Lempert Leads the Lockdown Ladder

After three months of pandemic lockdown, which sadly blighted and took the lives of so many, the newly resurfaced Bishops Castle tennis courts reopened in June as Government restrictions on social gathering began to ease. I have been one of the fortunate ones able to leave my home regularly to continue to work throughout, albeit in a vastly different healthcare arena. So lucky also to live in such a fabulous environment and to be able to go out for regular cycle rides and walks.

Tennis, though, is a great leveller. Without regular practice it is hard to maintain even a basic skill level. So as soon as the courts reopened they have been in regular use. Keen observers will have seen a wide variety of players, some old some new, some so excited to be back that the two men in particular have been nicknamed the topless wonders. I have been on the courts several times a week knocking up, playing doubles and singles with anyone who’ll be on the other side of the net, that is until my enthusiasm overtook my physical capacity with the inevitable injury.

The ladder has provided an opportunity for any club member to play other club members regardless of age, gender or ability. As we began to poke our tennis racquets out of Covid-hibernation, it has been a great opportunity to encourage people back onto the court, particularly when singles was the only show in town.  I have now played five games, working my way from the bottom to the ‘very’ top of the tiny ladder of ten people. Every game was a joy in its own way. Everyone I played was just happy to be back with a racquet in hand hitting a ball. I played against friends and against people I might ordinarily never meet at the club.

Those of us who have been members of the club for years can get into a comfortable pattern of playing in regular groups or with regular people and can miss out on meeting new members or being challenged or challenging other players. Equally, newer members sometimes struggle to find people to play against. In this way the ladder has been great. It’s not closed and anyone can still join. My vote is for a year-long ladder in the same vein.