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Why Tennis


This newspaper article appeared in the Kelowna Capital News.

Recreation league idea served up

Ron Shalley is concerned about the current state of tennis today and he wants to do something about it.

Shalley sees the time allotted by TV networks to broadcast tennis being reduced, sports stores cutting back on tennis equipment because it sits on the shelves too long and public tennis courts that aren’t being used.

So Shalley has come up with an idea to start up province-wide tennis leagues for singles and doubles players.

“You don’t have to belong to a tennis club or play in Tennis BC sanctioned events to enjoy the sport,“ Shalley says.

“It’s a great recreation activity to play for fun, it doesn’t cost much and the public tennis courts are free. And if the courts are out there to be used, we should either use them or risk losing them.”

The use of tennis courts was a point of debate concerning the revamped master plan for City Park. The existing courts in the southeast corner of the park will remain, but Coun. Sharon Shepherd has said there was considerable debate about removing the courts due to a lack of use.

For Shalley, that argument is representative of how far tennis has fallen since its heyday in the late 1970s through the ‘80s. “I think one of the reasons tennis has fallen off in popularity is because there are so many other things to do with our recreational time,” he says.

“Beach volleyball leagues are booming in the Lower Mainland, and there are soccer leagues, softball, skateboarding, snowboarding and inline skating … the competition is pretty stiff.”

Shalley is a former junior hockey player who earned a tryout with the New York Rangers in the ‘60s.

When his hockey career came to an end, he took up tennis. Today, he runs a tennis club in Abbotsford.

He came up with the idea for forming tennis leagues after seeing a similar idea flourish in California.

“There are leagues for everything else, so why not tennis ? If people commit to playing league matches once a week, it will bring an element of fun and competition playing against players of your own skill level, and you might end up starting to play more often as a result.”

Shalley says the other factor that makes province-wide league format viable is the Internet. He said leagues can be formed in communities across BC, and he can track all the results and standings via email.

“I think the Internet is the thing that can make this idea possible.”

Besides matching players with their own skill level, Shalley says each league would not divide up players based on age or gender.

“A lot of women who play at a higher recreational level enjoy playing against men of the same skill level because it’s hard to find other women at that level to play against.”

As for the youngsters, Shalley says as long as they can keep score, his tennis league would welcome their participation.

Under his formula, in each community, players or doubles teams would play a minimum of six matches.

Each league would conclude with a playoff involving the top three teams or players.

The league results would be posted on Shalley’s Web site for all to see.

Registration forms are available online at www.bctennisleagues.50megs.com.

Shalley can also be contacted by email at shalley@iprimus.ca or by phone at his Langley home, (604) 534-1786.



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