HISTORY AND SPORTS

Those Summer Days…

When I fell in love with tennis and .10 cent Cokes

'bumpyjonas…
Bards & Barristers
Published in
4 min readJun 25, 2024

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Rose Park Tennis Courts — Washington D.C. — Photo courtesy of National Park Service

My father worked at the D.C. Department of Recreation. He was a bit of a big wig there. For that reason, my brothers and I spent many a hot, hot summer day in D.C., playing tennis all day in a city operated tennis camp called Rose Park.

Rose Park, one of the city’s most storied tennis courts (it is also a park and a recreation center), is still there today, looks just as beautiful, and when I drive by, I get chill bumps.

We had to be there early in the morning and we had to wear white. We did. The heat had not yet descended onto the courts at 8:30 am but that hardly mattered. The courts are partly shaded by trees that hang over some of the courts and the practice wall. And there I would be, many mornings in the summer, doing drills, stomach growling.

There was a mixture of children. Everyone was likely 16 or younger but most of us were probably between the ages of 8–12. I was one of the youngest but I loved tennis more than my brothers.

We had wood rackets; the fancy high speed aluminum rackets were not being used widely yet. And the balls were lime green. Most of the mornings were spent practicing strokes without hitting the ball. It was intense and beautiful.

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'bumpyjonas…
Bards & Barristers

word scratcher, baller...shot caller, born in a city made of chocolate.