Thursday, October 13, 2011

The importance of tennis

Cousin Jamie continues to post family photos. I have many now to post as well. I have just called the following photo the importance of tennis. Comments follow the photo.Importance of tennis

In some ways, this is actually a fairly typical shot from the 1930s. Its a bush scene, with furniture dragged out from the house - two boxes, a formal chair, a wickerwork chair, one of those fabric sun chairs that you still see in England. They are all eating watermelon.  Kathleen tennis champion

With the decline in the importance of tennis, it's hard to realise just how important tennis was in New England. It was the most important social game across the entire North. Most properties, many homes, every small settlement, had their own tennis courts. Most people played.

This photo is of Aunt Kay when she was champion at the Armidale tennis club.

Tennis had many advantages as a sport. Land was then cheap, and courts were easy to construct. Tennis was a game that could be played by most ages. Importantly, it was one way in which boys and girls could meet and interact in a socially acceptable and relaxed fashion.

The world changes. The small settlements have largely gone. The home tennis court has been turned into a new block. Fewer people have the time or today even the skills to settle down for a few hours tennis.

Yet, and call me old fashioned if you like, I still miss the tennis. It's a game that I can play with my girls, that we played on every return visit to Armidale or when we were holidaying at South West Rocks. It's a game that stays with you.

I quite enjoy golf, another traditional New England game. Yet golf is not a social game in the way tennis is. It's too individualistic.

This week, and just down the road here in Sydney, I found surviving tennis courts hidden on a lane appropriately called Court Street. Oldest daughter has promised to play with me. Maybe there is hope!   

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