Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Sat, Sept. 21

A day in the life of a facility

Most of us have read Readers Digest articles like "I Am Joe's Heart," written as if Joe's heart could talk.

Well, this is the same idea, with our infamous college tennis courts the subject.

More than 28 years ago folks from the City of Prescott and Yavapai College formed an agreement, received a matching federal grant and brought me to life. I consist of six asphalt courts, with lights, sitting on two levels. The lower level retained four courts and the upper level with two. There is parking in the front, a creek with trees beside me and a road that curves up to the main college campus. Man, am I beautiful and life is about as good as it gets.

In my early years, the people of Prescott came from all over the county to play on me. Yavapai College put together a men's and women's tennis team and had some nationally-ranked teams for many years. The local people even formed the Yavapai Tennis Association to help keep my older brother, the Armory, and me busy with events and special up-keep.

During the late 70's the Yavapai Tennis Association built a tennis shed/shelter on me to house items needed to keep me cleaned off, like squeegees and hoses, tennis hoppers and balls. Part of this was enclosed later by Rick Bothell and Chris Howard to make me more useful during the entire year.

Tennis was booming during the 70's and each of my six courts stayed busy from first thing in the morning through late in the evenings through the spring, summer and fall months, and a bit less when the cold weather hit.

Friends through the years have overseen my upkeep and use. A.C. Williams, Barbara and Gene Polk, Stan Preston, Myron and Bobbi Snow, Mary Widen, Brad Newman, Dave Pettingale, Dee Navarro, Dan Marioni, Jim McCasland, Rick Bothell, Evan Ragsdale, Dave Neuser, Lynn Merritt, Julie Williams, Fay Matsumoto, George Reynolds, Dave Justice, Ev Hendricks, Don Jones, Chris Howard, and so many others.

During the 1980's big cracks started to show through my once pristine surface, tree roots were growing under my once solid base; in general I was becoming a mess. The City of Prescott came to my rescue and spent $80,000 to overhaul my six-court body with two new inches of asphalt and a new coat of paint.

The college cut out its tennis program and tennis lost some of its zest from the early 80s through the mid-90s. I was a ship with a broken rudder for about 10 years. Then the cycle changed.

The USTA came alive with new programs, money to help grass-root efforts, a new Drop-In Tennis program started, college classes were promoted, new leagues began, and once a month tournaments were held. Pros were once again giving lessons and clinics on me.

My upper courts were rejuvenated by a joint effort of the local tennis players led by George Reynolds and Yavapai College. Cleanup days were held to groom me back to decent shape, the creek that once ran beside me became a parking lot for easier access and year round restrooms were built.

I'm busy again with young kids, middle aged and old kids called seniors, in better shape than I've been in years and have a very optimistic future. My four lower courts will be resurfaced this summer and no doubt will have to have the cracks fixed yearly, but that's okay, I'm not a young chick anymore. I feel more loved and used than ever before but I have so much more to give.

I want my college tennis teams back. I want by brothers and sister, the Armory, high school and Abia Judd courts with more activity throughout the year. We have other tennis pros who could oversee each of these sites and double or triple the amount of tennis activity in Prescott. I want to see our new tennis association (PATA) increase in size to over 500 members. I want a new sibling at the old fairgrounds that will give us a new beautiful home to house large tournaments and showcase Prescott as it could and should be.

Maybe that's too much to ask, but I'm not a little kid anymore and I've had some real shakers and movers who've gotten to know me quite well over the last quarter century. They've promised to help toward these endeavors.

Well, thanks for all you've given me and let me tell you, the future is just beginning … I hope.

***

SWAP PARTNERS RESULTS … The two Dave's, Justice and Rainey, won the A division over local pros Cody Williams and Don Jones in a tie-breaker to take the Swap-Partners tourney held this past Sunday at the RRTC.

The B division was won by Tom Winker and high school Player JoAnn Farthing over Larry Cobb and Megan Perry (another high school player), 5-3.

Laura Overstreet (also PHS) and Teresa Naras won the C division 5-3 over Nick Massimo and Jenny Cobb to round out the three divisions.

The next one-day tourney at the RRTC is the "Name our BABY" Singles, Sunday, June 10 beginning at 8 a.m. Call 445-1331 to enter.

(Chris Howard is a local USTPA tennis professional with over 25 years in the fitness industry. Contact him at ckhoward@futureone.com)

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