A couple of years spent nurturing our relationship with the university has finally paid off, and this summer we gained access to, and made significant progress with several key decision-makers within the Georgian Court University community, including a fruitful alignment with the athletic director, the director of intramural sports, the chairperson of physical education department, the soccer coach and the tennis coach. These relationships enabled us to finally gain access to the student body and greater university community as a whole, without stepping on any toes in the administrative hierarchy. 

As a result, we were asked to participate in the university’s intramural program. The first step was presenting tennis at the freshman intramural orientation day, which was then followed by an exhibition match for the incoming first-year students led by Gabe Kinzler. We were also invited to exhibit at the GCU Club Day, which yielded over fifty students signing up to be a part of the GCU Court Tennis Club.  

In late September we held our first weekly clinic, with Neil Smith graciously agreeing to conduct the clinics. Over the course of the semester, Neil hosted hour-long clinics every Tuesday afternoon. About fifteen students dropped in at various times for the clinics, with a core of maybe a half dozen undergraduates that have shown up almost every week.  

We plan to have our first challenge match pitting GCU against RCOP down at the Racquet Club sometime this spring, as well as have GCU women play in the popular Jay Gould (scheduled for 4-6 May 2012). 

In addition to local play, we have had many visitors. Players from Hampton Court, Lords and Jesmond Dene have gotten on our historic court. Moreover, for the third year in a row, seventeen players from Boston and Washington met halfway at Lakewood. The event, now called the Lakewood Invitational, has grown to include players from RCOP and Newport and is now providing a great launch to the tennis season. 

Even our friends in Washington have been helping. Temple Grassi saw a GCU alumnae magazine in the RCOP pro shop and discovered that one member of the GCU board of trustees lived in Washington. He contacted her and invited her out to Prince’s Court for the Cherry Blossom. As a result of her visit, she and Temple organized an alumnae event at Prince’s Court this past fall. Twenty-five alums attended, as did several officials from GCU including the director of advancement. Ivan and Phil gave a spirited exhibition. 

More information: http://gcrealtennis.org/