Tennis Players Get Served

About midway through last semester, upon entering the athletic facilities for my usual Tuesday afternoon intramural tennis league, I was struck with an odd sight. Three of the courts, it seemed, had been covered over with artificial turf, leaving us only three to play on. I would soon find out that, by the end of the semester, the other three would be covered over as well, leaving us with absolutely nowhere to play until April. I learned that the reason for the installation of a turf field over the only serviceable tennis courts on campus was to allow for winter indoor practice for soccer, lacrosse and any other team that felt the need to use it. Now, I am fine with the university giving a small amount of favor to club and varsity sports programs over intramural tennis, but to completely turf over all of our courts is downright unnecessary. I could understand splitting the space in half –as was initially the case –or even giving up two thirds of our area to allow for a shared space, but the powers that be felt the need to completely convert it, even when we have nowhere else to play. Is two less tennis courts worth of space really going to injure a team’s ability to practice inside? Would it really have been that hard to simply split the space up and let us play too, staving off the now impending conversion of my tennis racquet into a snowshoe? Furthermore, I’d be interested to know what brought on the change this year. This indoor turf field is a completely new purchase by the university, leaving me to wonder what the teams using the space now have done to practice in years past. If they are suddenly so desperate to practice, let them do it outside when there isn’t snow on the ground. I would play tennis outside, given the chance, but sadly, that chance does not exist for me or any other tennis player. As I said before, I have no problem conceding to varsity sports, but when I received an email touting intramural sports such as “indoor soccer”and “dodgeball”to be played on “a fresh new indoor turf field”, it was just more salt in the wound. The kicker of this whole situation is that the facility we play tennis in is designed solely for tennis, and tennis is not a sport you can simply go and play anywhere. Most sane people, not to mention many people in developing countries, would argue that soccer is such a sport. I’m not suggesting a varsity program go practice in the middle of Main Street, but, when looked at from a tennis player’s perspective, this situation has a multitude of alternative solutions that are fairer to everyone in the end.