Episode#:30 Bobby Schindler and Shaun J Boyce

Allie Svabik

https://heytennislady.com

IG: @heytennislady

Shaun Boyce USPTA: [email protected]

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Bobby Schindler USPTA: [email protected]https://windermerecommunity.net/ 🎾

Geovanna Boyce: [email protected]https://regeovinate.com/ πŸ’ͺπŸΌπŸ‹οΈ

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Transcript
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Welcome to the Atlanta Tennis Podcast.

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Every episode is titled, It Starts With Tennis and Goes From There.

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We talk with coaches, club managers, industry business professionals,

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technology experts, and anyone else we find interesting.

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We want to have a conversation as long as it starts with tennis.

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[MUSIC]

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Hey, hey, this is Shaun with the Atlanta Tennis Podcast powered by Go Tennis!

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Check out our calendar of Metro Atlanta tennis events at Let'sGoTennis.com,

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where you can also find deals on equipment, apparel, and more.

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In this episode, we talk to Allie Svabik, who has started a new women's tennis

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league called Wine Down Wednesdays.

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They play on Wednesday afternoons.

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It only takes six ladies to field a team each week,

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so get your girls together and get registered before July 1st.

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And even get a discount as a GoTennis! member.

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Have a listen and let us know what you think.

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Wine Down Wednesdays is a tennis league for women and do me a favor,

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do everybody a favor, tell us who you are and what the heck is this women's tennis

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league that you're doing.

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Yes, my name's Allie.

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I started and run the Wine Down Wednesday Women's Tennis League, which is under our tennis

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lady umbrella.

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So you can find us at paytennislady.com or at paytennislady on Facebook and Instagram,

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H-E-Y, because just tennislady.com was too expensive to start.

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[LAUGH]

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But yes, so it's a women's tennis league in Atlanta.

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Three lines of doubles on Wednesday nights for a five week season.

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We do two seasons a year and we're just about to start our next season on July 26th.

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So it's in between other women's tennis leagues in the area in between all the seasons,

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USDA seasons.

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But yeah, I started in 2019 and I've been growing season after season ever since.

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And in that case, Wednesday nights, I was just going to look that up, but I sent my computer

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haywire.

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Wednesday nights is what for Alton, USDA?

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Bobby, you run a club.

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You got to know what's going on Wednesday night.

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What are the leagues are going on there?

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Give it a season in Alton, USDA will come up with something.

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I think we're at Wednesday might be, I don't know if there's anything right now on Wednesday.

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I mean, we have men's senior, it's a senior at night, but I think it's ladies on Tuesday.

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And I think that guys might even play Friday or Thursday.

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I think Wednesday is an open night right now.

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So that might have been why she chose Wednesday, which would be good on her point.

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Yeah.

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And yeah, so Thursday night is women's seniors in the summertime.

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And again, we don't overlap at that season either.

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But yeah, definitely wanted to do a weeknight concept.

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And that seemed to be open and the wine down Wednesday phrase was getting thrown around

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a lot just, you know, that's women's night out to drink some wine and hang with their friends.

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So why not do it at the tennis court?

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That's fantastic.

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And I know Bobby's got a thousand questions.

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He called me before I didn't say, what do we know?

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What do we not know?

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Is this an actual league?

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I said, Bobby, I think it's an actual league.

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And that's why I've been using that phrase of women's tennis league.

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It's not just introductory clinics.

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You don't, you actually have a season.

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You have teams.

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You have travel.

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You have a schedule.

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Did you do all of that?

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Yes, I do.

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Yeah, so very similar to a USDA team or an ALTA team where you would get enough girls to

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play together.

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In this case, you only need six each week to feel the full lineup.

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Then you would set your home court location.

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You only need two courts.

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And then you're placing a division with teams of the same level nearby.

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So I don't think that I confused when you started it, did you start it tied in with a clinic?

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We're going to do so many weeks of getting you prepared and then jump, you know, create

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the league.

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No, I mean, that's a great question because I do think that is the next product to launch

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because, you know, similar to, you know, a lot of the conversations that you guys have

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already had on the podcast, but there's definitely this need of individuals who are curious

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about tennis.

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Maybe they played before, haven't played for a while and just don't have anyone to play

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with or they see all their friends playing, but their friends are, you know, at a higher

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level and they need their own core group to get, get playing with.

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So some sort of program that brings them together each week, not just individual lessons and

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then, okay, good luck, find them a community to join, but takes them from zero to 60 and then

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once they learn the game or they feel comfortable playing matches again, you know, they can form

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a wine down Wednesday team smaller than some other leagues teams requirements now.

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And then they're kind of in the system at that point.

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So no, I would love to figure out who would be a good partner to do those types of clinics

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with, but that is not one of the products now.

