Although I am a resident of the valley, I have never been a huge mountain biker/hiker/skier or really anything along those lines. But I do love living here. So, I had to find something to that would let me be a part of some kind of community. Right? From that need to find a sports community, I landed at a sport that would turn out to be my one of my greatest passions: tennis. I first started playing tennis at around the age of eight, and was instantly hooked. Seven years later, it’s still one of my favorite pasttimes. The first time I ever picked up a tennis racquet was actually at a local summer camp here in Ketchum at Atkinsons Park, a summer camp run by the City of Ketchum’s Parks and Recreation Department where I am now a counselor. As I learned to play tennis, my dad, who had played in high school, rediscovered his love of the sport and a new love of playing it with his kids. But now I’m getting off track. The point of this post is not to tell my tennis story. Rather, it is to highlight the incredibly strong, and underrecognized community of tennis players in this valley. While tennis may not be as visible as skiing or hiking, it is a surprisingly popular sport, and competitive. Every summer, the Lyle Pearson Auto Show and Lyle Pearson hold two tournaments on the Fourth of July and Labor Day at Sun Valley Resort’s Tennis Center. They are both USTA tournaments and so open to a number of different skill categories for each event. Not only do locals participate in these tournaments, but people from all over the United States flock to the valley to celebrate the Fourth of July and hit the ball around. This summer, there were even some Boise State collegiate tennis players who attended, and of course, dominated the tournament.
The coolest part about the Sun Valley tennis community is not that everyone is a great player, or even that there are tournaments every summer. It’s that nearly everyone who plays tennis in this valley knows each other. Whether they belong to a country club or just play on public courts, tennis players in the valley are super friendly to each other and share friendly camaraderies. They enjoy each other’s company and playing the game that mutually binds them. And, even though I am significantly younger than most, I have been welcomed into all of their groups–from Monday night get togethers on high school courts to the local contingent who show up for every tournament, I have been welcomed into a community of tennis enthusiasts who just love playing the game.