Vol. 13, No. 4 | Contents
FROM THE EDITOR:
Virtually everything ...
I’m a big fan of the “print vehicle” (go figure) as a delivery method for just about every type of information I can imagine. I like getting real mail; I like to send cards for no reason. I don’t use a PDA and there are chunks of time in my schedule where it seems that my entire life is held together by small scraps of paper. Everywhere. I’ve simply got to write things down. It’s either that, or the lobotomy that I’ve been saving up for ...
At the same time, I’m fond of the immediacy offered by the internet (hey, it prints?!) and the flexibility of news delivery at the speed of an upload, rather than going through all that icky film, paper and ink ... and anthrax! Nothing makes me happier than being able to say “it’s on page 52, in the magazine” or “it’s on the website” in answer to just about any question. Between the two forms, I’m pretty much covered, and I’m just as likely as anyone to flip through physical pages of a back issue, or resort to surfing, to find some critical bit of information. And I know where all the bodies — um, facts and figures — are buried, too ... so if it’s published, I can find it. Somewhere.
So, where is this heading? Hopefully, direct to your own laptop (where the cat sits) or to your desktop (where the PC sits). In a move designed to “lighten the load” on state organizations, the USRA board recently approved a modified “publication requirement” which will allow your neighborhood association to replace up to two quarterly newsletters per year with a dynamic, frequently-updated, knock-your-socks-off website. Both the print and internet components of the requirement will continue to be underwritten by your fees (one-third of all membership monies stay with state associations), so we think it’s do-able. I tried to sneak our operation into the mix, but they caught me ... I’ve still got to produce six print issues a year ...
So, rather than being able to simply count how many state newsletters are being printed annually, we’ll be looking for virtual watchdogs to check out the cyber-environment of your racquetball community. We’ll do the physical count (1-2, 1-2), but you’ll have to help us track the websites. The basics? A tournament calendar, a comprehensive state club list with contact names/numbers, a board list, rankings, standard newsletter content/tournament reporting, links to USRA sites and membership sign-ups. Better? Online registrations and drawsheets, opt-in player databases (“find a player” service), archives of state championship winners, award records, historical data, tips & instructional from local players ... in short, virtually everything that’s fit to print!
State websites will have to be updated at least quarterly, but it will ultimately be the users who will have the best feel for what is needed, and what’s working. Compare the two methods: print and internet, and see which form you use the most to gather information that will help your game, and keep you playing. We’re counting on you to give feedback to both your state association, and the national office, on your findings. Ready ... set ... surf!
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