Courts to be busy soon

by Phil Ambroziak

A second season of tennis will soon be served in Meadow Lake.

Last Monday (March 31) marked the official registration night for the 2014 season of Meadow Lake Tennis, a club that was formed last year by a group of local enthusiasts of the sport including Gavin Van de Venter and Clint Pigott among others.

“Registration went well, although we didn’t have as many kids sign up for our tennis camp as we did the previous year,” noted Van de Venter, who serves as club president. “Right now, we have around 30 whereas last year it was closer to 60.”

The tennis camp, which is only one component of the club, is set for later this month and is organized into various age categories from beginner adult.

“I think there are a few reasons for the lower numbers,” Van de Venter said. “Firstly, our club is still new and we need to let more people know tennis is available in our community. I also believe there are a lot of disadvantaged kids out there who can’t play sports because of the costs involved.”

Van de Venter also believes a number of young people have already registered for other summer sports and may be concerned about a scheduling conflict while some participants from last year’s camp may feel they no longer need the specialized training it offers.

“They may want to switch over to junior league play instead,” Van de Venter added. “We’re planning to have members of the club executive on the courts every Thursday night to help coach members interested in taking part. We also encourage more adults to come out. Last year, we had about 15-20, but this year that number is substantially less.”

Among those on hand to register her children was Meadow Lake resident Trish Berry. She said her kids, Britney and Brayden, were involved last year and thought it was a worthwhile experience.
“It keeps them active and they enjoy it,” Berry said.

Britney Berry said she finds tennis fun while her brother was excited about the exercise it provides.
“You get to run around a lot,” he said.

Meadow Lake Tennis launched a year ago after Van de Venter and Pigott approached Meadow Lake city council about the possibility of forming a non-profit group that could utilize the new tennis courts developed adjacent to Jonas Samson Junior High School. The courts were built to accommodate the 2012 Saskatchewan Summer Games and Van de Venter said the formation of the club was an ideal means of making the most of the facility while promoting the sport of tennis throughout the community.

“It’s different than most sports offered and also allows us to preserve the courts for longevity,” he said. “We are non-profit, so any money we do make goes directly into promoting the sport or to beautifying the courts.”

This August, the club is also planning to host a tournament that will feature players from throughout Saskatchewan and other parts of the country while an electronic keypad will be installed in the coming weeks to ensure only members can gain access to the courts.

“A lot of people don’t realize there is a really strong tennis following in the province,” Van de Venter said. “I encourage as many people as possible to consider coming out to play.”

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