Free tennis clinics in Lennoxville, big Atto-Beaver dreams
By William Crooks
Local Journalism Initiative
Parents and children gathered at Lennoxville’s Centennial tennis courts for a free clinic and tournaments organized by local Champlain College physical education teacher Philippe Ribaux. The Record checked in and spoke with Ribaux about this event and the plans he is heading to get a new multi-sport complex installed at Atto-Beaver Park.
“This morning we’re having a tennis clinic for all the kids in Lennoxville and Sherbrooke,” he began. These clinics are open to anybody, he added. Only one net was set up on the two courts available. “We deal with what we’ve got,” he admitted. After the free clinic, there was a doubles tournament (for adults) planned from “10 a.m. until the sun goes down”.
He has run these clinics for children all summer long as well as a few adult doubles tournaments, all with the help of Association des joueurs de tennis des Cantons de l’Est. Ribaux emphasized the whole point is to promote tennis in the community and to get more tennis courts built.
Bishop’s University used to have ten tennis courts, he explained. Now they have none. The courts were replaced by parking and a temporary building. Centennial Park has two 40-year-old courts, he said, but only one net because the “courts are in rough shape”. There is way more demand for tennis in Lennoxville than this set-up can accommodate. “Sometimes when you come there is a line-up of people.”
The town has a rule that tennis players take hour-long turns, which Ribaux says is a good idea, but there are still people waiting all the time. “We don’t want anyone to be waiting to play.” So, he has headed a potential project, still in its early stages, at nearby Atto-Beaver Park, to build five more outdoor courts. These would replace the most elevated soccer field there, of which there are three, to avoid the park’s flood zone.
Of the five tennis courts, two would be multi-sport, he continued. One would double as a basketball court, the other could also be set up for ball-hockey, lacrosse and/or pickleball. The facility would have a large wall to practice tennis and lacrosse solo. The details are not completely worked out, but they are aiming to please as many as possible.