Hello autumn -- goodbye tennis
By Joey Hislop
October 16, 2006 | Ahhh, the splendor of October! The
leaves are changing colors, temperatures are dropping,
the scary movie industry is out in full force and you
can almost smell the hot apple cider in the air. What
a wonderful time for everyone.
Well, everyone except me. You see, I am one of those
rare birds who spread their wings wide in the summer
and then go into hibernation in the winter. I am a cash-strapped
Now, don't get me wrong -- I love autumn, too. But
when the leaves start falling so do temperatures, and
then pretty soon the snowflakes start falling. As you
can imagine, this makes for bad tennis conditions. Unfortunately
for me, when the weather outdoors turns inhospitable,
there are very few places to go indoors in Logan. As
of today, there are a total of eight indoor tennis courts
in all of Logan that are generally accessible to everyone.
However, all of them cost money in one way or another.
For starters, there's the Sports Academy and Racquet
Club which has only four courts. It used to have five,
but recent remodeling and reallocation of space has
brought that number to only four. Why they decreased
the number of indoor courts, I'll never know. I wasn't
on the planning committee. I guess they want more sports
academy and less racquet club.
Also, since they are pretty much brand-new, they aren't
cheap. A regular membership to the Sports Academy costs
more than $500 a year with a tennis fee on top of that
which pushes the cost just completely out of range for
a poor, young, married college student like me.
Next we have the Logan Recreation Center (also known
as the Rec Center, which might as well be spelled "wreck"
center). There are only two courts there. If you ask
anybody, they'll tell you that they're cramped, with
only about 15 feet of baseline, the roof leaks and since
they're probably the only affordable indoor courts in
town they're almost impossible to reserve during the
winter. A membership there costs less than $100 per
year, which is better than $500, but as I mentioned,
the facilities are limited.
And finally, the last two are found right here on
the USU campus in the Nielsen Field House. If you've
been in there you may have seen them. I've seen a number
of different courts in my day and I have yet to see
another like these. It's like playing on bouncy glass,
that's the best way I can describe it. As you may know,
the lower level of the field house is covered by a rubbery
surface which is rough around the track and glassy-smooth
everywhere else. If you've ever played on grass, you
might be able to relate to it. The ball stays low and
Add to this the obstacles of scenery. Inside the field
house it's very hard to keep track of the ball with
the backdrop being so distant. It messes with your depth
perception by distorting what you see. Then there's
the icing on the cake -- that huge green military-like
net thingy that is meant to stop tennis balls from going
onto other courts. The problem with that is that it
doesn't stop anything. It has more holes than swiss
cheese. These courts are in serious need of an overhaul.
I doubt they've been refurbished in more than a decade.
So, as you can see, where tennis is an activity free
to the public in the summer, it becomes an expensive
proposition during the winter, unless you're a college
student and can use the field house (which I am for
now), or unless you're an individual with money to burn
(which I will never be, due to the fact that I decided
to go into journalism).
I had thought about just giving the sport up all together
and just focusing on my other passion -- running --
but that only lasts until I ask myself why I'm running:
to get in shape for tennis. You see the dilemma. So
I guess there's nothing to be done about it. I either
become a millionaire, move to Florida (or someplace
else tropical), or I go into hiding until April when
there's no more snow on the ground.
Now you can see why tennis is thought of as a sport
for the rich -- you have to be rich to play it year
round. Well, it's a long winter. I guess I had better
find a new hobby. See you in April.