Get Out and Get Involved!
Courts reopening everywhere
With the COVID-19 pandemic in remission, it is an important time to note that facilities which saw closures since the spring of 2020 are open for play again. Many of us at this point are in a habit of not playing, but there will be benefits, to our health and to our sport, from shaking off the rust. Long before public health restrictions forced indoor courts to close, the trends were clear: participation in decline and demolition of courts all across the country. Below are some efforts to reverse those trends, ways to get involved, and a list of upcoming handball activities in our area.
First, get vaccinated.
Forget handball for a second! This one is universal. COVID-19 vaccines are free, safe, effective, and available to almost everyone. Visit Minnesota's Vaccine Connector website to schedule your vaccine if you haven't already received one. Encourage others to do the same, because we still face a pandemic of the unvaccinated.
Call for U of M handball instructors
The University of Minnesota is accepting applications, and one or two individuals may be hired for up to two sections of the Spring semester handball course. (Note: there currently is no handball instructor and Fall semester will not have a course.) Sought are individuals with advanced degrees, but anyone who can demonstrate leadership abilities, knowledge of the sport, and enthusiasm for scholastic rigor in their application may be considered. Course template materials may also be available through various sources.
Gopher Handball numbers have been in decline, especially recently due to court closures, and this may be difficult for them to recover from. But historically and potentially the U of M is one of the state's biggest suppliers of new players: as a key opportunity to discover a lifetime sport, the handball course is integral to that tradition. Sustaining handball activity at the U also helps to ensure that their premier facilities remain available to everyone.
So please consider applying and do not hesitate to do so! Instructors are typically hired several months in advance of their start date. Application information can be found here: https://hr.myu.umn.edu/jobs/ext/340269 (external applicants).
Kids on the Line
Modeled after Beyond Walls (Urban Squash), KOTL is planning to build programs that introduce at-risk Twin Cities youth to the game of handball while offering support and resources for health, education, and civic development. Visit kidsontheline.org for more information or to get involved.
The Northshore showcase
Spread the word about the annual Northshore Handball Tournament to any families who live in the Duluth area or who may be visiting the area in late August (two weeks before Labor Day weekend). (Follow and share Duluth Handball’s events on Facebook here.) Duluth YMCA and the tournament directors hope to see turnout for youth clinics and for spectating this showcase of talent from across the Upper Midwest (and beyond). As with fitness clubs everywhere, they need to find ways to draw back patrons now that the pandemic is abated, and hopefully handball can be a part of that. Indeed the Northshore is the springboard for efforts to attract and develop the next generation of players in the Duluth area. Any support is greatly appreciated.
USHA's Summer to Re-Member
The USHA has launched the Summer to Re-Member Drive to celebrate a return to the courts. Not only has the membership fee been reduced from $55 to $25; there are also incentives to spread the word. Recruit new or expired members, give them this link HERE, and have them refer you in the comments. For every sign-up referral, you get a raffle entry and a $5 credit at USHA's webstore. Top recruiters, both individuals and states, will receive additional rewards; click here for more information. (Deal expires August 31, 2021.)
Minnesota's Quinn Foley was ahead of the nation as of July 9th with 11 referrals. That's $55 in his pocket, the lead in races for a free case of handballs & a USHA swag bag, and the strongest chances at raffle prizes. He still holds the lead as of August 11th.
Parallel efforts are underway at St. Paul’s Merriam and Edgcumbe recreational facilities to keep one-wall going through the colder months, and to potentially have courts on reserve for inclement weather. Contact Mike McQuillan (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
A plan for three-wall courts in the Twin Cities is also in its embryonic stages. Contact Henry Arneson (email@example.com) to enquire about this endeavor.
Elite Series back online
The return of indoor 4-wall events means the resumption of the Minnesota Handball Elite Series. Three events remain in this year's now-unpaused Open circuit (schedule below): Rudy Harris (ND), Tallcorn (IA), and State Singles. As COVID-19 cancellations spanned 2020 and 2021, the year-end ranks and prize money will factor events as far back as 2019. Donations for the current year's awards, accepted through November, grant membership and voting rights in the Elite Series Committee. More information can be found at mnhandball.org/elite.
MN Wallball (Aug.27th-29th). Enter here: 2021 MN One Wall Invitational (GoogleDocs).
Tallcorn * (Oct.1st-3rd). Enter here: 72nd Tallcorn with Central Regionals (r2sports.com).
TC League (starts Oct.). Email Brian Mahaffy (firstname.lastname@example.org) for information.
State Doubles (Oct.22nd-23rd). Online entry coming soon.
Coney Island Doubles (~Oct./Nov.). Email Mike Kloos (email@example.com) for information.
State Singles * (Nov.19th-20th). Online entry coming soon.
*Elite Series event