Alex Cherry Paddleball profile by Dave Siegel
Many of us in the paddleball community have asked these troubling questions concerning the sport: Will it survive? Will it even be played 25 years from now? The game is at a crossroads now and there is no doubt that in order for paddleball to flourish, there needs to be a great deal of extra effort by people who love the game and will go the extra mile. One of the persons who is dedicated to the growth and survival of paddleball is Alex Cherry.
Alex is a 47 year old NYC player who has been playing for only 8 years, but has emerged as one of its best upcoming players, improving all the time. As we all know, when taking up any new sport at age 39, it is quite difficult to excel, but Alex has done just that through amazing dedication, spartan-like training, playing 10-15 times per week (Wow!) and most importantly possessing a love of the game. It culminated this month when Alex won the PFA Small Ball “B” Singles Tournament. He truly believes he can continue to upgrade his game, and though not there yet, he would love to achieve an “A” ranking.
Alex’s paddleball roots go back to his Mom, Joanna, who played in the 80s. He took up the game at the PS 28 playground in Manhattan and now plays at multiple parks across the city. He is strictly a small ball player, believing that its faster action requires a higher level of skill. Alex is a steady, hard hitting, offensive player, fast afoot, has great stamina and a powerful spike, which is his favorite shot. He also mixes in a soft game including cut shots. And he is quite a student of the game, going to school every day at the courts, while developing the strategies necessary to win. But perhaps his most outstanding quality on the court is his respect for the game and his opponents. He is known to be a true gentleman and a fair player, almost to a fault, even giving up calls at times.
But the real story of Alex Cherry is his amazing drive to elevate the game and have it grow. To this end, he formed the Madballers United Smallball Group and under its auspices, he organized and ran a highly successful “B” tournament in August at Marine Park. The tournament had it all: sponsors, prize money, food, beverages and lots of interest and enthusiasm. Alex gave all his energy (and there is plenty there!) in putting this together, especially in the procurement of sponsors. He did it because he believes that well run, publicized, sponsored tournaments are a powerful vehicle for spurring the interest of players, including women and kids. He even had a professional video done on the event by Chrystal Stone, which featured enlightening interviews, as well as great clips. Check it out on YouTube. https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=bwqOtkQJBXM
Alex would now like to hold many more tournaments and is targeting December for his next one. In addition to tournaments, Alex believes that in order for the sport to flourish, it is imperative for there to be unity among the various paddleball organizations, along with strong sponsorship and uniform stringent rules for conduct. Bringing the children and women into the game is paramount as well.
Alex is certainly on the right track for promoting the growth of the game. Let’s hope that his energy is contagious, because we need more people like him to assure that the game is being played in 25 years!
You can become part of the Madballers United Smallball Group by joining the Facebook group by the same name.