Saturday, July 5, 2014

Double Fault?

Amherst College: Half dozen courts near the bike path destined for demolition

Okay, okay so I'm probably just being maudlin.  After all, my first brush with tennis occurred there (or the adjacent courts) in the oppressively hot summer of 1964 during a subsidized recreation program run by Jack Leaman, before he became famous at UMass.

But I'm still willing to bet most anyone who has walked or biked past these courts over the past fifty years will miss them when they're gone.  Kind of like the chain link maze at the UMass football stadium. 

Amherst College, our largest landowner, goes before the Amherst Conservation Commission next week to give notice about the demolition/conversion of the tennis courts to a -- you guessed it -- parking lot.

Since the footprint will remain the same, probably not a big environmental impact to worry about.

And the larger adjacent courts complex remains, so the fair weather grunts and thunks of balls meeting racquets will not be completely silenced.  The sounds may even carry to the bike path.

But for those of us who grew up with the fenced in fun, a little piece of paradise -- like our youth -- will be lost.

 Courts a little farther north have already been converted to a parking


Anonymous said...

Didn't Amherst College convert other tennis courts not far from these ones to a parking lot just a few years ago?

Larry Kelley said...

Yes. See bottom photo.

DaveMB said...

As I recall from giving admissions tours as an Amherst undergrad in 1978, the school could then accommodate a significant fraction of the student body (10-20%?) should they all want to play doubles at the same time. I expect they had some excess capacity.

Anonymous said...

any chance you know where to get a photo of the maze, Larry? That would be really interesting to see, and google is no help for me


Larry Kelley said...

Mary Carey found a couple and published on her blog a few years ago:

Anonymous said...

cool, thanks

Anonymous said...

I took part in a Tennis Camp at Amherst for a couple of summers in the 80's. I won a tournament on the asphalt courts that are now a parking lot. Glad there's still tennis at the college but those courts were where I got the majority of my instruction, they will be missed.