In my attempt to stay active in college, I joined Whitman Club Tennis. This activity has done more than just provide me with a group of people that has welcomed me with open arms; it has introduced me to an activity that, though I’m not great at, I can dedicate myself to for 3 and a half hours a week. That’s an hour every Monday, Wednesday, and Sunday spent listening to a very eclectic playlist by Alex Gerber while rallying and playing intense games organized by our captains: James Bogley, Jake Collie, Tamsen Shissler, and Michael Daniel.
I’m not the only one who loves this club. There are quite a few people who show up regularly and I decided to interview some of them to understand the different motives behind their admiration for Club Tennis.
Why are you in club tennis and why do you keep coming back?
Tamzen Shissler (Captain ‘21): “I think Club Tennis has a really lovely, inclusive atmosphere. I come back every time because I use it as my social rejuvenation during an evening of homework, and some superficial exercise to clear my mind.”
Jake Collie (Captain ‘21): “I’m in club tennis because I’ve played all my life. It started out being a way to maintain my tennis skills, but I keep coming back to club tennis for the community.”
Jakie Jones (member ‘22): “I’m in club tennis because I love the people in it and I love being active without feeling like I’m doing intense exercise. It’s just the best combination of my favorite things!
James Bogley (Captain ‘20): “Club tennis allows me to keep playing the sport I love with one of the most positive communities I’ve ever been a part of. It’s not a difficult choice to come to practice when you hear people amping each other up after points or smiles all around at the end of practices.”
How does club tennis differentiate from other activities you’re involved in?
Jackie: “Club tennis differentiates from other clubs in a crazy number of ways. It’s really welcoming to all experience types. It’s also full of really supportive people who make great friends and a great community.”
Tamzen: “Club Tennis is different from other clubs I am in because it has a lot of people who I wouldn’t ordinarily hang out with, and because it is athletic and intentional, without being aggressively preparation based. I am glad that our practices are not oriented toward competition, and that people can just be there to enjoy themselves.”
Jake: “I feel club tennis different because truly anyone can come. We have racquets, balls, and the courts so you only need to bring yourself! Anyone can pick up a racquet and give tennis a try which makes it different than other clubs that require specific interests or purchases to be a part of the group. I also feel that we are a very welcoming group to anyone who wishes to play.”
What would you tell someone who is considering joining but doesn’t think they’re good enough?
James: “We have people of all skill levels at practices (including complete beginners). Club tennis is the perfect space to develop skills and make friends at the same time!”
Jake: “If players are really concerned about their skill, then they can always reach out to a captain if they want a little extra practice. Or they can even take beginning tennis through Whitman and learn the skills there! Regardless, we always want as many players as we can get with any skill level!”
Tamzen: “For people who think they have too little skill, I would say that there is no such thing. We welcome people with all skill levels and we help people to improve as much as we can. Everyone is welcome!”
Club tennis is an amazing group of people and activity that I never thought I’d participate in. Though the club is comprised of so many differing years, personality types, and interests, what we do share with each other is our love for this sport.