By Larry Shulman / Photos by Chris Arnold
Eastman tennis has just completed a banner year with the growth of players and matches, climbing over the past few years, reaching new and impressive numbers in 2019. With the move of most matches to the lower courts, you cannot miss the tennis activity in the mornings and early evenings when entering or leaving Eastman on Draper Road.
Formal tennis activities fall into the following categories: Men’s Round Robins, Upper Valley Men’s and Women’s travel teams, special weekend events, player-organized women’s “scrambles” and a highly successful Sunday morning mixed doubles. Tennis activities were coordinated by the Recreation Committee’s Tennis Subcommittee, chaired by Amy Hoffman, and the Eastman Community Tennis Association (ECTA) providing oversight over the travel team activity.
The Men’s Round Robin program started in June, offering signups for four round robins each week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday). As of the end of August, 81 matches had been played, usually at 9 in the morning.
The weekend special events program, sponsored by the Tennis Subcommittee and the Recreation Department (thank you, Leslie Moses and Christine Ceccetti), held three successful events: an Open House on May 25 (10 courts), an ECA Tournament on June 1 (six courts) and an ECA Member-Guest event on August 10 (six courts). Winners of the Member-Guest are featured in the pictures accompanying this article.
Travel Team Tennis also took off this year, almost doubling the number of teams, moving from three to five (one Men’s A, two Men’s B, and two Women’s B) and increasing the number of team players to 58. Eastman tennis fans enjoyed 28 home matches on the lower courts with some top tennis competition. This year also saw our Women’s B Green Team win the Upper Valley Community Tennis Association Championship with an upset victory over league leading Newport at the Newport site. Congratulations to team Captains Linda Arnold, Heather Klein, and Sara Lang, and to all of the travel team captains for a great season.
Tennis Pro Josh Holt provided travel team practices, children’s tennis camps, and tennis lessons this year. This was part of a new agreement with the River Valley Tennis Club to provide pro services to ECA. All involved reported Josh brought a new level of enthusiasm and skill to the program.
This year also saw the growth of a new category of organized tennis: player-run “scrambles” with courts reserved by the Recreation Department. In most cases, players were able to just show up and play with a partner or find one. These included women’s scrambles on Friday mornings (36 matches) and Saturday mornings (21 matches), and a highly popular Sunday morning mixed doubles (48 matches). The end of the season also saw the introduction of a new Friday/Wednesday mixed doubles scramble. This introduced a level of player involvement in developing programs open to and available for all Eastman tennis players at every level of play. Our thanks to the organizers of this new program.
Two tennis projects proposed in the 2016 “North Entrance Activities Center Improvement Plan” were completed in 2019 – the bathroom/changing room and the pavilion. These facilities were available to tennis players, visitors, gardeners, and bikers and walkers making a pit stop on their way home. Players in the Aug. 18 ECA Member-Guest tournament were particularly pleased with the pavilion when the sky opened up with a lunchtime downpour. The fact that they were able to complete the tournament after the heavy rain is a tribute to Chief Maintenance Officer Mike Gornnert and the ECA maintenance staff, who have done a wonderful job of preparing and maintaining our courts.
In total through the end of August, Eastman tennis hosted 222 formal tennis matches in addition to those booked through the ECA reservation system. Our thanks to South Cove staff for processing the reservations.
So now you know why this article is titled Tennis, Everyone. Eastman tennis has become a major amenity and looks forward to continued growth. Keep alert next spring when you see the “Tennis, Anyone?” call for signups. We have programs for men, women, and children at all levels of play.
Finally, remember to bend your knees and keep your eyes on the ball.
Larry Shulman is chair of the Eastman Community Tennis Association. He has been playing at Eastman for the 15 years he has lived here and plays winter tennis at Newport.