POP Tennis Review

Left to right: Jack Sandilands, Debbie McGeehan, Landon Sheat, Carol Kula, George Collins, Fran Meckler, Greg Hlushka, Donna O’Shea

Stuart Watkins

Jack Sandilands, Debbie McGeehan, Landon Sheat, Carol Kula, George Collins, Fran Meckler, Greg Hlushka, Donna O’Shea, and Stuart Watkins gathered to discuss future POP Tennis goals and ideas.

Greg Hlushka was named SaddleBrooke Tennis Club POP Tennis committee chair and held his first meeting with some POP players who coordinate playgroups and some of those who are actively engaged in the sport. His stated goal is to introduce POP to more SaddleBrooke residents and to make it an even better experience for those already playing. Greg Hlushka led the group, asking for ideas and suggestions. More courts are planned at DesertView, a new ball machine for POP Tennis practice, more social gatherings, ratings so players can be matched with similar skilled players, and drop-in clinics were some of the topics discussed.

POP Tennis became an authorized activity in late 2019 and has grown each year. There are now approximately 200 players, and it is the fastest growing sport in SaddleBrooke. POP is similar to standard tennis, but it is easier to play due to a slower ball, underhand serve, and it is played on a smaller court.

Debbie McGeehan attended as the liaison for the Tennis Center and the SaddleBrooke TWO Board. She was social director for the Tennis Center for about eight years. She knows how to get events put together smoothly and will assist as POP Tennis socials are scheduled. (Cindy Madsen is the current Tennis Center social director.) Quote from Debbie: “I play POP on Sunday mornings from 9 to 11. It is usually a mixed group of gals and guys at an “A” level, or about a 4.0 level. Charles Kahng organizes it and has just established a GroupWorks for sign in. We always have one court, and he is trying to get another court going so we would have two courts of mixed play.”

Jack Sandilands has a group that meets in the evenings, and the players are all at the intermediate level. Landon Sheat fills up four courts with players who are fairly evenly matched, and they play for two hours. Stuart Watkins has a group that is more social, with players who rotate in and out depending on how many play that day. His group is a mixture of those learning to play as well as some who are intermediate and quite skilled. George Collins has been a member of the Tennis Club since 1998 and has seen many rating systems come and go. Presently, George plays with two POP Tennis groups that have mixed doubles, and he emphasized he plays social POP. The groups he is with have a mixture of skill level players. Carol Kula has several groups that she plays with, and Donna O’Shea helps with scheduling courts on Mondays. Five other leaders schedule for other days (Monday through Friday), and another of Carol’s groups plays on Saturdays. The Kula group of players number 40 (yes, 40). Some of her groups allow rotation, and others play for 40 to 45 minutes and then rotate with players on other courts.

Paulette Kasperski was not at this meeting but also has several groups that play Tuesdays and Sundays. She has a nice mixture of men and women who mostly play at the intermediate level.

By the way, Greg Hlushka is adept at ping pong, pickleball, tennis, and POP Tennis. And if you want a little easy relaxation, join him at a game of chess!