April 15, 2009

Erin Tennis Club offers exercise and fun for all

As published in The Erin Advocate

Whether you are looking for hard-hitting competition or a place to meet people and have fun, the Erin Tennis Club offers a great atmosphere, at a very reasonable price.

With five courts located behind Centre 2000, the club provides everyone from kids to seniors with an opportunity for exercise and development of skills. I will admit to a certain bias, since I've been a member for more than ten years. It has been a real benefit to me and my family.

"We have a huge cross-section of people, and it works," said Brian Gentles, president of the club. "We have a really good time."

The courts will be open and you can register this Saturday, April 18, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the clubhouse. The cost is $140 per family, or $85 for adults and $50 for juniors (17 and under). Members do not have to pay court fees, and all activities are at no extra cost – including four lessons at the start of the season.

Membership even comes with special bonuses, such as the humour on the courts, which is high in quantity, if not quality. For example, if you are looking tired after a match, do not be shocked when Brian says, "If you need mouth-to-mouth, you're going to die". As far as I know, he has not been put to the test on this matter, and members are hoping it stays that way.

When it looks like you are about to lose a match, Brian will sooner or later say, "The night is always darkest just before it goes totally black". This line was pretty funny the first time I heard it, but I can assure you it gets more humourous on each repetition.

The first special event of the season is the Spring Fling Tournament, where participants are paired up for doubles matches, on Saturday, May 9. The burgers and drinks are on the house.

Then there are the parties: Beach Blanket Tennis (beach attire encouraged) on Friday, June 19; "You're the Star" (dress up as a celebrity) on Friday, August 21; and the year-end Mexican-flavoured bash after the club championships on September 26.

For kids, there is a Junior House League Program on Friday evenings starting May 22 – ages 7-11 (7-8 p.m.), then ages 12 (8-9 p.m.) There is also the half-day Summer Camp, July 20-24 and July 27-31, with professional instruction at a very low cost, thanks to the support of the Lions Club, the Optimist Club and the Rotary Club.

For more information and names of people to contact on the various activities, go to www.erintennis.com, or send an email to info@erintennis.com.

Erin competes in the Caledon-Dufferin Interclub Tennis League, with teams in both the A and B divisions. Tryouts are in early May and matches are on Thursday nights. On Thursday mornings, the Freedom 55 Traveling Team competes with neighbouring communities.

On Tuesday and Wednesday nights, there is the Adult House League, with doubles teams balanced to include people of all skill levels. It is great to win a few games, but house league is really about having fun and making sure everyone feels welcome. The club also runs a singles ladder in which people arrange their own games. Winners move up to a higher rung on the ladder. It is designed so that you normally compete with players of similar abilities.

Every weekend there is Ladies' Saturday Morning (9-11 a.m.) and Men's Sunday Morning (8-11 a.m.). Balls are provided and there is no need to sign up. Just drop in and join in the play, with a rotation of doubles partners, for as long as you want.

The tennis club is actually a self-financing committee of the Town of Erin. The club covers its own operating budget, but the facilities are owned by the Town. This year, there may be a resolution to a long-simmering dispute between the Town and the School Board, which has prevented the tennis club from hooking up its washrooms to the board's nearby sewer pipe. (Composting toilets have done a reasonable job in the meantime.) The Town is considering the more expensive option of hooking up the club to its own sewer pipe, which leads to the same treatment plant.