In what has become a sort of unofficial kick-off to the tennis pre-season, more than twenty rabid court tennis players descended on the sleepy hamlet of Lakewood, New Jersey for the second annual Lakewood Invitational (where everyone is invited). What started last year as an extremely informal get-together to bat the ball around the court that Gould built evolved this year into a better attended event where the players were begging for some more structure. So be it.

Next year will be a bit more formalized.

From the T&R we had Bill Connors, Chris Blier, John Edwards, Phil Stockton, Paul Bolster, Jeremy Wintersteen, and Ken Forton. From Prince’s Court Dave Sterrett, Vern Cassin, JZ Golden, Michael Do, and Robin Martin joined us. And the RCOP was represented by Maria Morinigo, John Broussard, Baird Standish, and Tony and Maureen Ashmore.

And Tiger Riviere, man about the world, I guess was nominally representing Aiken that day, though he flew in from Costa Rica for the event! Who knew this could grow so quickly. Our official USCTA photographer, Michael Do (cousin of bandeau), took some photos, which I am sure will surface soon.

The day started at about 10, when Schuyler Wickes, who coordinates the court with the Georgian Court University, arrived to unlock the balls for the eager beaver players who arrived as early as 9:15 for the event. Play was informal, with groups of four playing one set with no deuce and then quickly getting off the court to allow the next crew on.

Each player played at least three sets, which were grouped roughly by handicap, though with Wintersteen playing that was difficult at times. In fact, in a rousing set, my partner and I defeated Jeremy and John Edwards. I could see steam coming out of Wintersteen’s ears.

We grabbed pizza for lunch, while a few people went out for sandwiches and adult beverages. I picked the restaurant for dinner: the Hickory Hog. Great BBQ, but it was confusing as hell getting there. And, to my horror, no adult beverages were served there. Again, Jeremy to the rescue! He ran out and picked up some bevvies and we were right as rain.

We’ll do it again next year, but remember that the more formal this gets, the earlier the commitment we will need to play. Another great event at a true gem of a court.