I have always had fond memories of my old Albany tennis club that goes by the name of Lawley Park, it's a club that I first played at when i was 14. The reason I first went to Lawley Park was simple, I was not 'welcome' at the Country and Suburban Tennis Club on Albany Highway, but let's dissect this. I had outgrown the junior seen at age 13 and was starting to hit a good consistent ball, but never hard , that wasn't the way I learned to play, I simply looped it in, Borg style. The Swede was my first inspiration to play, so I hit it like he did, high over the net.
The problem was this , apparently I upset a senior player or two at C & S with the way I hit it, so much so that someone 'chatted' me about it. I took the comments home , Dad said "Righto let's try another club then" , I was more than happy to. I wanted to play how I wanted to play, not how others wanted me to play so it was an easy choice to try 'Lobby' , sorry Lawley Park.
Now the back drop to 'Lobby' was magnificent, from both ends of the court, pine trees and a sweeping hill on one and the harbor on the other. The ocean view however was not the best, you knew it was there but the trees were so thick it was tough to see through, a great wind break. So how about my topspin style at 'Lobby Park' then ? Well received, I loved playing there, the seniors loved having a junior who could match it with most of them, a good challenge all round. Let's fast forward a few years....
Just prior to going to Europe I played a mixed doubles tournament at Lawley, now I hate mixed but I thought well I may never return from Paris so why not ?! Now I believe this is how the day went; My partner and I went through undefeated as did a mate of mine with his partner, so it came down to the final match. We did the sums, we needed a win with a loss of no more than 2 games in a set first to six games, tiebreaker 6 all.
We thought we would keep the 'requirement' of games for and against from our opposition , another good mate from junior days, just in case he put in an inspired performance. No we were hoping for a casual last set from him and his sister, they were going well all day, competitive but not in the 'money' for the day.
So the team that was up on games against us cracked an Export from the club house and watched the final match of the day, they had this in the bag. I believe that if we won 6-2 it would go to a count back and 6-3 we would lose by a game.
Now the memory is still pretty good, we belted 'em 6-1 and I explained the situation to my buddy as I shook his hand at the end of the set, he was furious with himself. Now what about KT up in the club house with his third can of Emu ? Even more furious, possibly not so much at me but with Ted for letting myself and Carmen belt them in the final set. I think we both won $50 each but the moral victory was worth a hundred at least.
Great memories of 'Lobby' , sorry Lawley Park, the days when the club had an independence and a membership base that was not matched any where else locally. So what about the players involved in that day's rather humorous events ?
KT actually became one of the best local Mixed Doubles players of all time, his loss to us by a whisker was possibly his last and Ted , well Ted and I won the Albany Open Men's Doubles title around 15 years later.
Carmen, well she was the last woman I played mixed doubles with until i turned 41 , 20 years later, a form of the game I am not a fan of but can be a bit of fun all the same.
Thanks Carmen , well played......
*So why 'Lobby Park' ? As an older chapter explained, because of the way i hit the ball and the way i taught the game I was branded a 'hack' and my students were branded 'Lobby Park Kids'.
So where did the comments come from ? Would love to tell you but I am tired of receiving legal threats and i really don't have the $$$ to risk it. Nature of the Industry........