A dog seeking attention led to a chance encounter on a beautiful beach at Punta Guiones in Costa Rica, where dreams apparently do come true.
“It sounds pretty cheesy, but that’s how it happened,” Fabrizio Mora said in describing how he met his wife, Angie Ledgerwood.
He was a surfer/racquetball player who noticed the dog that belonged to Ledgerwood’s friend. “He asked if I spoke Spanish,” Ledgerwood said. Turns out she does.
Today, Mora and Ledgerwood — who have been married 14 years — are the dynamic force that started the Raising Some Racquet for Kids racquetball tournament nine years ago, with the goal of helping Kappa Delta sorority raise money to prevent child abuse.
Ledgerwood, a clinical psychologist, has been a dedicated member of the sorority since she was a freshman in college.
As for the tournament — the second as a men’s professional International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Tier 1 pro stop — they both stress that it has been a collaborative effort, citing the tremendous help of co-director Charles Knight, Kappa Delta, countless volunteers, dedicated sponsors and, for the past four years, the IRT. This year’s event will be March 23-26 at The Heights Racquetball and Fitness Club in Huber Heights, Ohio.
Now the mother of their 2-year-old daughter, Francesca — “Chessy” for short — Ledgerwood (with the help of her mom) continues to coordinate the food for all the players during the tournament and run the popular silent auction that this year features Cincinnati Reds VIP tickets, sports memorabilia, “man-cave” gear, clothing, gift baskets and other items, according to Mora.
A self-described “middle person” who makes sure the tournament runs smoothly, Mora credits his wife for juggling her busy schedule to help with everything and Knight for handling the fundraising.
“We make it work somehow,” Ledgerwood said in a telephone interview, pausing at times to sweet talk Chessy in Spanish and English. “Fabrizio and I are a good team. There’s a lot of coordinating of schedules.”
In many ways, the racquetball community mirrors a family. “That’s part of what I like about racquetball tournaments – people gathering and spending a couple of days together,” Mora said. “Everyone in the racquetball community is super nice. That’s part of it, the personal aspect to it. Not only the competition but meeting with your friends who you see only at tournaments. So it’s really cool.”
The camaraderie is a big plus for Ledgerwood, who doesn’t play racquetball and seldom goes to tournaments. She enjoys the people and gushes about the positive feedback. Players are happy knowing if food is served while they’re playing that there will be plenty left when they are done, she mentioned.
“And there’re always players asking on Sunday how much I think we raised with the silent auction or the total over the weekend,” she added. “There are people who really care that we’re raising money and that it’s for child abuse prevention. I appreciate that. I really like that people feel like it’s a good cause and are curious and want to help.”
Mora said it “made sense” to combine his ambition to run a racquetball tournament with Ledgerwood’s passion for working with Kappa Delta to prevent child abuse.
However, the tournament is a major project. “Oh my god, I love it,” Mora said. “It’s one of those things that takes a lot of work and effort. And when you’re done, you say I’m not going to do it again. But two days later, you’re already thinking about the next year. It’s always fun and painful at the same time.”
Mora, who admits he’s a little shy, once played racquetball on Costa Rica’s national team, “but I don’t like to make too much fuss about it.”
Asked if he’s going to teach Chessy to play, he said: “Yeah, I’m hoping that she learns. As soon as she’s old enough to hold a racquet, I think she’s going to start coming with me.”
He quickly walks that back a little bit, though. “Obviously, whatever she likes,” he said. “There’s always other sports. It opens a little bit more doors. But even with racquetball, she can get scholarships to different schools.”
Obviously, life is built on dreams.
By Jim Medina
Jim Medina is an award-winning journalist who got hooked on racquetball at the former Dan Gamel’s Racquet Club in Fresno, CA. A graduate of Fresno State, he now lives in Oxnard, CA. He is an A-level player striving to raise his game with the help of a thriving racquetball community at LA Fitness in neighboring Ventura. He is a media consultant who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.