Sometimes I wonder if I have any ideas left regarding my thoughts on tennis, after all I have written over 300 chapters on this site. Lately I really have had no desire to write and I wonder whether I simply wrote all those chapters to get things out of my mind and onto a site that I could look back on one day and say " Fair Dinkum Thommo you really had a mind like a tin of worms".
I look at some of the chapters I wrote and have a bit of a laugh about it all as I really used to have a red hot crack at some individuals and certain organizations which and who have pissed me off over the years. I also have a laugh at some comments I received from people who simply didn't like what I wrote, namely CG, GW and others who should know better as they are people in positions of trust locally. Personally I don't mind CG, it's the others who I consider to be way out of their depth as far as this game is concerned in this region. That's why the game is where it is locally and that's why we will not receive a new tennis centre in the next 20 years.
The Lawley Park Tennis Club was once the power house of tennis locally yet in the latest championship, the club vs club Champ of Champs Lawley could manage just three players in an eight player per club event. How did this happen ? How does a tennis club with the best central venue in town and arguably the best facilities not manage to find a full team ?
When I was age 40 I played the Champ of Champs for Lawley Park, we won the event, the next year we lost by a whisker. The year after that we won both the Mens and Womens Singles in that event and again just lost the title by an ever so small margin. That was just four years ago.
I quit coaching at Lawley Park around three and a half years ago due to many reasons and I was slandered for it yet no one wanted to know the real reasons behind my decision. I was simply branded someone who quit the game due to 'personal issues'. Let me tell you that those 'issues' were all about the bullshit that was going on behind the scenes in the sport that we used to call a 'gentleman's game' however I could write a book and tell you otherwise. Come to think of it I think I did write a mini novel when I first put this site together and told a few home truths about the game locally.
So is it more than just a coincidence that since I left that club there are next to no juniors playing Saturday afternoon Senior club ? That was a priority part of our coaching program, to bring juniors through to the senior club. And is it more than a coincidence that since I quit that club they cannot field a competitive team for the above mentioned tournament ?
We used to have an abundance of players at Lawley because we ran the town's only 'Mens Tennis and Beer' night where we had some red hot tennis and some red hot drinking to go with it.
Each Tuesday night after our junior coaching was finished we saw some of the town's best players come down for a social afternoon which I organized myself and it formed a club within a club. In fact the Lawley Park Tennis Club without any doubt used to be THE place to play tennis in Albany and not even four years later it almost resembles a 'ghost' club'. It now struggles to fill four of its six courts on a Saturday afternoon.
Our program promoted kids into the senior club every season, as I have stated earlier, we 'refilled the cupboards', where are these kids now ? It's all very well to teach kids tennis down there but how about looking at the big picture and not just the small one that makes individuals a few bucks each week yet fails to help replenish the ailing club's numbers.
Where are the Intermediate and Advanced programs that we used to run that brought the town's strongest 11 to 15 year olds through the gates each week over the course of the tennis season that inadvertently lead to the club becoming the 'youngest' club in town ? Why is it now within four years the 'oldest' club in town ? Anyone ??
My theories flow freely and I am beyond giving a shit as to what people think of me locally here in Albany where as a kid I learned to play the game at Lawley Park. I was just one of perhaps a dozen or so kids who helped fill the courts on Saturday afternoons. Up until four years ago I helped rebuild the junior numbers at that same tennis club which helped me enjoy my days on court against players of all ages.
So why did I quit ? It's called politics, every sport has them, tennis has plenty, it's where some egotists think they are bigger than the sport itself and they don't care who they piss off to get where they want to be. I call it 'head up one's own arse syndrome', tennis unfortunately breeds many.
The silly thing is this, I am starting to enjoy not being around the sport as much locally as I used to because it is not the sport that I remember all those years ago, in fact it's a pale shadow of what it used to be. I basically play one competition a year, the Albany Open, I still do ok, my legs are a little slower yet the memory is still sharp and I like it how some refuse to play this event, it makes it more pleasant for the rest of us.
The tennis centre which some believe will happen is nothing more than a pipe dream because the Lawley Park Tennis Club in Albany is living proof that tennis locally is not a sport on the rise, in fact it's on the decline. Too many egotists, too many people looking after their own agendas.
This was my first chapter for a while, it may be my last, I reckon I finally hit the nail on the head, Fair Dinkum Thommo........