘Z’ the manager says,
‘It is not good enough to be a ‘Y’.
‘I am sorry you lost; but, the outcome saved my marriage’
After having been humiliated 3-0 (11-3, 11-2, 11-1) in his match, the loser says;
‘The only reason you won is because of your serve’
‘Enter me in the division two times; one on top and the other on the bottom’
After having won the match 21-3, 21-4 the winner states;
‘ I played like crap!’
Down 1-10 in the tiebreaker;
‘We have them where we want them’
‘We have no plans to take away courts’
Ten months later two courts are transitioned
As the calendar year winds down, we wish for all a healthy HOLIDAY SEASON! Look for a 40 year Celebration of New Mexico Racquetball summer of 2017.