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PSRC President Judy Porter and Tuesday Night Play Director Jeff Jones

When Lake Highlands resident Judy Porter got divorced, she was left with four children under the age of 9 and very little money for entertainment. One day, as her kids were playing in a friend’s pool, she read about a tennis club for single adults in the Guide section of the newspaper. “I called immediately and asked if I could play," Porter said. She was 9 when her father taught her the game, then played Varsity in high school, but had given it up during her 13-year marriage because her husband didn’t play.

Rusty, but ready to get out and hit some balls again, Porter found out that there were others like her, divorced – or never married – who wanted to play tennis but had no co-workers or friends who played. The exercise on the court, and the fellowship after at a local restaurant, was good not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. The cost was minimal.

15 years later, Porter has been re-elected as President of Positive Strokes Racquet Club, a nonprofit volunteer-run group of single adult tennis players who get together once a week for mixed doubles play.

The club has been in existence for 31 years, since 1983, and Porter has served as tournament director, socials chair, membership chair and president. Her 2014 board of 12 volunteers is made up of five members new to the club, including a pilot, two small business owners, a teacher and a real estate agent. Most are in the 40 to 50-year-old range, although the club boasts almost 100 members from 27 to 67, and 300 on their email list.

Cherrie Vedane joined the club last year as her marriage was ending, after bumping into its former president at a happy hour. “He asked me if I played tennis, and told me where PSRC meets (at Greenhill Tennis Center in Addison) so I thought, 'Why not? I need to get out and meet some new people,'" she said. Her son, Jake, a part-time tennis coach in Plano, says it changed his mother’s life. “She’s very happy now, and has new friends," he said. 

He occasionally fills in when once-a-month tournaments are played, on the second Friday of each month, so has met most of his mother’s new tennis pals and opponents. Her involvement led to her being asked to join a team, and so she plays Tuesday nights with the club and weekends with her friends on the PSRC-inspired team. She is secretary of the club this year, attending pot luck suppers once a month prior to the board meetings at the vice president’s home.

Porter says it’s a great club for single adult tennis players new to the Dallas area, or recently divorced or widowed, to come to. “No matter how bad your divorce was, there’s someone here who can relate,” she said. “So we just nod our head in empathy and then hit the courts. Sunshine, good exercise and laughter can heal a lot of hurts.” Porter has an MBA in Human Resources in addition to a Master’s in Theology, and is a certified Spiritual Director. So she is a pretty good sounding board for most members.

Her re-involvement with tennis also led to her stint as a high school tennis coach for seven years and she still hears from many of her players. “I’m attending the graduation from TCU next month of one of my favorites,” she said. And some single parents of her former team have joined her on the PSRC courts.

It’s not unusual for couples to meet playing with PSRC and leave the club as they get married. Over the years, “probably a dozen weddings have occurred.” Intermediate and advanced players are invited, “but if you played in high school 20 years ago, you can probably move up to the 3.5 level in a couple of weeks,” Porter says. Courts are assigned by level of play, so victories and losses are not too lopsided.

April 1 begins the 2014 Tuesday Night Play season, from 6:30 to 8:30. Cost is $4, for members, $6 for guests and $3 for first-timers.

Contact Tuesday Night Play Director Jeff Jones at jeffreyjones007@yahoo.com to reserve your space or Judy Porter at judy-porter@sbcglobal.net for more information. The club has a website and a Facebook page that is updated weekly. Greenhill Tennis Center is located at 4141 Spring Valley Road, Addison. 

The first “Second Friday” tournament of this year will be April 11 at Brookhaven; contact Doug Chaney for more information: DChaney@DCLogistics.com