Money not buying happiness: required payment leaves tennis team with limited practice space


Senior Anthony Cox pushes a button to turn on the tennis court lights on his desired court after paying a fee.

Sakshi Lawande, Copy Editor

As the spring sports season approaches, PV athletes are beginning their pre-season training. With the school providing access to training equipment, athletes are able to prepare for potential success in their upcoming season. However, as PV restricts the usage of the tennis courts due to a required payment for floodlights, the tennis teams are left with limited practice space–a necessity to train as a team. 

When the high school is not using the tennis courts, lighted tennis courts can be used by the community for fitness programs, tennis tournaments, or for hours of fun. Free tennis court lights expand the hours the community can take advantage of the tennis courts. 

PV courts have always been open to anyone in the school or local area. Boys Tennis Coach Randy Brockhage utilizes the courts on summer nights, allowing his athletes to play the sport with their teammates while maintaining their skills prior to season. “Summer tennis is enjoyable, as more people in the community use the courts, not just our players,” said Brockhage. 

Summer nights serve as an advantage as the courts are open free of charge. However, once the school year begins, a fee is required to utilize the courts with floodlights, costing players anywhere from $6 to $30 depending on the hours chosen. 

According to Activities Secretary Kim Meyer, in order to use the lights, players must pay $5 to purchase a card that allows a certain duration of light usage: $6 for a two hour purchase, $15 for a five hour purchase and $30 for a ten hour purchase. The transaction works by simply buying an entrance card at the activities office and scanning the purchased card at the entrance of the courts.

The lights provide many opportunities for those who use the courts. For example, the lights allow players to facilitate morning and evening competition, increase players’ practice time and encourage community use. “I personally would love to see us provide the lights for free for whomever wants to play tennis at night,” said Brockhage. “Other schools in the area, such as North Scott, have already taken this action.”

Additionally, many problems have arisen as a result of the new system. Girls Tennis Coach Eric Crawford emphasized the difficulties with the payment system. “Over the past few years, sometimes the card reader has worked and other times it hasn’t,” he said. “This creates a great timing issue, as athletes can never predict what can happen.”

Tennis court lighting showcases a community’s support for local schools and provides functionality that enables high school tennis players to excel in the sport. But the uncertainty of tennis court lighting limits practice time for athletes, as players are not able to rely on the lighting for practices. The lack of reliability creates a negative community attitude, which draws citizens away from the enjoyment of tennis at PV. 

Other spring sports–track and soccer–have the resources to train wherever they desire. For example, runners are able to run on the Spartan track and soccer players are able to enter onto the field to practice drills without any required payment for lighting. This raises questions as to why tennis players are receiving limited resources while other athletes can consistently train for success.

Senior Kiran Marla, a member of the boys varsity tennis team, is in agreement for equal opportunity. “If all the other sports are given resources for athletes to improve their skills, then I think it’s only fair that tennis players also should be given this same opportunity,” he said. “This will allow tennis athletes to play without being put at a disadvantage of not being able to focus on the game.”

As a school notorious for countless opportunities, it would only be fair for PV to not require such a payment for tennis players to use the courts after sunset. Every athlete deserves the opportunity to train for success as much as any other team. With free access to the tennis courts, players will be able to train whenever they desire without facing unpredictable problems, leading them to a successful season.