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Big Paddle in Big Sky Country
OCTOBER 13, 2011
The growth of the paddle nation marches forth… it’s looking like manifest destiny!! The APTA initiative to grow the game across the United States continues reaching new players across the nation. Through grants designed to promote the building of new Platform Tennis facilities throughout the country, and traveling clinics and exhibitions, the APTA has been able to introduce thousands of new players to the game. The program that started in North Carolina has gone from coast to coast; as far south as Florida and as far west as San Francisco. The latest clinic and exhibition took place in Bozeman, Montana at the Riverside Country Club.
Montana is a big state… It’s Big Sky Country… It has Big Mountains… It has elk, bears, wolves, and bison… It has large Indian reservations and national parks…And believe it or not, Montana has Big Paddle Enthusiasts and a growing population of players!!!
The Montana clinic sessions started the day off by introducing the players to the volleys, drives, lobs, overheads, positioning, serve and volley tactics, and teamwork used in Platform tennis. Within hours there were new players scrambling for shots off the wires, saying “Mine,” and, most importantly, assigning blame to a partner who missed the overhead because they did not position themselves properly at the net. Ahhhh… a new group of enthusiastic, communicating partners is born!! As is the case with all sessions, the day concluded with a spirited exhibition and barbeque that ended in a 3 set showdown at 5800 feet in altitude.
It has perhaps become trite to talk about the camaraderie in platform tennis and the community feeling that exists between the players, but for me, it has not. Rarely has the game ever failed to deliver that blend of competition, teamwork, and sociability that is enjoyed by all participants. The Montana clinics and exhibition were no exception.
Many thanks to Todd and Lindy Ward for their hospitality and tireless promotion of the game which brought out 85 participants throughout the day. Thanks also to Wilson Racquet Sports for their sponsorship support as well.
So remember, the next time you are planning a ski or hiking trip in Big Sky country, don’t forget to schedule in your paddle game as well.