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I think it needs to be though because we get a lot of people signing up as free agents and

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sometimes we're able to play some on teams or form teams with them together, but, you know,

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right now, don't have a solid product for them.

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If there's no one in their area looking for players, so yeah, that's important.

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And that's how you go the game.

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And when we spoke back in, you know, God, it's probably been about a month and a half ago already,

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but we've started conversating.

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One thing that I found very interesting in just the perspective of small geographic area,

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where I'm on the north side, take it for granted that every neighborhood has courts, you said

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you guys had court availability issues.

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Inside the perimeter for sure.

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You know, I have this great group of young ladies and brokhaven that were interested in picking

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up the sport and it's just hard to get access to courts.

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You know, the Sandy Springs Tennis Center has been very gracious with courts, but it's,

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you know, it's kind of a non-conversation with the other public courts inside the perimeter

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and that's tough because you see the demand and I understand, you know, everyone's running

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their own business and, you know, need to protect that customer base, but eventually you've got

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to have new blood coming in into those tennis centers to keep the game growing.

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Well, I agree with you.

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What would be the, I don't know why would a Sandy Springs not want you other than their

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capacity?

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Yeah, they got enough people taking privates with their coaches and, you know, that's

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a lot of people.

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I mean, not looking at their numbers.

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I don't know if that's, you know, a greater margin for them or, but it's just a set program

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and process and then anything new, you know, just like the pros and their tennis calendar

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is like you got to carve out your window and your time and, you know, try to make your, your

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stake on the court before someone else takes it or it turns into a pickleball court.

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Well, that's a good point.

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And their defense having started in the city public, you know, tennis center, I started at

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Chastain.

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The city also takes a decent chunk.

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And so yes, there are ways to increase your margin in a lesson more than just a rental

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court.

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So I get it because it is tough to make any kind of profit in tennis is unfortunately labor

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intensive.

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You could sit there and say, we're giving this many lessons, but you're paying that money

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out and it had a great majority of it.

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So it is tough on those guys.

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So I get it to a point, but like you said, I'm always looking for new blood.

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And again, we have a group of seniors at the subdivision, I work out.

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It's a 10 court facility and not very many of them are actual residents, but, you know,

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they're playing at a time of day with they're not bothering anybody.

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We love the blood.

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You know, and we pick them up in our teams.

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We charge a non-resident fee.

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So it's a way for the neighborhood to make a little bit of money.

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So I'm a little puzzled that have you spoken to and this was I'm going to date myself

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again, but the go to was always the post apartments that a lot of the post and I don't know

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if you know the apartments.

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I mean, like I said, I'm dating myself, but they were always, you know, they built with two

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tennis courts and lighted.

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Yeah.

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They were interested in being able to provide that kind of thing for their, you know, their

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residents.

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I haven't.

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I mean, it's a great idea.

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I've done a flex league season out of courts at a post apartment before.

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And it's certainly interesting, you know, the teams inside the perimeter that sign up, you

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know, kind of just by default go to all the tennis centers and it's, you know, I always

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try to ask them, are you sure that no one has a residential court that you can set as your

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home court location?

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Because I bet you they're free.

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And that was really as I was creating the league and coming up with the format.

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I mean, that's what I was seeing, right?

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In the three zero zero two two zip code, whereas it's the most all to teams of, you know,

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allegedly.

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But if you drive around a lot of these swimming tennis neighborhoods, their courts are,

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are still kind of empty because the neighborhoods that flipped over, they're not new anymore,

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as opposed to the neighborhoods now of North.

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So people that have fallen off or moved out of the neighborhood and the tennis scene,

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you know, there's not, it really takes someone to, you know, say, okay, well, we're going to

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try this again and we're going to try to get all the new neighbors together to play tennis

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again on our courts.

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So, you know, the league was very much, how do we kind of spark the demand for these courts

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again?

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Because they're open.

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Right.

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So, you know, the two court format as opposed to needing five courts to get five lines

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in on a Sunday afternoon.

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Is it a two out of three sets match play or do you do something to shorten it a little

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bit or is it going to be all right?

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Yes.

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So, and then we do no ad scoring.

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Okay.

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So I do just receive a choice next point wins the game.

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And then if it does go to a third third set, it's replaced by a ten point tie break.

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So it's been fun.

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It really keeps the matches moving, you know, each match is probably about an hour and a half,

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which is a good time.

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So you're there from six to nine, you know, hopefully your neighborhood courts are courts

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nearby and, you know, you had a nice girls night out and then you can go home at a reasonable

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hour.

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You weren't waiting around all day for courts.

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Yeah.

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And if you had any head wind from USDA out again, we have spoken, you know, we've got

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taken out to we know one of the big, their things that they would love for somebody to take

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over is introducing new people into their system, you know, helping people, as you said,

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get introduced to the court, then how do you take it enough of another level, find a team

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and it would seem like, you know, you're a great starting place and you're not trying to

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compete with them.

