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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
10:41 PM Tue, Nov. 20th

It's hard to believe that …

Time seems to go by so fast that you wonder where it's gone, and with it so many of the things that we considered normal are now past history. So with that thought in mind it's hard to believe that …

•The Prescott Racquet Club is almost 20 years old and the Territorial Courthouse health club is more than 20 years old. But both are still going, even with the more recent upgrade of the $5 million dollar YMCA.

•Andre Agassi is 33-years-old and has gone from that young teen idol with long flowing hair, ear ring with so-so conviction on the court to the oldest No. 1 player in the world, fairly bald and playing like there's no tomorrow.

•It's been about 25 years since the four old Armory tennis courts were revamped from pretty sorry shape to having the carpet and sand laid over the hard surface. It's probably time now to at least go back and do a bit of touch up work to re-glue or replace certain sections of it now. What's funny is that I sat on the rock bleachers and watched them do a good bit of it.

•Rick Bothell, Dan Marioni, Esther Brown and Jim McCasland are not so far from retiring if they want. All have been icons in tennis and athletic endeavors in Prescott for more years than I will mention here.

•Tennis in Prescott is more vibrant than it has been at anytime in its history, even though the game has gone through the tennis boom of the 70's and racquets have changed from wood to metal, to fiberglas, to now space age graphite and other light but strong materials.

•The aptitude of players is no longer to sign up for long weekend tournaments, but easy in and easy out one day or one to four hour events. There are just too many commitments in our lives today to spend many full weekends just giving our time to tennis like in the past.

•The tennis facilities in Prescott are in better shape than they've been since they were originally built and much of that has to do with the help of the Prescott Area Tennis Association and before that the Yavapai Tennis Association. The voice of tennis needs this type of recognition and organization to help maintain the facilities they enjoy and give it the voice to help get funds for regular maintanence as well as programming and fun planned events for all ages.

•That Jack Kramer is over 80 years old, Jimmy Connors is 50, Billie Jean King is getting close to 60, but that Martina Navratilova is 46 and still pulling down major doubles titles.

•Wimbledon, which started in 1877, is still the most beloved tennis tournament in the world and even in the year 2003 continues to be played on grass.

•That even though Prescott has many new subdivisions that have had tennis courts put in (the most recent at Prescott Lakes) with the population growing in Prescott and even moreso in Prescott Valley, that no new public tennis facilities have been built or even truly planned for future needs. Who's in charge of doing that anyway?

•That with the most recent change of hands at the Prescott Racquet Club and three good local professionals going to Prescott High School to set up camp (Bernie, Mike and Binki), good will come of it by utilizing the local six courts on Ruth Street and the new tennis shed built there a year ago.

•That the recent Prescott High School graduates and tennis players Jason Stewart, Lander Sims, Nick Cristea, Dan Oliver, Matt and Nick Bucholtz, and many of the past players of our local high schools will remember all the hours of times spent in in such a fun manner and realize that it is a life time sport and continue to find time to enjoy the sport in the future. Not to mention help tennis grow as others helped them during their formative years.

•That people who show up at the tennis facilities don't just take it for granted that they'll always be there, in good shape with programs to jump in to. But to join in the process and thank those who volunteer their time to make things happen … wheather it be in fixing a bench, hitting balls with a beginner, fixing cracks or being a board member on our local tennis association.

Time passes on, but let's not let things change so much that we lose sight of what is near and dear to us, especially in the area of tennis that has so much to offer in so many ways.

Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 30 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 445-1331 or 4541choward@earthlink.net