The Spc. John A. Pelham Memorial Tournament of Champions returned to the MAC club December 5 to December 8, 2019! Hundreds of racquetball players from all over the Northwest and many of the top ranked IRT Professional racquetball players from around the world created a special racquetball experience in Portland. Special events included MRF doubles, where players and Pros competed to benefit the Military Racquetball Federation. The tournament also featured beginner and intermediate high school divisions.
Proceeds from the event benefited the Live Like John Foundation and its supporting charities. We also collected donations of gently used equipment to support junior/military racquetball programs through our Give Like John program.
Thanks to all of our sponsors and volunteers for a great event! Contact us today to learn about sponsorship opportunities for our next event.
HIGH SCHOOL PLAYERS
The Tournament of Champions welcomes high school players! There will be intermediate (ranking 1050 to 1199) and beginner (1050 and below) divisions for both boys and girls singles. Each division will have availability for a limited amount of players. If you are ranked higher than 1199, talk with your coach about playing in the adult division.
LIVE LIKE JOHN | PLAY LIKE JOHN
2nd Annual John Pelham Memorial Racquetball Tournament – 2016
The reality, for many of us, is that our worst day of racquetball is still a good day - and that our racquetball community exists somewhere between friendship and family. John Pelham will never know these subtle truths again. On February 7, 2014 he wrote on his Facebook page, “I can’t wait to play racquetball again.” On February 12, just five days later, Army Specialist John Alexander Pelham passed away due to wounds he sustained from small-arms gunfire in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in the Kapisa Province of Afghanistan. He was 22 years old. John’s path to racquetball was not particularly unusual. His father, Wendall, had started to play in Lewis, Washington at the behest of his older brother who organized the racquetball program in his battalion. The brothers soon found a health club in the area and became regular players. The family later relocated south, to Beaverton, Oregon.
While on break from college, John was invited by his father to play at the local LA Fitness. He quickly took to the game and within months became hooked. As he matured into manhood, John grew into a formidable physical presence. Known for his strength, John’s favorite shot was the forehand down-the-line. “He could really, really crush the ball,” Wendall said.
John loved racquetball for the physical challenge and mental dexterity each game demanded but he also loved the diversity of its individuals. “He loved talking to the other guys and would never turn down anyone who wanted to play,” Wendall said. “He always had a desire to help the disenfranchised and that was true even in racquetball.” John had his sights set on becoming an open player. “I was not surprised by this because everything he did in life, he wanted to do it at the highest level possible,” Wendall recalled. At the USA Racquetball Northwest Regionals he sought and received advice from former serviceman and USAR Hall of Fame inductee Jimmy Lowe on how to balance racquetball training and a life in the armed forces.
Story from KATU News Channel 2 - Portland, OR
A Special Thanks to Our Sponsors:
Military Racquetball Federation
Multnomah Athletic Club