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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
9:44 AM Sat, Sept. 22nd

The cost of doing business in tennis

The cost of doing business when it comes to taking care of a tennis facility or having family members play the game can add up. Yet if you ask the tennis playing community if it's worth it, the answer is, "You bet!"

George Reynolds and his crew of volunteers have spent hundreds of hours over the years patching cracks, resurfacing the public courts, landscaping, building and adding on to tennis sheds, and why? George answers this question with no hesitation, "It's a game I love to play and I see the difference it makes to so many others. Having safe and well-maintained public facilities is important to me."

In 2008, the City of Prescott will tackle the addition of four new courts at the new Adult Center just off Rosser Street. The cost will run around $65,000 per court. The initial outlay is a very large capital expense, but if the facility is programmed and well used, hundreds to thousands of tennis players will enjoy this healthy life-long sport for years to come, just as they have at the four Armory courts built in the late 1930's.

It's marvelous to have more people involved with the game of tennis donate money to maintain our public tennis facilities, as well as fund tennis programs for our youth.

The Millie Ryan Tennis Trust Fund has made a significant difference with the $38,000 dollars they donated toward helping the courts primarily at Yavapai College. It's surprising that doesn't happen more often, knowing the benefits tennis has given so many people.

Susan Molina works hard at her job as a nurse at the VA, and she does everything humanly possible to provide for her sons Chris, 15, and Michael, 11. As a single mother, it isn't easy to juggle a full time job and two active boys, not to mention the cost involved with both playing tennis.

They started playing a little over 18 months ago and are enthusiastic about reaching each new level. Chris made the junior varsity team at Prescott High School as a 9th grader, and both are playing local and State tournaments when they get the opportunity.

With mom working and not being able to be in two places at one time, the boys sometimes have to take taxis to attend some of their tennis functions. As Susan says, "It's juggling and being creative at times, but I see the benefits of tennis ... I want this for my boys and it's something we can do together.

"It's a real commitment when you add up the expense of shoes, racquets, clothes, lessons, tournaments, gas, lodging, and then multiply that by two," she goes on to say. "But I know this is a healthy, social sport they can enjoy their whole life."

There's a tennis foundation in Las Vegas that does some really neat things for some of their kids. It provides tennis scholarships by:

*Sponsoring a kid for one year of playing local tournaments. $650. Goal 40 players

*Sponsoring a kid for a one-month summer tennis camp. $600. Goal 40 players

*Sponsoring a junior tennis tournament or a series of four tournaments. $2,000 per tourney

*Taking a group of youth players to a pro tournament or college match. $100 per child. Goal 50 kids.

Some cities, high schools and colleges, not to mention parents, have difficulty maintaining budgets to take care of, nurture and expose tennis in our area. We can help by creating tennis trust funds, bequeathing assets in those directions, or volunteering time and labor to alleviate some of that burden.

If you've had any thoughts in this regard, or would like further discussion, please call 445-1331. Because you can make a difference.

(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 choward4541@peoplepc.com)