Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Cracks on the Boyle tennis courts. 
For the past four years I've been on a mission. I've been trying to raise money to have the Boyle Park tennis courts redone. It's been a labor of love. Literally. I met Eric at these local, public courts nine years ago. He was divorced and I was separated. We were both tennis addicts. Not only did the tennis courts supply a life partner, they saved my sanity.
When I was 43 year old I had some problems. Actually, I'd always had problems, but they got much worse. Sleeping issues that had haunted me for ages became unbearable. I started having anxiety and panic attacks. Lucy's departure for college the year before had triggered some emotional repercussions. Something in my life wasn't working, but I wasn't able to identify it.

Finally, my doctor prescribed Ativan so I could sleep. He said to take it every night for a month. I took it. I slept. I felt like the proverbial "new person". One morning, I woke up and decided to go Boyle Park to take a drop-in tennis clinic. I noticed that when I was hitting the ball I didn't feel anxious. I started to play more tennis. I arranged my life around it. I began to be anxious if I couldn't play. I got panicked if it rained and there was no tennis.

Eventually I made other changes in my life and calmed down, but I 'll never forget how much it helped me to learn a sport that gave me confidence and friendships. I've since had the good fortune of belonging to a private tennis club. Not everyone has that opportunity.

Tennis is a lifelong sport that should be accessible to all ages. When Rolf Heydel died in his nineties he'd been playing at Boyle every day for forty years. Many kids who learned as three year olds at Boyle have gone on to great success in college tennis. We're lucky to have pros Chris Reiff and Joe Kells. Joe taught me to play. If he could teach me, he can teach anyone. He's also wonderful with children.  I've heard him called "The Kid Whisperer." Chris is the body and soul of the place. Frank has helped foster the women’s teams for years. The Boyle courts have been a special place for generations.

Now the courts at Boyle are so bad they're hard to play on. The five courts are eighty years old and have done yeoman's duty.
Due to many generous private donations and a significant contribution by the City of Mill Valley, the long-awaited court renovation is slated for 2014. I'm very excited that this beloved community asset will be completely renovated – all five courts, drainage, energy efficient lights, fences, retaining walls and ADA accessible paths.
The City of Mill Valley has committed $380k in addition to the fifty thousand they have spent on plans and design. The community has raised $150k including a 50k USTA grant coordinated by Larry Smith. We have come a long way, but there is still a funding gap.

With tremendous help from Marcella Savino, I have been busy planning ROCKTOBERFEST as the third and final fundraiser for the courts. Here’s the flyer. See you there. Boyle Park Renovation