Cottonwood Tennis Club welcomes new players

Rosie Pruitt practices racket preparation.

Rosie Pruitt practices racket preparation.

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It has been said that more than half of the over 300 current members of the Cottonwood Tennis Club began the game after their arrival at Sun Lakes. If so, this may be due in no small part to Don Neu, who has been teaching his beginners clinics at the Cottonwood Club for the past 26 years. Don spends every Monday and Tuesday night from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the Cottonwood courts. There an enthusiastic group enjoys the challenges of hitting tennis balls at strategically placed targets under the watchful eyes of Don’s skilled assistants, Pierre Moresi and Mike DeMalleville. If two days a week is not enough for you, Pierre animates drop-in tennis at 7:00 p.m. every Thursday. “Everyone is welcome,” says Pierre. “Bring your racket and your sense of humor.”

The participants on Monday night are an energetic lot. Good shots are celebrated with well-deserved cheers and close calls with groans of sympathy, all this punctuated by laughter and good-natured ribbing. “Not only does Don make it lots of fun,” says John Arhangelsky, who started only a year ago and is now playing five times a week, “but I’m finally getting in shape.”

The group is an eclectic mix; male and female, new players and those returning after decades of not playing; there are young 60-year-olds and even a gentleman in his ‘80s, recuperating from recent surgery. “It’s not covered by Medicare, but it’s free and it’s more fun than doing sit-ups.” Edith Tanniru, who played in high school, has been traveling from Oakwood every week to join the class. She credits Don and his assistants for bringing her back to the game. Most of those in the class, however, are new to tennis. Ruthanne Strohn joined the group three years ago when she was shamed out of her golf cart by an elderly neighbor who suggested that Ruthanne was far too young for golf.

Noticeable in the group were the numerous couples who have realized that tennis is a great way to spend time together. Ruth and Toni both convinced their husbands to abandon the golf course for a couple of days each week so that they could enjoy hitting tennis balls at one another. As for Jill Robinson, who had always wanted to take up the sport, not only did she entice her husband, Kevin, to join her, but also her brother-in-law, Tim. Now they all get together at the Cottonwood courts every Monday and Tuesday, much to the delight of Jill’s elderly father, a long-time tennis player.

Whatever the reason for being there, they all agree that tennis has made their lives more enjoyable. So, if you’re tired of watching Andy Griffith Show reruns or doing crossword puzzles, why not come out and try some tennis? The class is open to all Sun Lakers. You’re certain to receive a warm welcome and loads of encouragement.

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