Monday and Wednesday evenings at the Bell Center slight popping noises and shouts can be heard coming from the tennis center. These shouts of joy and effort, tennis balls hitting rackets and clay courts, belong to the members of the Drake Tennis Club.
From 7-9 p.m., 30-some students come to play matches. First-year student Matthew McGowan is an avid member of the club.
“For the first hour, we play competitively, and for the second hour you can either play a match or play volleying and groundstroke games,” McGowan said. He has been playing tennis since grade school days. He says he joined tennis club because it has been part of his daily life since high school.
“It would just be weird to stop playing,” McGowan said. “It’s a good study break.”
First-year student Taylor Soule feels much of the same toward the inclusive club.
“After competing at the state tournament during my senior year at Newton High School in Newton, Iowa, I knew I wanted to continue playing tennis in college, and Drake Tennis Club was the perfect outlet,” Soule said. The club is active throughout the academic year, giving students plenty of opportunity to improve as players, and pick up new skills from other club members.
“It’s mostly first-years, but there are also sophomores to seniors,” McGowan said. “Everyone is willing to help each other out. I think I’m pretty advanced, but I’ve still learned a lot since August. And I’ve helped other people learn new techniques. We all help each other out.” Both McGowan and Soule said they chose Tennis Club over trying out for Drake’s tennis team because the club is more recreational and less of a time commitment. However, that does not mean the club doesn’t get competitive.
On March 10-11, members of the club who would like to participate will be going to Overland Park, Kan. for a tournament. They’ve also had tournaments on their own court against Iowa State University, Iowa University and several nearby colleges and universities. The Overland Park tournament will be the last tournament of the season.
“I’m planning on going mostly just for fun,” McGowan said. “I like having new competition. I’m not worried about how I play. It’s just for recreation.”
Soule also plans to attend the tournament.
“I’m a consistent singles player, so I’m hoping to channel that style of play against other universities next weekend, and I hope to avoid doubles play all together,” Soule said.