Originally Published: September 5, 2007 8:29 p.m.
This past weekend, Labor Day weekend to be exact, the Prescott Racquet Club held its annual NTRP tennis tournament. Bernie Adam, the tennis director and many times tournament chairman, runs one really fun event. He had more than 170 entries.The tournament consists of men's and women's singles, doubles and mixed events, with levels of play ranging from 3.0 to open divisions. Thus anyone can compete, regardless of age or ability.Bernie is lucky enough to have helpers like his wife Audra and tennis buff Betti Nisi (who has been a member at the club since it opened in 1985). Between the three of them nothing slips by.It's important to mention the winners' names, but the essence of competing in these weekend battles is more about testing your abilities against others, BS-ing and socializing between games, ranting a bit on missed shots, dealing with a partner if you're playing doubles, healing sore and pulled muscles, and seeing just where the chips fall.In the Prescott area there are four full weekend tournaments held that are open to all levels NTRP play and to the public. The Memorial and Labor Day held at the Prescott Racquet Club, Senior Olympics (Parks & Rec), and the Yavapai County (PATA) Tennis Championships which is coming up Oct. 4-7.Where else do you get to meet up with so many different personalities? Joe Borzello is a great competitor, but he also tries to see if he can get into your head with a few antics. Allison Wood, her kids Lacy, Jeanne and mother Jean play in almost all the women's events. They normally take home so much hardware they could set up their own pro shop. "O'Captain, My Captain" Ray Eccelston not only plays many events, he's also checking out the talent for his next USTA League team roster. And that's just the tip of that iceberg.But a full weekend tennis event doesn't fit everyone's schedule. With that in mind, there are monthly one-day tournaments at PRC and Yavapai College, once again designed for different ability levels.If you have a junior that wants to participate in some clinics or junior one-day tournaments both are covered at the PRC (778-0708), run by pros Gary Amadio and Sterling Fetty and their able assistants. Ken Jackson is the tennis pro for Prescott's Parks and Rec's tennis program at the Armory courts. He can be reached at 776-4245.After playing this past weekend, my muscles are sore and a toenail will be coming off soon, but it was an absolutely wonderful time, and this is my 39th year in the game.Players who get out and about make friends from all walks of life and their common denominator is tennis. It's bonding, it's physical, it's social, it's exhilarating, it's exhausting, it's inexpensive, it doesn't take much time, it's for all ages and abilities, and if you haven't tried it, it's time to give it a swing.And for those of you who only play in your own little foursome, try spreading your wings and partaking in some of these additional activities that are available. It just might rejuvenate a lot of things in your life.(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 firstname.lastname@example.org)