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"Hot" Summer Tennis in Bucks County

The Bucks County Tennis Association (BCTA) is hleping make the game ot tennis "hotter" than Philadelphia's humid summer. The non profit community tennis association, just in its second year of existence and for the seond time selected as one of 101 USTA-funded markets nationwide, kicked off its 2003 tennis season with a community tennis rally for local tennis enthusiasts on May 7. This dinner meeting was held at the Old Country Buffet Restaurant in Fairless Hills and provided an informative overview of the BCTA and USA Tennis programs. The meeting also initiated a win-win partnership with another non profit organization: Communities that Care (CTC.) The two organizations conducted pilot summer tennis programs for youth and are planning after-school tennis programs in the fall.

The BCTA let Bucks County know "May is Tennis Month" by hosting a USA Tennis Rock and Rally in conjunction with the annual Fun and Fitness Day sponsored by the Neshaminy School District and St. Mary Hospital. Rain ( a familiar element during the early summer) dampened the event by reducing the number of attendees, but not the enthusiasm of those who braved the weather. The Cartoon Network Tennis Club's tennis playing canine, Scooby Doo, wowed fans of all ages with his 5 foot tennis racquet and "paw" work.

In early June, a Welcome Back to Tennis party, hosted by the AARP and USTA was held at the Frosty Hollw Tennis Center Levittown. Again, rain made an appearance but did not prevent participants for "swingin" in the rain. Nearly 40 people attended the tennis party which was one of 5 pilot events held nationwide to help ease the 50 population back into the sport.

On June 20, the BCTA and Princeton Tennis program partnered for the second year to host a free USA Tennis Development Coaches Workshop. For a 3rd time, the rain poured down on a Bucks County tennis event. Unlike 3 strikes and you're out, this time it was 3 strikes and you're in! The instructional workshop was moved indoors to the Nassau Racquet Club in Skillman, NJ, where USTA National trainers Lisa Duncan and Colette Eckert illustrated just how easy it can be to handle large groups on one or two courts. The 45 workshop participants were very enthusiastic about learning the game approach to tennis and everyone returned to their homecourt with new instructional ideas.

During the Morrisville Community Day on July 12, the BCTA again hosted a USA Tennis Rock and Rally. More than 100 youth and adults came on-court to try the sport and early Buck$ and Scooby "dough" that was cashed in for cool tennis merchandise. The Head/Penn Penny Ball and the Cartoon Network Tennis Club's Scooby-Doo joined the participants in the day's activities.

Meanwhile, two summer tennis programs that were started in conjunction with Communities that Care are rapidly growing. The Morrisville Program, taught by Lisa Sherman and other instructors of YM Tennis, mushroomed from 4 participants to 25 in just one week! The tennis word traveled just as quickly at the Village Shires residential tennis courts in Holland where BCTA USA Team Tennis Coordinator John Morris is running USA Tennis programs for more than 20 youths and adults. The BCTA provided participants of these 2 programs complimentary tickets to Arthur Ashe Kid's Day at the National Tennis Center in FLushing NY on August 23.

A USA Team Tennis Junior League was formed by BCTA USA Team Tennis Coordinator Barry Sysler. Six teams: Highpoint, Hopewell, Levy, Northeast Racquet Club, Northamptom Tennis and Fitness Center and YM Tennis competed for the opportunity to advance to district and sectional playoffs held in August. The co-ed league incorporated several age groups and team coaches stressed the fun that participants had playing in this league.

Bucks County tennis activities won'd end with the summer. The BCTA has scheduled a USTA-sanctioned DR tournament for boys and girls. The BCTA Junior Classic will be held October 17-19 at the Bucks County Community College in Newtown. Other fun events to promote tennis are also being planned for the fall and into 2004.

For more information about the BCTA and its activities log onto www.buckscounty.usta.com or call 215-322-6802.