Tennis Tourney friendly to beginners

Eric Rowe- Staff Writer

“So it’s like volleyball, right?” I asked in regards to scoring. “Uh…no…not really,” said junior Casey Kamper.

On Saturday, Oct. 29, I picked up a tennis racket for the first time in about six years and played in my first competitive tournament ever. I left with a positive experience with Dordt’s Tennis Club, and a little less rust on my racket. My only regret was not bringing shorts with pockets.

The tournament was hosted by the Tennis Club and was open to the community. It was created with the option for beginner and advanced in both men’s and women’s brackets, but I ended up being one of six men in a general bracket.

The competitive nature of the morning dissolved a little when Luke Venhuizen, co-organizer of the tournament, started giving a quick lesson while warming up with practice volleys. Even while competing in his first tournament since high school, it was natural for Venhuizen, after spending three summers as an instructor, to demonstrate pity in the face of my ineptitude.

The professional tennis player should step into the swing, swing from low to high, keep the face of your racket level, follow through and scratch your back with the edge of the racket. “Or pick up the penny and put it into your back pack,” Venhuizen said. “Whichever works better for you.”

If you ignore the first time that I tried to return Venhuizen’s serve, my comfort level remained on an upward trajectory throughout the tournament. Throughout the day, I exulted in the little victories and successful shots—though they were few and far between. I learned that the final score can be deceiving by only counting games. It doesn’t take into account how many of those games were close or played to a win-by-two situation.

In my match with Kamper, I learned that you serve up to two times in each point – or ‘love’ – hence the need for a second ball in your pocket. I also learned the difference between a game and a match. This tournament played each match to ten games, and we switched sides every odd game. I also learned what the phrase “15-love” means – that is, one point to zero.

I would have enjoyed playing against an opponent who was more at my skill level, but I know that it can be hard to come out to play a sport that you know little about. I found that the tennis players I interacted with taught with grace and seemed to have been excited for anyone interested to come out.

The Tennis Club was established in the spring of 2015 and currently meets on Mondays and Thursdays.

Anyone interested in coming regularly or just hitting around can contact Luke Venhuizen or Kyle Fischer, as well as looking forward to another tourney in the spring.

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