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So it would seem like that would be a good fit for out to, you know, work with you guys.

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Sure.

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I'm certainly open to the conversation.

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I haven't reached out to them and they haven't reached out to me.

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You know, I know they're not for profit and, you know, very much trying to make them full

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time gig.

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So it is for profit.

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So I don't know if that would be a conflict there, but, yeah, I think, I think what's great

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working on other industries, what I love most about tennis and working in tennis and

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you guys, your podcast and everything you're doing is kind of the epitome of this is there's

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so many opportunities to partner and work together because everyone's end goal is the

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same.

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If people get more people playing tennis and playing more often.

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I thought you were going to the right.

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But you know, other industries like I was selling advertising on the internet is like, you're

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all fighting for the same traffic in the same position on the page.

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So like you can't really partner with each other versus tennis.

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It's like, there's enough to go around and we all should work together and figure out how

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to, you know, enhance and grow the sport that we all love.

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But that's a great point.

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It's still, Bobby.

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I think we're both central people.

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We're bringing in the right people.

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Yes.

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Either that or they're doing a little bit of research and they're actually paying, listening

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to some pretty good.

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They say, hey, is it a good thing to say?

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They're coming in like, hey, let's make tennis cool again.

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What do you think of that?

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Or, hey, we should all partner.

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Why aren't we getting along?

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And I think maybe, I don't know if we're changing the culture or in a way that people like

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or maybe the culture doesn't have to go as far as we thought.

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Maybe there are more people out there that want to get along with everybody and realize it's

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not a zero sum game and that we all can do what we do well and partner to get and do

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it all for the benefit of the sport.

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It's true.

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It's unfortunate that we come out of the culture, but as you said, just not knowing even the

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drawbacks of the guys who run the Sandy Springs, what they have, everybody has something they

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have to overcome.

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And that's the hard part because at the end of the day, everybody's bringing Shia to the

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table and it's hard to overlook what is yours worse than mine.

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These are all, or can we find a way where we can all help each other out and understand

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that this guy's going to be limited.

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I found that fascinating that you guys, we take it for granted, that there's so many

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courts up here that we can go to another one.

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There's a subdivision of cro-- literally on my street, Windomir Parkway, I have a big

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Chattanoche River Club, Windomir, James Creek, three chimneys all within maybe three miles

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of each other that there's 40 tennis courts within.

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I forgot Brandon Hall, which is another one, the 45-50 tennis courts within three miles

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of each other.

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And tons of teams, right?

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Yeah, oh yeah.

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Because they're newer, they're newer developments, so everyone moved in new together and that was

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how they socializes playing tennis.

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And you know, folks like yourself running programs out of there that keep everyone engaged

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in sort of like a can't miss.

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But the original boom of the suburbs in North Atlanta, that Alfredo-Raz, well, what I've

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experienced at least just personally is like, our neighborhood doesn't have all the teams

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anymore because people have aged shadow of the game, people are no longer in the neighborhood.

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There's no one that's like, we're going to form another sea team because there's all

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these new neighbors and that's how we'll get to know each other.

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So people start playing elsewhere but they still have the amenities.

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And yeah, I mean, I was getting nervous that people would, you know, just the pickleballers

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would take over because it's easier.

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And I think, you know, you kind of need people to still use those tennis courts to make sure

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that they stick around because, you know, any new developments in town or anything with

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right sides living, they're like smaller.

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So they might throw in a pickleball, but they never throw in tennis courts.

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Well, two tennis courts in a bathroom, I'll talk about it.

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So what is the demographic of your league?

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How, you know, the age range?

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Ladies, I would say late 20s, early 30s and then all the way up to, you know, mid 60s.

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Okay.

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Yeah.

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I mean, we got some of the 70s that still ball.

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But they are my heroes.

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Because I was going to throw you a generational question as well as with the pickleball threat,

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which I don't look at as a threat.

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I think if tennis was smart, you could use pickleball to your advantage.

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How is it, you know, the instant gratification?

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So because tennis is, as you said, more difficult and easier to jump on a pickleball court

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and to get that going.

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I mean, I get that in my club all the time now.

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Why don't we start pickleball teams?

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And I'm like, you know, nobody's relics, I want to see how the first season goes before we

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jump in because I think that, you know, there's going to be some hiccups, obviously.

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So I'd rather wait till next year.

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But you know, do you see any of that that this is easier guys?

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I'm going to go play pickleball.

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From our ladies, no, they mainly, they're either not playing in other leagues and they're

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only playing wine down Wednesday.

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So they're at the beginner sea level.

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And the other lead formats just don't work with their schedule or they're playing everything.

