Written by Tad Clark
posted on September 13, 2016 12:36
Is it possible that I’ve been genetically engineered for tennis? My folks met on a tennis court, and I discovered the joy of hitting objects with a tennis racket before I started grade school. My self-instruction in the early years included two abandoned prehistoric rackets moldering in the garage and a convenient surplus of rock aggregate. It wasn’t long before Mom and Dad realized that the time was right to introduce me to the game the racket was designed for.
In 1961, we made the trek from California to resume tenancy at our woebegone cottage at the head of “millionaire’s row.” I worried that my fledgling tennis game would languish in this remote setting, but after more than half-a-century I’d like to pay homage to some of the many venues and players that have affirmed the River as a first rate place to play the game.
My introduction to island tennis began on the two clay courts at the Thousand Islands Club. I joined a contingent of players, including Sandy Morrissett,Trey Vars, Sandy McNally, Bob Peach, John Russell, Edie Small and myself who gathered there and played regularly. John Russell and I branched out to the courts at T.I. Park where we developed a longstanding rivalry with Don Estabrook and Jack Parry. The weekly results were soon forgotten when the Sherbet laced with a hint of Vodka (for taste) kicked off the refreshment wrap-up to each event.
I realized there was something unique about traveling by boat to island courts and particularly those in secluded locations like the Danforth court on Jolly Island, and the courts on Halfway and Temagami Islands, in Chippewa Bay. The Grenadier Island CC put in courts in 1975 and I became a part of their program beginning then and continuing to the present. I also taught lessons at Jolly and more recently at the Pal’s court on Lancaster Island. It’s a long list of the courts I’ve played on including Holcomb’s court on Wellesley, Textor’s court on Fairyland, the Totem Point court on Tar, and a brief outing on the court without fences at Ina Island.
There are literally dozens of private courts on islands like Oak, Scow, Round, Niagara and Murray where I have not played. Certainly it would be a challenge to see how many island courts I could visit for a round of tennis in one season.
I could propose an outing on several of the courts I have yet to play. Or perhaps I should leave that to some inspired member of the younger set!
By Tad Clark
Tad Clark, a fourth-generation, summer resident, has been a tennis coach for over 35 years. His growing interest in freelance writing includes commentaries for the “TI Sun”, a published history of Comfort Island: Comfort Island: One Family’s Generational Journey, which was reviewed in “TI Life” in November, 2015. Tad has also written several articles for “TI Life” – including the importance of Boat Shoes! When not in the Thousand Islands Tad and his wife live in Asheville, NC.