Wed07302014

Senior Lifestyles

Serve and you shall receive : Los Altos Tennis Club mixes fun with philanthropy

Photo Courtesy Of Los Altos Tennis Club Members of the Los Altos Tennis Club reap the benefits of combining their passion for tennis with a desire to serve the community. Their philosophy is to "serve and receive."

They do it for “love” of the game.

More than 30 adults looking for a good time, fresh air and exercise meet weekly at Los Altos High School or Cuesta Park, usually from 10 a.m. to noon. As members of the Los Altos Tennis Club, they play on public courts while helping charities like the Community Services Agency.

Although it has been around for more than 25 years, the club recently renewed its efforts to attract more members, especially those over 50.

President Bill Powell said that by joining, aficionados can “play a little tennis and be good citizens.”

With annual dues at $45 per couple, $35 for individuals and $15 for students, the price is right, too.

Club membership benefits those who want to “serve and receive,” according to Jack Bates, who heads the group’s 10-year-old Tennis for Charity (TFC) program.

“It works this way: ‘Serving’ and ‘receiving’ are common tennis terms, but they have a larger definition (in TFC),” he said.

This year’s program has achieved the dual objective of serving the best interests of mixed-pairs tennis teams, coupled with assisting at-risk residents of Los Altos and Mountain View via donations to the Community Services Agency.

The club’s most recent charitable event – a Relay For Life mixed-doubles tournament and lunch that benefited the American Cancer Society – took place June 25 at the Los Altos High tennis courts.

“While we do this, we can be social at the same time,” said Bates, adding that the club “does things to help other people, not simply to get more for ourselves.”

Another member benefit is the group’s “ladders,” which match men, women and couples who want to play with others of the same level.

Under the Interclub program, the Los Altos Tennis Club plays other community tennis groups. However, club members downplay winning and competition, favoring a more “mature” outlook that promotes healthy bodies and minds, Bates said.

“This is an alternative to what people get at gyms – where people run on machines in windows or exercise in a dark room to disco music, with a man yelling like a drill sergeant,” he said.

And what would a tennis club be without love? Many members, including Bates and his wife, Bette, met and courted on the court.

“I became more interested in the game when I met my partner for life on our first date ... on the tennis court,” said Bates, a retired electrical engineering executive.

Bates said he and Bette have been involved in organizing events and playing in mixed-doubles events since they met.

“This involvement has continued for 35 years and counting,” he said.

For more information, visit www.losaltostennisclub.com.

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