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It's not, I don't see a lot of people jumping over to pickleball with our players.

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I think some, you know, probably dabble and do it socially, which is what's great about

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that.

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But yeah, I mean, definitely jealous of pickleballs, barrier to entry compared to tennis is

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out love to be able to, my friends and people that are just curious about tennis have a proper

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way for them to try it and enjoy it versus needing like this huge ramp up of lessons and

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coordination.

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Which is hard to acquire in 30, you know?

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Yeah, yeah.

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Hopefully that's happening already.

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Yeah, I mean, tennis is just the backdrop.

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What people are looking for is a community and a group of girls to get together every week

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to let their husbands take care of their kids and just go out and have some girl time and

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not worried about how are they going to fit in this new hobby with all their other kids'

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activities or things like that.

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Common quality, absolutely.

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That's one of our big themes.

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We tend to see the commonality that we share, but there's a lot of other things that go

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on, even from the social aspects.

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So you said, I'm much older, but it doesn't mean I don't want to go out at night or see

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something new.

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And yeah, what is, what else?

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And I think that's a huge opportunity for the tennis community that's really never been

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addressed.

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You know, how do we take 60,000 tennis players that we all know they're tennis players?

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So they have one thing in common and do something else.

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And even if you get 1% of those 60,000, it's a big number.

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That's still a pretty decent party.

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Why isn't more of that happen?

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So I agree with what you're saying.

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Correct.

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And it was important for me to keep a team aspect as opposed to the flex leagues out there

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or just going out and playing singles.

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Because that's part of my story is how I picked up the game, joining my mom's tennis team

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and really loved the multi-generations and hearing from other women, just their wisdom versus

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kind of just being thrown out there on a singles court just to play tennis.

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There's not really that camaraderie.

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So it was really important for me to keep the team aspect together for women, but figure

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out a faster, more realistic way for people to get a group together.

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I mean, I always say, I don't even know if I have 10 friends, let alone that 10 friends

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that play tennis and at my level to go out there and form a team and hope everyone's

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available each week.

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And I was seeing a lot of people fall off because there's so many challenges with making

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that form at work.

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And I think it's been, you know, Alta's numbers reflect that.

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I mean, you throw in an aging population, as you said, demographic changing as far as the

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building and the way you're being introduced, then you throw a pandemic into the loop and

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you lost a lot of folks.

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And so now how are we going to--

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I helped them, actually.

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That's the big argument with tennis.

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Did it help tennis participation?

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Yes.

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Did it bring new people to the sport?

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Probably not.

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I always laughed at, we used to do summer camps in my white comms when I was at white comms.

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And I never saw any of those kids after summer camps were over because it was a babysitting

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service.

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Half a day.

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So they were there to accomplish one thing.

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Yes, the pandemic.

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You wanted to do something.

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Tennis was obviously a very safe place.

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Once the pandemic is over and the league start doesn't change the entry barriers.

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And now that Walmart $90 bracket isn't really appropriate if you're going to try to improve.

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So it introduced, I don't know if we capitalized on the opportunity because of the entry barriers,

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as you said.

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Sure.

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And that kind of goes back to that new product that needs to be launched.

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It's like, definitely saw more people taking drills.

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But was that like a one in done because they showed up with a drill, hit the ball around.

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There was nothing to foster that community.

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They weren't like, OK, you same people are coming back next week.

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And by the end of this four or eight week, whatever session that they paid for, you'll know

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how to play and you'll have a group of people to play with.

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It was more like Joe for drills and see you later.

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And they were the attendance was great, right?

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Which is awesome.

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But, you know, it's like any hobby.

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If you don't have people to deal with or people to talk to about it, it's easy to forget.

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If we only had a network of coaches, maybe a network of coaches and a calendar all in one

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place where the drills are and we could all get, we only had that somewhere.

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One where.

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Well, yeah, I mean, I think what you guys are doing is great.

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And the coaches, you know, they don't, I mean, it's supplying the van, right?

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So they already have their schedule full of privates and existing teams.

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And so how are they going to, you know, allocate more bandwidth to, well, maybe this group will

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work out and, you know, be a long term investment, but it's just too tough, you know, especially

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during COVID when people, you know, were coming to the courts more often.

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So again, that goes, but as you said, all the little intricacies of the industry itself that

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you look at say, well, because most of our coaches are independent contractors.

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They don't have a club.

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They don't have a salary.

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The only time they're making money is when they're on the court.

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So yes, in a short term, everybody's looking at when I interview somebody, how many hours

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do you get for me?

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And that's like you're, you're not getting the job if that's one of your first three questions

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because you're not looking long term.

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You're looking, you know, how do you get passed tomorrow?

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And yes, there has to be a degree of that, but you, if you're going to do this as a career,

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you have to think a little bit more long term and you have to think about how do we

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build a program?

