Being a part of the University of Cape Town tennis club has proven to be an interesting experience on all counts. It has been a really great opportunity to meet some locals, and also chance to play a lot of great tennis with a really strong team.
My first match experience with the UCT ladies team was typical South African outing. Only after leaving a half an hour late for our match at Edgemead, a local tennis club, did we find out that the car was out of gas and the driver had forgotten her credit card. When we finally found enough money to get to the courts, the girl driving explained that she didn’t know where the courts were, but could get us to the general area. Another girl assured us she could find the courts. Google maps had told me the club was about 20 minutes away. A half an hour later, still on the highway, the girl driving announced we were lost. After stopping at a convenience store and a police station for directions, and almost running out of gas (again) in a township, we finally made it to the tennis courts a full two hours late. The opposing team had gone home, and we drove right back to UCT.
The second surprise was the tennis club party. Feeling obligated to quickly stop by, I made a few friends go with me to the tennis courts. Thinking we’d leave after saying hi to the tennis team and a few of their friends, we were shocked to see hundreds of people and a party in full swing – complete with a barbeque, a fully stocked bar, and sponsors. Unexpected.
This past Saturday, March 17th, I grudgingly gave up spending my day eating at Old Biscuit Mill (an incredible local farmers market) and finally played in my first match. We played in Gardens, located in downtown Cape Town. It was a gorgeous sunny day, and from the courts, we had the most amazing view of Table Mountain. I had a blast. As a team, we played four singles matches and two doubles matches. Although I lost my singles match, we split sets in doubles, but lost in a close tiebreaker. Regardless of my score, it was so neat getting to play great tennis with lots of South Africans, a Kenyan (my doubles partner!) and also getting to see how they run their league here. As much as I miss playing with my club team in Miami, UCT tennis gives me a chance to integrate with local students and the community and has also given me ideas to bring back to my team at home.
University of Miami