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Letter: Tennis at the Whistler Racket Club keeps me sane

'There is no doubt I need the tennis the WRC provides.'
What will become of the Whistler Racket Club?

I didn’t attend any of the public meetings about the Northlands and the Whistler Racket Club (WRC), because I try to avoid conflict and unlike our MPs I wasn’t given a panic button to push if I feel threatened. 

That aside, I’ve played tennis in the bubble since it opened in ’93, I think. I took time off in 2000, but continued hitting often enough with my 90-plus-year-old mother to help keep the sparkle in her eyes. It helped me, too, because she never hit a ball past me.

When I returned to the circuit in 2012, I began taking lessons to remove the rust, but instead I began to shine. I also rediscovered getting better helped maintain my sanity, for when I was getting better I wasn’t getting worse. 

While working on my serve, which I never had, Chris Parker, my coach at the time, introduced me to the kick serve. I was hooked on a skill I was determined to master. We remember the high I got the first time I kicked a serve over 7’ at the baseline.

My goal of getting 100 of 100 serves in and over 7’ was within sight, but when COVID served its kicker and the courts were painted it disappeared. It is within sight again, but still out of reach. So I keep practicing. 

When I get to 100 per cent I plan on returning to the circuit and I don’t want to think about how depressed I will feel if our club courts are shut down again by summer heat or fire or a real estate conflict before I am able to show off my $48,000 kick serve, and maybe finally take time for some mixed tennis.

There is no doubt I need the tennis the WRC provides. Where I practice with James and on occasion Val and Javier, doesn’t really matter, but all things considered I think the club should be left where it is.

Environmental scientists compare our existence to living on a speeding train with shades on all the windows. Inside we carry on with daily activities in relative calm, but if we lift the shades we will see our environment changing at a frightening speed.

Recently, a heat dome over southern Europe recorded temperatures that weren’t expected for decades. They’re considering moving the base camp on Mount Everest because its glacier, like those around the world, including ours, is melting. Everywhere moisture is being sucked out of land, reducing our food supplies. Increasing temperatures are the new normal.

As if “food insecurity” caused by climate change isn’t enough, Vladimir Poutine, the Russian cheesehead who is trying to give meaning to his life by destroying the lives of others, blew up a giant food warehouse in Ukraine and is preventing the export of Ukrainian grain to starving Africans.

And if destroying others conventionally doesn’t fill his void, he is also threatening to use nuclear weapons. In response, our government announced we are going to spend $5 billion upgrading NORAD to protect us from Russian attacks. But if Poutine puts his middle finger on his nuclear button instead, “Don’t Look Up,” to borrow a recent movie title.

Max said the Beedie plans offer “places to live” (“Is there a better place for the Whistler Racket Club?” Pique, June 16), but given the existential circumstances, will the place be livable? Is there even time to build another mega project? As an alternative, they could create a legacy project on the parking lot, a community of prefab houses, all with “green” roofs, in a landscaped setting, with no asphalt, just dirt paths leading to a community activity centre.

The tennis bubble could stay, since it will likely last until the crash, but it could be easily and reasonably improved with a reflective liner and a heat pump. With help, they could also build a multipurpose community building, like Myrtle Philip’s gym without the school.

I imagine it located in the space between the Montebello fence and the drive leading to the clubhouse, the bubble and Court 4. Even at the same elevation as the stadium court, the east elevation would be about the same as Montebello, but a grass-covered roof could rise up to the west.

I’m guessing the building could accommodate four east-to-west tennis/pickleball courts as well as all the other gym sport courts—maybe even squash. We could play on them for a few years after the outside courts melt. It could also be a party house, but being mostly buried it would take the racket out of WRC.

Incidentally, the housing units could be offered to Ukrainian refugees. They would appreciate living for a while in a bit of heaven considering the hell they’d be coming from and we all seem to be heading for.

It may not seem like it but I have played enough tennis to keep me sane and I thank Beedie for helping me maintain my sanity. I hope we can continue our partnership until…

Doug Barr // Whistler