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How do we create that community?

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And I completely agree with you.

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I mean, I came in, I was fortunate to be like the person who started White Collins.

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So for better or worse, they were stuck with what my ideas were in the culture to coming

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in following somebody at Windomir.

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And it took a few years to change the culture.

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And I always love that when we started, I would always play music on the court.

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You know, when you come in, you're here in 70s and 80s music.

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You know what you're getting yourself into.

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And in the beginning, oh, it's loud.

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I can't concentrate.

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And I was, as I said yesterday in the podcast, you know, hey, if you want to play with you,

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it's open.

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You got to use the planes over your head.

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A little bit of noise is going to bother you.

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Now, so many years later, everybody brings their own little speaker for their court.

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So you have 10 courts with 10 different types of music.

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So the culture is much more energetic.

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You know what you're getting into.

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And it's funny when we get people who come in from other places, you know, they used to

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complain, now they, oh, no, we love it.

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We love it.

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So, but it takes time.

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And like you said, if you're looking at the threat of losing money, you know, coaches pull

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the plug quick if they feel threatened because there is another one right next door who's

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willing to undercut the price and, you know, the other thing that we're trying to do is promote

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the idea of the certified coach that there is a difference.

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You know, the guy who's got a ball hopper who says, you know, everybody back in the day we

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used to laugh was the number one player in Georgia.

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Well, how did Georgia have so many number one players if everybody was number one?

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So somebody was, excuse me, lying, but you know, what are the differentiators for the pros?

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And it's taken a while for the USPTN, the USPTR, the certification branches to up their

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game.

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But now they do require background checks.

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They do make you take the class, you know, the Olympic harassment classes to make sure

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that you have an understanding.

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You know, they do make you take continuing education.

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So you're not teaching the continental grip for hand because you grew up in the 70s and

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that's what you know.

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So you know, that's the other part too is how we're going to change the game is show people

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that there is a difference.

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This is why you want to get involved.

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And hopefully you'll make it more easier to learn and enhance everyone's experience.

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Yeah.

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And from, you know, a lady's perspective, yes, I don't want to learn inaccurate forehand,

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but you're paying for entertainment, you know, you're not really there to, you know, be

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on the fast track to go pros.

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Yeah, you're going to win.

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Yes.

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And again, like you can only buy something that's a product and available.

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And I think that's what's great about your guys and calendar is you're giving, you know,

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coaches the opportunity to products, productize what they do.

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And this is how someone can find out about me and know its legit and go in and, you know,

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book and plan for sessions that I'm free versus like, you know, oh, I know so and so.

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And here's his number.

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It's, you know, a little bit less professional.

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So yeah, yeah, no, I mean, I think the USDA holds a lot of power there.

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And I know they have tried several programs and you know, that tennis apprentice program,

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I think is kind of the closest thing I've seen to it.

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And it's just a matter of, well, how do we, if it's a public court, how is that mandatory?

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Because that's, that's important that everyone kind of picks that on and start having standard

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programs no matter where you are.

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So as a tennis player, when someone asks you, how do I get into it?

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It's like, boom, that's how you get into it.

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Well, hopefully at some point everybody says, go to, go to let's go tennis.com find something.

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Right?

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Because at some point, yeah, you look, you look at USDA and they're going to have certain

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programs and certain places.

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Some of it's going to work.

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Some of it's not.

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A. Well, so none of the coaches are jumping in, raising their hands and, ooh, meek.

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Will you under pay me to teach tennis?

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Mm-hm.

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So we've got some limitations there.

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And from what I'm hearing, Bobby again, it seems to be the theme.

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And I don't know why I'm a little bit surprised today because this is why we got in, why

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we started having these conversations in the first place is that people are struggling

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to find teams.

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There are lots of courts in the suburbs that are unused and people are struggling to find

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drills and lessons and really somebody they can connect with or somebody that can coach

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them that is certified, that doesn't show up, that they're comfortable with, that maybe

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has already been bedded and that they can not just a simple referral.

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In this case, it's a well-fed certified pro.

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So the question being, does an Alta have all these, they've had all these problems and

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Alta's had thousands of years to figure it out and they haven't.

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USDA has millions of dollars and thousands of years to figure it out and they have it.

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Bobby, what makes us think that we've got this figured out?

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Well, I don't think that we know we haven't figured out.

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It's the implementation part is the challenge.

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I don't fall to Alta because Alta is frustrating as it is, tells you point blank, we are a leak.

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That's what we do.

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And we hear you, but that's now what we do.

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Now the governing body of the sport in the country, they might have some culpability, but

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again, they have to come concise with a business model and I think they've been not really

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good at doing that.

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That's about the best way I can put it.

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You've got to decide who you want to be when you grow up.

