Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tennis Anyone? What's What in Lee County Tennis

Steve Shortridge & Joel Hampton
Pro League is back tomorrow (Friday the 4th), with Gulf Harbour hosting the event, and Mike Curran’s team, Harborside Dental (HD), trying to supplant Jim Katterfield’s Boston Retirement Advisors (BRA) as the early league leader. HD will play Denny Rager’s league trailing AutoDrive (AD), while BRA will face Shawn Hedrick’s third-place Johnny Malloys’ (JM).
IN the HD versus AD matchup, Joel and I will face Chad Hedrick and Elliot DeBolt at 4pm, and John Ramsey and Christie Bradley will square off against Terry See and Carolyn Lawver at the same time. The other three matches, including Mike and Sergio’s tussle with Denny and Jared Kalpin, will take place at 5:30. All of the BRA-JM matches will be played at 4pm.
Kangwa Leaves Landings
T. A. Niles & Patrick Kangwa
One of the area’s premier tennis programs has lost its leader. A reliable source has informed me that Patrick Kangwa is no longer at the Landings, and to say that I was surprised at the news is an understatement. I recently did the Landings’ boot camp and Landings member Robert Block had spoken in such glowing terms about Patrick that I was shocked to hear about his departure. In the words of my source, while expressing how she felt about Patrick’s absence, “It's a sad time here for those who care about tennis.” I wish Patrick and his family all the best!
Three Oaks Welcome Week
Tennis at Three Oaks Park
Fred Hindle, the New Director of Tennis at Three Oaks Park, the newly renovated Lee County Parks & Recreation tennis facility, hosted a Week of Welcome at the facility. In collaboration with the Lee County Community Tennis Association (LCCTA), Hindle directed activities (all of which were free) including exhibition matches, taste of tennis, doubles round robin, a tennis festival for juniors and an event for the entire family. Approximately 150 people attended the activities, resulting in Hindle’s assessment that the week was a success. I’m looking forward to doing a full blown piece on Three Oaks in the near future.
It’s that time of year again folks. The best tennis players…or rather, the best available tennis players from ages eight to eighty (or thereabouts) in Fort Myers will tangle with the best available players in Naples in the Annual Naples-Fort Myers Challenge at Bonita Bay on Saturday, November 12th. Outside of the USPTA Pro League, USTA Regional events, and the Florida Open the Challenge is the biggest tennis event in area. More on this next week, but if you don’t already have plans for the 12th, you may want to consider joining us. I’m looking forward to playing a little singles again.
Michelle & Anna of Park Meadow
It’s a bit early to have a good idea of who will do what by the end of the season, but a few teams are off to stellar starts in their divisions.
In the rated divisions, Heritage Palms and Fort Myers Racquet Club (FMRC) swept all four courts in their first and only match in the 3.0 Division, and Pelican Preserve swept their first two matches in the 3.5 Division. In senior divisions, Herons Glen is flexing its muscles in Bronze, sweeping their first two matches, and the Landings Buttshots swept in their first and only match.
Caroline & Helen of Gulf Harbour
In the Silver Division, the largest and one of the most competitive divisions, Gulf Harbour’s Silver Strings has shot out of the blocks, sweeping its first two matches and winning 11 of the 12 individual matches played thus far. FMRC’s 60-Plus team also got off to a strong start with a sweep in their first and only match. It’s far too early for celebrating, but congrats to the teams that have gotten the jump on the competition.
After Pro League tomorrow, it’s in the shower then on the road, as I head off to the USPTA Grand Prix Masters at Williams Island in Aventura (pretty much North Miami Beach).  On court at 8:30am the next two mornings for clinic and pro am, matches after that, dead by the time I arrive home Sunday night. No funeral please; just a little tennis party at Kenney Park in Hartford, CT where my tennis began.  

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