A Wonderful Day on the Westover Hills Courts

By Joe Grover

A Wonderful Day on the Westover Hills Courts

Weeks of planning for the Grand Opening of the Westover Hills tennis courts were rewarded on Saturday, September 14.

Supplies and equipment were brought to the courts the afternoon of September 13 and stored in the freshly painted and cleaned concession building.

The weather forecast for the next day could not have been better.  That was a good thing as there was no indoor backup.  The day dawned cool, clear and sunny.  All was well in Westover Hills!

Workers from Richmond’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Community Facilities (DPRCF) arrived at 6:30 a.m. to erect tents, set chairs, blow the courts clean, place a large stage and set up the sound system.DSC_0168

Volunteers from the Richmond Tennis Association (RTA) and staff from the Mid-Atlantic Section (MAS) arrived at 8:15 to label the courts, place temporary nets, mark the festival courts for games like Tennis 4-Square, King/Queen of the Court, Self-Rally, Tennis Hockey, Bean Bag Tennis, Koosh Ball Tennis and more.

By 9:45 all was in place.  Invigorating music was booming from the sound system.  DPRCF Director Dr. Norman Merrifield and 4th Southwest District Richmond City Councilwoman Kathy Graziano had their speeches ready to go.  The crowd was gathering.

DSC_0074At 10:05 Dr. Merrifield welcomed about 150 kids, parents and volunteers to the Grand Opening of the restored Westover Hills Courts that now included four permanent “Red Ball” (18’ x 36’) courts for 8 and Under play.  Ms. Graziano then took the stage to praise the efforts of DPRCF and RTA to complete the reconstruction of the courts and bring new programming to the newly named “Westover Hills Tennis Complex.”  Joe Grover, past president of RTA, thanked the City, DPRCF, MAS, Merrifield, Graziano and all of the volunteers assembled to support the Grand Opening.  On behalf of RTA Grover then presented the city with a check for $2,000 to recognize Richmond’s leadership in creating permanent “Red Ball” courts that better serve the city’s youngest players.

Zumba professional Stephanie Williams and two of her interns then led participants in a high energy dance warm up before players of all ages headed to the courts.

Players moved from court to court and changed partners every ten minutes.  Festival games were in full swing for DSC_0099participants who were not yet players.  Parents and grandparents joined kids on the courts or watched, smiling, from the sideline.  Volunteers made every game the best game ever!  Everybody had fun!

Participants headed for the prize court at 12:15 and, after winning a prize, onward to the concession stand for Papa John’s Pizza.  Thank you, Papa John’s, for your support!

Those whose tennis appetite had not been satisfied headed back to the courts for more play.