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And they have never been able to reconcile, are we raising champions, which at our best we

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had, let's go to the San Chris Chang, we had four guys in the top 10.

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Okay, four, how many millions of people live in this country?

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Do we want the hundreds of millions playing tennis or do we want to watch four?

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Well, watching four really didn't do a lot for the sport, so you would think we should

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change our focus a little bit.

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And use the Elon, I'm sorry, the Jordan Peterson theory of if we have enough people born, we will

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solve the global energy problem because one of those kids is bound to be a genius and he'll

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figure it out.

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That was, that's a great idea.

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Okay, that's not the big deal.

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Nobody ever considered this.

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We have enough kids.

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One of them is bound to be bright.

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So we could, we could hope for that in Atlanta with so much exposure to tennis for so long,

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maybe somebody will figure it out again, it goes back even in this city, you think about

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it, all the pros paranoid, we don't want you walking on our court, traffic is a bear in

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this city.

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Yeah, I might want to go to, I mean, we had passes to go yesterday to the Atlanta open and

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meet Ryan O'Palka.

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And I'm not going to, in Lanark station at three o'clock in the afternoon, I live 35 miles

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away.

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I know as much as that was entertaining and a fun idea, I have a daughter, I got to pick

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up, I can't do it.

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So I think that, for the people who are going to do it, they're going to do it.

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And that's great, that's, because they're going to talk to their base and if they draw one

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or two and again, and I think that's where tennis pros need to, in the industry, used

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to wake up.

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You're not going to lose that much business.

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Hopefully you're going to create more business because there's more people playing, more

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energy, the idea of making tennis cool again, that I can go out and talk about it.

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And you know, just find other, I don't want to play an out to league, it takes too long.

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Oh, well, they go play Wine Wednesday.

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You're done, you're getting the same camaraderie.

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I mean, as I said, I was laugh about, you know, this is a bowling league in New York.

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Well, we've bowled every day.

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There was a different league every night of the week in New York at your local bowling

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alley.

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You know, we just blessed with good weather down here, so it's tennis.

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Why are we so paranoid?

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And I, you know, I don't know, again, I'd love for somebody to do the psychological

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aspects.

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It's an individual sport.

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Does that affect because the people that are in it have been in a cocoon for so long

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that it's hard to see big picture?

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I don't know.

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Obviously, that's where I plead the fifth and have no idea.

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Yes.

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So I mean, I didn't come from tennis.

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I played volleyball through college when I knew you were going to college.

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Well, New York, I went to Maris College and I saw that the red fox is.

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I've been waiting for that in.

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Did I have pictures in the Duncan Dutchman all over the point?

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I didn't make Smith.

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Rick Smith.

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I didn't believe anything I was saying.

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Duncan Dutchman, Center for the Indiana Pacers.

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Right.

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Was it red fox?

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That's right.

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We're very proud.

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But yeah, so when I moved back to Atlanta, you know, my mom would just invite me to go

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watch her tennis matches.

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And I was like, it seems like the least I can do since you've watched every match in

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mind throughout my whole life.

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And then I realized it was, you know, a neighborhood black party.

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So I would go to their beer, hang out, you know, have a lot of fun.

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And eventually that's how I got into it.

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They invited me to join the team, started playing, caught the bug.

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But you know, I think that experience playing all other sports and even now playing, you know,

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college, San volleyball league, softball leagues, like seeing how those captains, I love my

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captains.

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I love the way they play for those leagues, but they really just tell us what time to be there.

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They show up, flip the coin and now we're underway.

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Seeing what effort it takes to do tennis as a team in a league is wild.

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So yeah, I mean, had I grown up playing tennis, I'd probably have, you know, quite a different

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perspective, but not playing tennis and finding it later and kind of comparing it to my other

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experiences in adult sports.

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That's, that's a lot of the inspiration behind Wine Down Wednesday.

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Well, what we've learned to fortify what you're saying is a lot of play, first of all, we

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were, I think we had Luke Jensen, we spoke to Luke and he told us that 70% of division

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one tennis players never play tennis again after they leave college.

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So that number one is a really horrifying statistic in my mind that they're so burned

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out that that's the last time they touch the rackets is 22, 23 years old.

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So that's horrifying.

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The other reassuring when we asked the question, we'll ask you in a little bit about the

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king of Queen of tennis, a lot of the replies have been doing things in a team format either

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on the professional recreationals that people, again, we want that camaraderie.

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As adults, we, you know, what do you lose when you go to school?

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Commonality.

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We're all, we all stinkin' algebra.

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So we have that, we're in the bunker mentality.

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I don't want to go to algebra, I hate history, whatever it is.

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So we have a commonality and as you get older, the commonalities become, unfortunately,

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just for adults is just your children.

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Oh, you know, what, what were you driving today?

