The Chairman's Christmas 2023 Address
Sat, 16 Dec 2023 00:00
As the frost settles on the courts and the nets don their twinkling lights, it's time to gather 'round for our annual Christmas address, newly revived.
Let me extend my heartfelt gratitude to each one of you. Our club's unwavering commitment to charity has shone brighter than the star atop our Christmas tree. Together, we have raised an impressive £2,300 to support local charities including the Chairman's Charity for 2023, MacMillan Cancer Support.
Charity isn't just about pounds and pence-it's about the kindness we share, the smiles we exchange, and the genuine connections we forge. As we sip our mulled wine and nibble on mince pies, let's take a moment to think of our neighbours. Maybe there's a fellow club member who's feeling a bit lonely or hurting this holiday season. Reach out, my friends. A simple word of encouragement or an invitation to a friendly match can make all the difference.
Let's swing those rackets with gusto, chase down those volleys, and celebrate both wins and epic rallies. So, let's live, laugh, love, and play tennis-because that's the secret to a well-rounded game and a well-lived life.
Our social and events team, led by the fabulous Mario Aristides in Events and Paul Duckworth in marketing, deserve a standing ovation.
They've orchestrated a symphony of fun throughout the year, hitting all the right notes:
- Themed Evenings: They've transported us to tennis wonderlands and introduced us to card sharks.
- Fun and Inclusive Tournaments: Our court battles have been epic-like Grand Slam finals, minus the jet lag.
- Maintenance Mornings: Nothing says "festive" like picking weeds, pruning hedges, painting, or planting shrubs!
- Wine Tasting: Swirling, sniffing, and pretending we know what we're doing.
- Christmas Drinks: Cheers to Judders and Mandy and mulled wine which could fuel Santa's Sleigh, and a special thanks to the Holy Cross for another sterling rendition of carols
- New Year's Day Walk: A brisk stroll to work off those mince pies.
- Theatre Trips: Drama on and off the stage.
- Golf Day: Because sometimes we need a break from the baseline.
Our MTA Coaching team, Adrian, Carl and Alex
They've served up wisdom, technique, and encouragement. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, they've been your tennis GPS-guiding you to better shots and smoother volleys. Thank you!
Junior Social Tennis with Gabor
Our future stars will be burning brighter under Gabor's watchful eye. Let's nurture their love for the game and watch them rally their way to greatness.
And speaking of greatness, let's talk about our competitive tennis achievements:
- League Battles: We've faced off in the Maidstone and District League and the Kent League, in Doubles, Mixed Doubles and Combi tournaments. Our racquets have sung with determination, and our net play has been nothing short of ace! Thank you to the tennis committee for keeping us swinging competitively.
- Club Championships: Our grand slam! The finals weekend in September showcased our talent, grit, and passion. You've volleyed, lobbed, and smashed your way to impressive results.
- Internal Box Leagues: Four seasons of fierce competition! Between 12 and 16 boxes, each with 7 or 8 players, battling it out. Congratulations to all-you've served up excellence!
- Social Tennis: Week after week of Wednesday and Sunday social, thank you to our elves that make this magic happen, Cathy and Jules and your team for keeping our tennis inclusive for all.
Our five floodlit tennis courts, the cosy clubhouse, the lively bar, and our bustling club kitchen-they've all been maintained and improved. A huge thank you to our members who've contributed their time to keep our tennis home in top shape. And let's raise our rackets to Mandy, Dirk, Tracey and the team for keeping things ticking over effectively, and the drinks flowing.
David Paine: Our maintenance wizard!
He's the reason our grass is greener, and our lines are straight. David, you're our ace in the hole! Thanks for taking on some of the toughest tasks and coordinating us on maintenance weekends. Our maintenance volunteers deserve a special shoutout. They've patched up more cracks on benches than a well-worn clay court, and their dedication keeps our nets taut and our lines straight, the grass green and our surrounds pretty and colourful.
I am also thrilled to share some exciting news with you all. Our beloved club has achieved a significant milestone: planning permission for two brand-new courts!
These courts are more than just concrete and lines; they represent growth, camaraderie, and the joy of chasing that elusive backhand winner. With our membership numbers soaring like a perfectly executed lob, these additional courts are badly needed to accommodate all the tennis enthusiasts who call our club home. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a beginner with dreams of Wimbledon, these courts will be your canvas for epic rallies and graceful volleys.
Now, let's talk logistics. We've been in cahoots with the council, and together, we're crafting a construction management plan that would make even Santa's workshop envious. Our top priorities? Residential amenity (because no one wants to wake up to the sound of a cement mixer) and highway safety (because we want to keep our pedestrians and car users safe).
Our construction vehicles will tiptoe through the neighbourhood, and our site personnel will be as discreet as a well-placed drop shot. All this, thanks to advice from the relevant authorities, which we will use to guide us and inform our plan.
But wait, there's more! Our commitment to the environment is as strong as a Rafael Nadal forehand.
We're embarking on a mission to enhance local biodiversity. Picture it: bird boxes nestled in the branches, bat boxes hanging like miniature tennis nets, bug hotels where even the tiniest critters can check in, and log piles that would make a woodpecker blush. And let's not forget the wildflowers and hedgerow corridors-our way of saying, 'Hey, Mother Nature, we've got your back!'
Now, about those courts. The suspense is killing us too! While the final decision on the court surface hasn't been stamped with a festive bow yet, the club's voice is clear: we're leaning toward artificial clay. It's like playing on a cloud, minus the rain. Our members have spoken (and voted), and their preference echoes like a perfectly executed lob. Fear not, though-the official verdict will be served at our next management meeting.
A heartfelt shout-out to our Mike, Geoff, and Richard. They've been our compass, guiding us through the twists and turns of this exhilarating journey. Let's also give a resounding cheer for our prudent and transparent financial management. Kim and Geoff, our financial wizards, have balanced the books with the precision of a perfectly executed drop shot and keep us looking forward, with a sturdy five-year plan.
Thanks to their efforts, our membership fees remain as affordable and reasonable as a well-placed volley. Armed with calculators and a love for tennis, they have helped us navigate the tricky serve-and-volley of club development. Their experience and insights are our secret weapon, like a perfectly timed lob that catches the opponent off guard.
And speaking of management, let's raise our glasses (or water bottles, if you're on court) to Mike Sturla, the captain of our membership ship, steering us through the choppy waters of paperwork, court bookings, and the occasional net dispute. But wait, there's a new player in town - Dirk! Welcome aboard! We are thrilled to have you join the team and assist Mike in keeping our membership shipshape.
Deputy Chairman Richard Laurent has stepped onto the court! Richard, a true club stalwart, has volleyed his way into our hearts both as a player and now as a committee member. His forehand is as solid as his commitment to our community. Let's give him a warm welcome and a standing ovation (or at least a polite nod, if you're mid-match).
Thank you also to Sheila, Jo, Jules, Cathy, and Tracey for your support in keeping the club running smoothly and to Alex, for keeping us organised at meetings.
Let's raise our rackets and toast to a future filled with aces, laughter, and net gains-both on the court and in our local ecosystem. Wishing you all a smashing Christmas and a New Year that serves up nothing but love, joy, and perfect drop shots!
Yours in tennis,