When Carol Roberts describes tennis as “a lifetime sport,” she can prove it.
Roberts started playing tennis in the sixth grade. And at 78 years young, she’s still playing.
But Roberts didn’t contact the Bulletin to talk about herself. She wanted to talk about the City of Brownwood’s Tennis in the Park camp at Coggin Park, where Roberts is the instructor.
The monthlong free camp, which runs Monday through Thursday through Aug. 2, is for ages 7 and up. The City of Brownwood’s Parks and Recreation Department is hosting the camp.
Roberts said it’s not too late to sign up for the camp, even though it is already under way. Sign up by either going to the Adams Street Community Center or showing up at the Coggin Park tennis courts.
Classes for beginners begin at 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., intermediate class begins at 10 a.m. and advanced class begins at 11 a.m. The camp concludes at noon.
Thursday morning, Roberts coached the six participants in the intermediate level class through tennis drills, calling out a steady stream of instructions and encouragement.
“Yes sir! Good! Follow through … oh, perfect form! Keep that arm out in front. Oh, perfect! Very smooth! Bend your knees now when get to those short balls … back up a little, Caleb! You can always move forward. You can’t move back as easily. Don’t bend your elbow, Rachel! Keep your arm straight like a windshield wiper!”
Roberts took a water break with her students and explained more about the camp.
“I love this program,” Roberts said. “It’s a free program, and I understand it’s been going on for years. You can play up to any ages in this sport. That’s why I call it a lifetime sport.”
Roberts, who has played tennis competitively, moved with her husband, Don, from San Antonio to Brownwood two years ago. They moved here when Don Roberts took the job as director of pharmacy at Brownwood Regional Medical Center. She said her husband also recently became president of the Rotary Club.
“We’re loving it,” Carol Roberts said of Brownwood.
Roberts said she knows a man in his 80s who plays winning tennis even though he “doesn’t move more than three feet in any direction.”
Intermediate-level student Shannon Dennis, 19, of May, said her only previous experience with tennis was attending Howard Payne University’s tennis camp last year and playing tennis with her family.
“It’s really fun, and I think I’m learning a lot,” Dennis said. “She’s a good teacher.”
Tennis is different from other sports in the sense that “with most sports, you are in direct contact with the ball or whatever you’re playing with,” Dennis said. “But in (tennis), you have an extension with the racket, and so you have to learn how to control the racket as well as your own body.”