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Oh, they got practice at this.

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They got practice.

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Well, you kind of have a life, you know, it's not, it's not fair for the kids and it's certainly

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not fair for the parents that you got to continue to function and find something for yourself.

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Yeah, absolutely.

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And...

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Well, you're on the right track.

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So how many folks do you have playing and how do people find out, you know, what has been

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your most effective way of getting new people to find out about you?

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It's a great question.

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So we just closed our early registration where you get $5 off reviews.

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We already have 40 teams signed up for the next season.

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So it's going to be our biggest yet.

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And hopefully they continue to keep coming the rest of June.

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Our cutoff date is July 1st.

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And like I said, the season will start July 26.

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But it's like anything, you know, no one really takes action unless their friend told them

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about it or told you and it's a trusted source.

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So I feel like I can scream on social media, blast out a lot of emails.

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But really, you know, how do you find out about it?

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Oh, you know, my friend told me is the most common.

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So yeah, we do all that.

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We're, you know, on social, do a lot of conversions and email, hop into the Atlanta tennis players,

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Facebook group and other groups around town just to get the brand out there.

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But yeah, it's usually someone will tell them or, you know, we're so blessed to have such

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great captains.

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You know, I try to get away from using the term captain because it's got such a negative connotation

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in all their leagues and calling my fearless leaders.

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But really, that's what it takes.

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It takes someone to say, we're going to do this.

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Come on, ladies.

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You know, I got the courts and we're ready.

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And they do such a great job and they make it fun.

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They bring the speakers to play music.

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They take pride in their playlists.

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They want to share it with the opponents.

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You know, they come up with fun things like theme nights to do, you know, amongst their teammates,

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just to keep it light.

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And so we try to reward them as much as possible and give them gifts and encourage them to,

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you know, keep coming back season after season.

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And yeah, I mean, because we don't have teams without them and certainly don't have a league

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without teams.

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But yeah, it's definitely the referrals that keep us going.

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We offer a free season each time someone refers a new team.

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So that's an incentive.

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And what we'll notice is a lot of the new teams, they'll have a lot of people in their roster,

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you know, first season.

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Just kind of, that's the mentality again.

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Like we need this many people because even though people are signing up to do something,

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they're not going to be committed to it.

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And then once they realize they don't need that many people, they'll break off with the

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two teams or they'll recommend the league to their neighbors that play at a different

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level.

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So we see a lot of a lot of bad each season getting new teams.

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How is the drive time?

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Where are you, you know, where do geographically is the heart of your program?

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How far do you go south?

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How far do you go north?

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How far east and west?

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So, you know, very much up 400 are for this team's north are incoming.

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Yeah.

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She's got your surrounded, Bobby.

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I think my ladies would love this.

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And again, they're playing it at a time.

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I mean, our ladies are at a point where they're doing flex league amongst themselves.

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I mean, I know there's a flex league across the street.

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I know that a guy at Atlanta, what Atlanta, you know, one of the Atlanta's, I don't know,

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developed his own software for it.

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So there is a need.

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I mean, it's not impeding on Alta.

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It's just a little smaller, a little more quaint, a little more fun.

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Yeah.

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Because it's a little more, you know, it's smaller, more intimate.

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You can do crazy things.

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I mean, my daughter just told me, I'm thinking about it, you know, Taylor Swift's concert tour

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is called "Ears."

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And all the girls are literally dressing as Taylor Swift at the various point for the different

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albums they were representing.

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And my daughter said, oh, well, somebody came up with something.

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Nobody knew.

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They dressed up like her character in the Lorax.

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That, you know, she was one of the main characters.

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Oh, that's a great idea.

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But I mean, you could literally have somebody dressed up as Martina, Hinges, Huna, Pratillo,

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Vakras, Vakras, Vakon, Bore, Giammi, it would be a blast.

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Yeah.

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They'll be like 80s, night, or, you know, for a night.

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I mean, let's face it.

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Like, that's also why I got any attendance with the clothes.

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And that's what girls wanted to do for a girls night out.

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Just having an excuse to get dressed up and go do something.

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But, you think of somebody drove, do you think of somebody drove a truck to your facility

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where you were playing with clothes in it, with the girls would be excited about that?

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Would that make them feel like, well, this is something different?

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For sure.

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Yeah.

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For sure.

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Yeah, like we'll bring wine, like, surprise people with wine, send up pizzas, you know, just

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things to keep everyone engaged.

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We do a cocktail contest every season.

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So we get sponsors for that.

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And basically, it's just a way for people to take a team photo and show off their team

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on social media.

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You know, so we do that.

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And it's been a blast.

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I mean, I'm amazed at how creative people can be, whether it's their team name or their

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cocktail or anything.

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And it's just great to have a backdrop for them to funnel that too.

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Fantastic.

