Author: Marissa Parisi

As August was winding down, I started to think about winter and began to worry.  I’m getting older, and in my opinion, Vermont winters are losing their luster.  I started to think about it being dark when I wake up and being dark when I get home from work.  I realized it will soon be time for snow tires, layers, and cold.  Yikes!

In an effort to turn this story around, I decided to try to find some new indoor and outdoor activities I can do in the winter that I would enjoy.  I’m lucky to have a discounted membership at a local gym so I decided to try a tennis clinic with some other beginner tennis players.  I’ve never played tennis in my life outside of occasionally hitting some balls around in gym class when I was in high school.  I bought an inexpensive racquet for $22 on and decided to go for it.

Every Tuesday night for the last month, I’ve been learning swings, volleys, and serves with people who are also learning the game.  Our teacher Damon is fun, encouraging, and patient with all the missed swings and far afield balls.  I’ve been surprised how much fun it has been to learn a new game and see progress in my skills.  Outside of the clinic, I’ve been making use of a free local court in my town which is well maintained by our parks and recreation department which is lit through the fall for evening games.  It turns out there are also many indoor courts open in the winter that offer courts and instruction that are inexpensive or free.

Tennis is a great workout which I’m finding fun and social!  However, there are times I wish I would have picked the game up in my youth to make the learning process a little easier.  Luckily, there is a great, free tennis program for kids in Vermont called Kids on the Ball, founded by Jake Agna in 2000.  Kids on the Ball has been bringing tennis to schools since 2000 in gyms and cafeteria spaces if need be to keep tennis fun and eliminate the obstacles preventing kids from experiencing the joy and camaraderie tennis can provide.  In the summertime, Kids on the Ball programming simply moves to neighborhood parks where all programming is free with no sign-ups required.

I’m going to keep working on my tennis skills at an indoor court this winter, but I’m also considering trying out Pickle Ball which is developing a huge following in Vermont and can be played by folks of all ages.  There are indoor and outdoor courts available throughout Vermont.  Are you a Pickle Ball fan?  If you shouted, “YES!” please let us know as we would love to have you as a guest blogger to tell you more about the game.