Early on it was recognized that a place for players to gather to watch play and socialize was an important part of the game. They started off as simple shacks, but have slowly blossomed into fancy edifices.
It didn't happen overnight. And they're still not exactly on equal footing with golf and tennis clubs. But platform tennis facilities were rapidly becoming more than just a few dozen two-by-fours slapped on top of a ring of cinder blocks.
“When we first started pushing for warming huts some three decades ago,” claims Jim Reilly, son of platform manufacturing trailblazer Dick Reilly of R.J. Reilly Jr., Inc., “platform still held the dubious distinction of being the poor little sister to tennis at most clubs.While that hasn't completely turned around, we've certainly seen a whole lot of progress toward getting a fairer shake from club administrators and powers-that-be."
True to one of its stated goals, the APTA held an exhibition and clinic on October 18, 1998, to promote platform tennis in the North Carolina Piedmont.
The event, co-sponsored by APTA and Old Town Club in Winston-Salem, was a big success. The event was held in Winston-Salem, a city of some 170,000, and was co-sponsored and hosted by the Old Town Club, one of the few clubs in the state with paddle courts. An enthusiastic crowd of more than 50 onlookers witnessed an exciting match, pitting former national senior champion Bill Childs and APTA President John Horine against nationally-ranked Rob Lebuhn and Region III standout Tad Stellman. During changeovers, the players fielded questions from the crowd and discussed the strategies and techniques of the game.
“We couldn't be more pleased with how things turned out,” exclaimed Horine, in his dual role as APTA President and player. [...]
Credit went to David Kjeldsen, CEO of Viking Athletics for supporting the event that had become immensely popular and a breeding ground for future top players.
Carly Swain covered the event for Platform Tennis News.
"There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in."- Graham Greene
David Kjeldsen, CEO of Viking Athletics has opened that door for junior paddle players and for the future of the sport. For three consecutive years, David has been the moving force that has turned the Viking Cup Adult/Child Tournament into a major national event on the paddle scene. During the month of October, 10 local tournaments were held in six different states. Two hundred fifty juniors and seniors participated in these local "play-downs." Entries were up 20% from 1997. Each individual who entered received a Viking T-shirt and hat as well as a copy of "How to P[...]
An astronomical 102 teams on the courts. A mind-boggling 200+ people boogieing the night away on the dance floor. Why it must be the 25th Annual Super Scrambles Tournament in Bronxville, NY.
One of the highlights of Westchester’s paddle season, the Bronxville event had become a true platform cult classic. Marriages had been formed through paddle partnerships born there. Reputations for partying had been cemented (Peggie Theiss recalls several 3 a.m. closing time barriers). Senior records had been set, as Paul Delaney, at 63, became the oldest Super Scrambles winner. Multiple winners had been declared (among them Peter Sargeant, Brooke Johnson and Leighton Welsh). And best of all, paddlers had been having fun for 25 years, including Sugar Genereaux, who had never missed an event.
Source: Platform Tennis News, Mid-Winter 1999
PTN Winter 1999 covered the Men's and Women's Nationals:
“It was all we expected and more,” admitted a weary Bill Taubner after chairing the 1999 Nationals at the New York Athletic Club on Travers Island in Westchester, NY. “But I wouldn't trade all the experiences for anything in the world.”
While the headaches were many and the rewards relatively few, Taubner and his crack committee came through like true champions for the platform tennis world.
The inimitable duo of Flip Goodspeed/Scott Mansager once again proved themselves kings of the hill , thwarting all efforts to seize their crown, without losing a set in the entire tourney. Steve Baird and Rich Maier proved there is life over 45 as they reached the round of 16 before losing to the eventual champs. The darkhorses of the tournament turned out to be Fritz Odenbach and Mike Stulac, as they fought their way all [...]
The setting, the Nationals Championship dinner in the clubhouse at the New York Athletic Club’s summer home on Travers Island in Pelham, New York, was perfect and the recipients elite. Elizabeth "Buffy" Briggs, Steven W. Baird, and Richard K. Maier were added to the illustrious roster that is called the Platform Tennis Hall of Fame.
The first inductee to be introduced by Brook Kindred was Elizabeth "Buffy" Briggs. He extolled her organizational talents for women in paddle, as well as her ability in the play of the game.
Steve Baird was the next to be honored. Kindred again stepped to the podium to make the introduction and record the impact that Baird had on the game. It started with two Junior Championships with his brother and then, teaming with Rich Maier, to win 10 Nationals titles and be a finalist in three others. It was noted he also served on the APTA Board of Director[...]
Ware was elected to the APTA Hall of Fame in 1995 and spent 40 years of his adult life nurturing and promoting the game of platform tennis and was responsible for changing the color of the original white ball to orange so that it had much greater visibility in winter.
Ware served as APTA President from 1961 to 1963 and was instrumental in bringing young people into the game when he inaugurated the first APTA Junior Boys National Championships in 1963. He also designed the crossed paddles and ball insignia that was used on stationery, trophies, ties, scarves, and everything that represented the APTA for years. The logo was modernized in the late 1970's, but Ware's original design remains on the crests presented to Hall of Fame recipients and past Presidents.
Ware, the son-in-law of Fess Blanchard, became the game historian and he and his wife, Molly, put together the first and onl[...]
At the APTA Board meeting in Glenview, IL, in May, Wayne Dollard of Dollard Publishing Co. proposed a professionally-produced four-color magazine format publication that would have content and scope beyond APTA capabilities with their newsletters.
The new publication was seen as a significant enhancement in member value. The summer editions of Platform Tennis News and PTN Update would be the last ones and Platform Tennis Magazine would debut in the fall.
APTA President John Horine explained the decision process:
It is with heavy heart and reserved excitement that we say "good-bye" to the Platform Tennis News and "PTN Update” and say hello to Platform Tennis Magazine. This is an exciting time for platform tennis players everywhere.
Matt Wood of Chicago wrote in the winter issue of the PTN " … I think a small section of the Platform Tennis News should be devoted to some[...]
Issue #1 arrived in mailboxes in September.
Wayne Dollard, the editor and publisher of PTM recalled how he decided to pursue the endeavor and his vision for the magazine:
“Ten minutes prior to catching my flight for the'99 Nationals, my father-in-law and I were brainstorming over what he might do with his upcoming retirement. Out of nowhere he said, "Maybe we should create a paddle magazine."Having no publishing experience and a 60-hour-perweekjob I replied, "good luck." Over the next couple of days his idea grew on me. Why don't we have a publication for ourselves? The clincher came in the Westchester airport before my flight home when, out of the corner of my eye, I couldn't believe what I saw on the news stand shelf: Yo-Yo World! How ridiculous! Surely, paddle is more popular than Yo-Yo-ing or whatever you call it, right? At that moment the reality of Platform Tennis Magazine [...]