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But yeah, as far as South, as, I guess, the Buckhead area, so that's North and South, East

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and West, we go over to like, Smurna vines, Woodstock, just had a team sign up for Buford.

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So, you know, got to grow in that area as well.

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Need to get over into the Decatur area.

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The cab can get some courts, but yeah.

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That's a tough spot.

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Yeah.

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I mean, like you guys, we're saying, drive time, as we survey each season is the number one thing

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people want to be close.

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You know, it's drive time, then close matches in terms of competitiveness and then new opponents.

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You know, it's not, it's not the other way around, which I feel like sometimes we get focused

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on.

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So, that's the challenges is getting enough people in their pockets at their level to give

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them, you know, a proper division where they're not driving super far, but that's any

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leagues challenge.

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So, have you ever thought, because this is, this was again, very aged idea, but when we

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were thinking about dipping our toe in years and years ago, having just designating, going

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to four facilities, and this way, say, look, I need Wednesdays, I'm going to bring you

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six courts.

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And this, you know, when you sign up that you can pick from these facilities, and this

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is your home site.

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Yeah, I would love, love that option.

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I mean, I guess this is the USDA's poll when Red Hair and now Stillfire Brewing League launched.

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They like, overtook all the public kind of facilities, which is awesome, because I know

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I could fill them if I was given the courts.

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So yeah, it, that would be great.

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But right now, it's, it's definitely trying to revitalize some of the existing Swim tennis

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courts that are around, because the public courts just are tough right now.

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And I think, you know, COVID, the boom with COVID and just people booking in and playing in

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different flex leagues and things like that.

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Obviously, they didn't have as much available anymore, but also just trying to figure out,

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like who's running the show at each beyond the city and convincing them to have your back.

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So I'm very, you know, grateful to Sandy Springs and the folks I know over there for, for helping

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me out.

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But yeah, they want to give us more courts will, will fill them.

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Very good, very good.

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All right, Shawn, you, you got the big question.

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I bet you she's got an answer for us too.

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I'm curious of this one.

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We, we get a chance to ask everybody if you were King or Queen of tennis.

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And we've had more Queens recently, I think, Bobby, but if you were Queen of tennis, is there

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anything you would do, whether it's a day, a year, however long it would take, you get to

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answer however you'd like.

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If it's just an Atlanta or for the whole world, professional amateur, however you want to

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look at it.

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But if you were Queen of tennis, is there anything you would do or change?

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Yes.

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I think we touched on it early, but offering that product for someone who's curious about

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tennis or wants to get back into it after taking time off where they can go to a public facility,

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sign up for a session with other people and go from zero to 60.

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Now they know how to play.

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They can play on their own.

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And there's a community of people that they can play with.

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And if that was required at just in Atlanta, at Bitsy, Chastain, DeKab, St.Vee Springs,

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all these different Blackburn, all these different public tennis centers where it's not just

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beginner drills and no sort of community building.

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I think that would be awesome.

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And then from there, you would form doubles parings that could then play a flex league,

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groups of women's that could then go play Wine Down Wednesday, a bunch of mixed teams,

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like that that would just continue to perpetuate what we have in Atlanta.

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And I think it would be applicable around the country as well.

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I mean, I think that's what you get when you join a country club, right?

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You get that kind of programming or when someone's running the tennis facilities in your

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neighborhood.

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And that's kind of what needs to be available at the public courts.

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So that would be number one for me.

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And obviously, I'm selfish because I want more teams coming out of that.

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But then I also am very jealous of other sports that can have that low barrier to entry,

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like we were talking about, that just gets people thinking about the sport, even if they're

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not ready to commit and try to play it yet.

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So like the bowling alleys, the top golf, the pickle and chicken, we're going to go out

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to a bar and like, oh, I didn't notice that there was a beach volleyball court at this

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bar.

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And I'm thinking about beach volleyball tennis needs that.

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And it's hard because it requires a lot more coordination.

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And I don't know what the model would be, but it would be awesome if someone could figure

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it out.

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I guess the closest thing that got was like we tennis when people were playing that all

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the time in their own homes.

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But there's so much now, like, you know, with simulators and things of that nature that,

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you know, again, people just knight out whether they throw in axes or something while they're

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drinking beer and having a good time and that sport kind of gets mentioned during those

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times.

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So yeah, that would be cool.

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Well, there you have it.

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We want to thank rejuvenate.com for use of the studio.

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And be sure to hit that follow button.

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For more tennis related content, you can go to Atlanta tennispodcast.com.

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And while you're there, check out our calendar of tennis events deals on equipment, apparel,

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and more.

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And you should feel good knowing that shopping at Let's Go Tennis.com helps support this

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show.

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You can also donate directly using links in the show notes.

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And with that, we're out.

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See you next time.

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