#Funfact: I started playing tennis when I was 6 years old. Unfortunately, my dreams of being the next Venus/Serena doubles duo with my sister never quite panned out. Such is life!
Over the years, after failing at growing out of several activities (soccer, ballet, Girl Scouts), tennis just seemed to stick, and I wasn’t terrible at it. We played USTA and ALTA team tennis while growing up and took lots of lessons over the years (my mom was really into tennis too, so it was a bit of a family affair). Off to high school and I made the Varsity tennis team and actually played as a freshman for the SPX Golden Lions. Then, when Flynn joined the team the next year, we were a pretty unstoppable duo during our high school years.
Once we got to UGA, however, football (GO DAWGS!), sorority life and parties generally took over my social life and I didn’t play much tennis (or exercise pretty much at all my freshman year – hello, freshman 15!). My senior year at UGA, Flynn and I brushed off our racquets and took tennis as our PE. It was a blast! Then I graduated, moved to Atl, and attempted to find a real job – never really picking back up with team tennis. Dedicating a night a week to practice and most of a Saturday or Sunday to team matches was not exactly in my social schedule in those days (mostly because I spent all my free-time at the Buckhead bars!).
Then, just as we were getting ready to move to NYC, flex leagues were introduced in Atlanta! If you aren’t familiar with flex leagues, they typically offer singles, doubles and mixed doubles matches that you play around your schedule. This is great for people who work during the week and can’t commit to team tennis on the weekends. Now that we’re back in Atlanta, in addition to USTA and ALTA, there are two leagues that I play in regularly: T2 Tennis and Ultimate Tennis.
They have collaborated to plan out their “seasons”, so that their leagues don’t overlap throughout the year, so it works out well! Usually, the two leagues alternate between singles and doubles and singles and mixed doubles, so I can play women’s doubles with Flynn, then play mixed doubles with Brian the following “season” and not have a scheduling nightmare!
The flex leagues are really fun to play in because it’s very laid back (for the most part – you definitely run into your over-competitive/it’s-just-a-game types). Everyone is super friendly, but it can get a little competitive at times because their is a City-wide Final at the end. You can opt-in to play in the play-offs to compete for the city final, or choose to just play the regular season and call it a day. Flynn and I have made it to the City Final twice, but weren’t able to play in it, so we’re stuck with two Runner-up trophies. They also give out car magnets and bag tags to division winners, so you could definitely end up with some swag like in ALTA and USTA.
If you’re new to tennis and want to get some more experience, I would definitely recommend signing up for these leagues. Sometimes it’s easier to start out in a more laid back setting than jumping right into team tennis. If you used to dabble in tennis and are looking for a way to get back into the sport, give the flex leagues a try. And, if you’re a regular team tennis player, and want to get in a little extra practice between seasons, these leagues are the perfect way to do so!
See ya on the courts!