The squeaking sound of sneakers hitting the pavement, cheering voices and the sound of the ball going in all directions greets fans at the racquetball courts. But this past weekend, players were not only gathered for the love of game, but also to contribute to a cause.
Racquetball players of all ages gathered in the Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center for the UM Doubles and Collegiate Shootout Tournament, two tournaments in one with about 70 participants. The doubles tournament was sanctioned by the U.S. Racquetball Association (USRA) and it was open to the public. The other USRA sanction tournament was for collegiate Florida schools. UM, the University of Florida, Palm Beach College and Palm Beach Atlantic University participated in the event.
Every year, the tournament raises money to donate to a charity of its choice. This year, the racquetball club and Phi Delta Epsilon joined forces to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network. The charity event had a silent auction and a raffle. Around $700 were raised during the two-day tournament.
The racquetball club consists of eight team members who are UM students and 25 club members who are associated with UM, including professors and graduate students. They meet every Wednesday and Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in courts two and three at the Wellness Center.
The racquetball club has earned notoriety under the leadership of Alain Pujolar. Pujolar, president of the UM racquetball club and member of Phi Delta Epsilon, is currently ranked as the No. 1 collegiate player in Florida under the U.S. Racquetball Association. This past weekend, Pujolar won the collegiate tournament in both singles and doubles.
“We had a good turnout, I am really happy that we were able to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network,” Pujolar said.
The Racquetball team hosts two big tournaments. SplapFest, held in October, is open to all UM students. It is a festival to encourage people who are interested in playing raquetball, regardless of skill level. The first and second place winners of SplapFest will receive a medal and racquetball gear. The Great Balls of Fire tournament is open to the public and is held during spring.
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