“We are treading carefully and looking forward to an active post-COVID season,” Barrie Tennis Club secretary said.
Danielle Rosensweig is happy to return to the game after a pandemic, a pregnancy and a move.
The avid tennis player moved to Barrie from Florida during the pandemic at a time when the Barrie Tennis Club, like most other groups, had suspended operations.
“It was very difficult for me” after the delay, having previously played four/five days a week, said Rosenweig, who has since returned to the courts.
The Barrie Tennis Club is based on the city courts at Queen’s Park and is equipped with its own members-only building. Members, divided into skill levels, play on the downtown courts on weekends and evenings.
The summer before the pandemic, there were 126 active members creating what club secretary Shirley Beattie calls a vibrant atmosphere and spirit.
“There were over 35 people on the waiting list interested in joining the club. Interest in tennis is that Barrie was booming with the rise of many Canadian professional tennis players such as Bianca Andreescu, Felix Auger Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov,” she explained.
There was no play in 2020 and although the clubhouse was closed the following year, there were league games scheduled following the relaxation of COVID-19 safety protocols.
But that year, only 91 members signed up.
Last May, the club and clubhouse resumed operations with 112 members.
Registration is now closed, but Beattie said there will be room for new members. Generally, membership is restricted to residents of Barrie, but there is an opportunity for those in outlying communities to participate.
The club is now cautiously offering all of its normal programs for members: tennis clinics, mini-tournaments, summer tennis camp for kids and hopefully club championships at the end of the season.
This year, for the first time in two years, the club is offering week-long children’s tennis camps in July and August.
Like many other groups, the pandemic closures have placed a financial burden on the club.
Beattie said declining membership and rising running costs meant those who joined had to pay more.
“Most notably, the cost of purchasing insurance for the club has doubled since 2019, and although the Ontario Tennis Association has provided financial assistance this year through government grants, the club will have to bear this additional cost in the years to come,” Beattie said. .
“Tennis is a growing sport in Barrie with great interest and the club is committed to rebuilding its membership and offering its full range of programs. We are treading carefully and looking forward to an active post-COVID season. »
Beattie emphasized that this is an inclusive community club accessible to all levels of play and the goal is simply to have fun.
Rosensweig, happy to return to tennis after all the interruptions, is getting used to doing it the Canadian way – only in the summer. Although she is aware that others play locally all year round thanks to the Midhurst bubble.
“It’s a very intense tennis world out there” in Florida, where you play year-round, she said. “You actually travel and compete against other leagues.”
Meanwhile here, “it’s a friendly, coordinated game.”
She says it’s fortunate the Barrie club organizes members based on their level of play and availability.
“The executive committee is very organized,” she says. “It’s a very nice group of people.”