Esha and Arya Cyril, juniors at The Quarry Lane School in Dublin and competitive racquetball players, have received a Real Racquetball Champions award from USA Racquetball for their fundraising efforts on behalf of the organization.
As part of the nonprofit’s Giving Tuesday campaign in November 2020, the Cyril twins created a GoFundMe page that raised $6,000 – accounting for nearly half the $12,205 raised by the national organization.
USA Racquetball is recognized by the U.S. Olympia Committee as the national governing body for amateur racquetball and sanctions hundreds of tournaments every year for players of all ages and skill level. It also sponsors the junior and adult national racquetball teams. The Cyril twins are top seeded for Junior division and play singles, doubles and mixed doubles. They are multiple-time US Junior Team members and also play in the adults US Open.
The twins said they started the GoFundMe page because the COVID-19 pandemic “has separated us from what we love and has greatly affected the racquetball community.”
“Racquetball, … already [an] underdog sport, has changed the lives of many players across the United States including our own,” they said in their on-line appeal. “However, the pandemic is making it harder for players like us to continue doing what we love, affecting some of the best athletes, and drastically impacting our community.”
Their GoFundMe page received 46 donations, including a $1,000 corporate match from the Oracle Corporation in Pleasanton.
Mike Wedell, executive director of USA Racquetball, presented Esha and Arya their award virtually this week during his monthly Real Racquetball Show, livestreamed on the group’s Facebook page. The show can be viewed on the group’s website, www.teamusa.org/usa-racquetball.
Wedell said last year’s Giving Tuesday campaign was USA Racquetball’s most successful yet. The group initially set a goal of raising $3,000, which was met almost immediately. The group then increased the goal to $10,000, which was also surpassed.
Giving Tuesday, created in 2012 by a New York community center to encourage contributions, has now spread to more than 70 countries. The event is celebrated in the U.S. the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and last year was expected to generate more than $6 million in donations to charities and nonprofit groups.