~~ Sunday, July 13 - Thursday, July 17 ~~
After a few hours of taking in the natural beauty of western New England, I finally made my way south to Amherst. Strange that I, a die-hard conservative, would find myself at one of the greatest bastions of liberal thought in the nation, Amherst College. But I was there for no political purpose. I was there to PLAY TENNIS! The Nike Tennis Camp held here was, from the comments of previous camp-goers, purported to be one of the best adult camps in the country. And it certainly seemed to be from my experience! Since I was busy on court for the five days I was there, I really didn't have much opportunity to break out the camera. But I did manage to get some pictures from my week at the college, and here they are, along with some extended commentary.
Many of the campers - including myself - who were staying in campus housing stayed in the dorm pictured below. I had the furthest room at the back corner of the building. It was damn near underground. My windows opened up about a foot off the ground. The weather in Amherst was fantastic, with cool nights and warm days. But my room ALWAYS had a permeating dampness. The humidity was ridiculous. No breeze came in thru the ground-level windows either. The
The camp package I bought included my lodging and meals. We ate in the school cafeteria, and the food was always very good. Fresh soft serve ice cream was an evening favorite for everyone. Breakfast was difficult because we usually had to get up early and rush before heading to the courts. I tried to snag a few extra bananas every morning for energy throughout the day - that turned out to be a good idea! One of the bad things about the week, though, was that Nike was holding various sports camps there for junior players that week too. So during meals we'd be having to
I was probably the youngest person amongst the adult campers, but I got along with everyone regardless. Most people were fun to talk to and were pretty cool. Most everyone was from New York and other places in the northeastern US. The last night of camp many of us got together and had a little get-together in the dorm with food and beer. Politics came up at one point (not my doing!), and there were some heated yet fun conversations about Bill Clinton. For once I didn't get involved - it was just fun to listen!
Camp lasted pretty much all day. We'd go from about 9 am to 11:30 doing drills and various lessons. Then we'd leave for lunch until 1:30. (2 hours seems like a long enough time, but it really wasn't - in fact, I was so tired one day, I fell asleep during lunch and came back to camp a half hour late. Reiny picked on me the rest of the day.) We'd do more stuff all afternoon, and break around 4:30 pm. Then if people wanted, we had optional guided match play time around 6:30. Since I paid for the stuff, of course I showed up for that! The first evening, Reiny sat us all down indoors for some free beer and snacks, which was cool. Another evening, around 9 or so, a couple of the pros and some of the other campers (me too) went to a local dive and sat outside drinking beer and eating bar food. I was too tired to stay out long
I hope you enjoyed this retelling of my time at tennis camp. I'll tell you what - the whole week was fantastic. I learned a lot, met some interesting people, and enjoyed the time away from it all. Tennis has never been so fun!
Here are some more pictures showing me during some guided doubles play.