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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Chancellor John Sharp during a Board of Regents meeting discussing the appointmet of interim dean Mark Welsh and discussion of a McElroy settlement on Sunday, July 30, 2023 in the Memorial Student Center.
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A&M racquetball hopes for return to normalcy

The+Student+Recreation+Center+is+currently+open+at+50+percent+capacity.
Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver

The Student Recreation Center is currently open at 50 percent capacity.

Last spring, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas A&M’s racquetball team only competed in one of its scheduled tournaments.
The team wasn’t allowed to participate in any tournaments in the fall semester, and there still isn’t a concrete timetable for them to start this spring, said senior team President Todd Zidek.
“[Rec Sports is] talking about [this] semester, but they keep telling us they have no idea and know just as much as us,” Zidek said.
During a typical season, the team would attend four to five tournaments, hosting one and traveling to the others. This season, sophomore officer Billy Stalder said their hope is to attend at least one tournament.
“For this season hopefully we can make a tournament or two,” Stalder said. “[We’re] just building up the team and figuring out what we can do during this time of COVID[-19].”
The team is currently only allowed to practice at reserved Rec courts twice a week. Per COVID-19 protocols, half of the team practices on one day and the remainder practices on the other, senior officer Nicolas Rhodes said. He also stated each member is only allowed to play against each other for 15 minutes at a time.
“[There are a] good amount of rules to follow for safety,” Rhodes said. “We were a little scared at first, but they’ve been working out.”
Recruitment has also been more difficult, Stalder said, as the team wasn’t able to participate in Rec-a-Palooza or MSC Open House — the two primary ways the team finds new members.
“This year since we haven’t been allowed to play we haven’t been able to pick up as many people,” Stalder said. “We’ve gotten a few, and hopefully we can get more now that we’re going to start [playing].”
Stalder said part of the team’s current focus is on adding more active members to its roster, which currently boasts 10 to 12 members. Stalder’s goal is 20 active players.
The team is recovering from losing some of its most talented players over the last couple of years, Zidek said.
“The team is in a rebuilding stage right now,” Zidek said. “[We’re] still trying to get people to learn how to play the game and everything.”
One of Rhodes’ favorite parts of being on the team is the varying skill levels he gets to play against. A lot of what it takes to be successful at the sport is just being able to play, Rhodes said. The team is hoping to start playing with some of the professors that play racquetball so they can coach members of the team, Rhodes said.
“I definitely miss the days of being able to just show up to the courts and find people,” Rhodes said. “[I] made a lot of new friends that way.”
Stalder said while he would like to eventually place in nationals, right now he is content to recruit more members and build his skill level. An important part of his success, he said, is playing with experienced players and learning from them.
“[We’re] just meeting people who can give you advice and show you the best way to play the sport,” Stalder said.

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