In the five years since Alex Brown began walking to court in La Jolla Tennis Club, the scene of his controversy – from a fire that blocked the view of the night sky to the departure of two managers inside less than a year. and termination of certain administrative contracts.
But Brown argues the club has also seen positive changes, including an increase in team size and a clear performance.
Brown was named club board president on March 8. The board of directors of Draper Avenue is operating as unpaid work in the city of San Diego in nine state-owned courts. The group meets every other month at the nearby La Jolla resort.
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Brown moved to San Diego five years ago after visiting a friend in La Jolla. “During the week I was here, I went to the LJTC clinic every morning and decided to move to San Diego a month later,” Brown said. He kicked the ball and left and wanted to get back into the game.
He said the La Jolla Tennis Club means it is “open to everyone” and has opportunities for people to get in and play.
“I have a lot of experience in the past in sports like basketball, where you can play pickup in the park, where you know people will be around and it is open to everyone. I have never seen that in tennis, ”he said. “You need to have a partner or a program. At LJTC, my experience is different. People are very welcoming, people spend time with people who are white, they are really beautiful and say for your game and who you would be comfortable playing with. “
The company also has a “challenge court” where anyone can sign up to call anyone there. The winner keeps the court and calls the next person on the list, for two games.
Brown started on the board by introducing himself to his annual summer competition in 2019 and knew the work in it. When the election was held in November, he applied for a seat.
About a year later, protests broke out in the church building as “fragile” and resulted in “disturbing the neighbors” by shedding light outside instead of in court.
Soon work was under way to replace the fires.
Brown said, “Fire is our passion.” It’s a $ 70,000 project. This new light is a testament to the darkness of Sky [from the International Dark Sky Places organization]. They do not cause problems for our neighbors, which we need. They also meet [U.S. Tennis Association] values. We are very happy for people like them, but it means that the courts are always active, even in winter. “
In the spring of 2021, a dispute erupted between the two clubs after the club’s chief executive Scott Farr was given a pay cut but he refused, prompting him to resign after 15 years. The club also terminated the teaching privileges of Ronald Agenor (black), Jennifer Dawson (Asian woman) and Mark Davis (white), leaving only whites who had a contract.
Some critics have argued that race is a factor in the decision to remove some teachers. The companies have denied the allegations and said many other factors were discussed, including the length of the coaching staff, interest in new customers, the status of their customer base, and whether the beneficiaries have organizational or non-regulatory benefits. of companies, and of them. participate entirely in clubs outside of personal instruction.
The company also told club members in April last year that the number of coaching staff would be reduced from seven to four because “the company has always heard from members, as well as by and benefits, and there are many benefits to the club. ” leading to the “requirement for a trial period between the experts and the team.”
Brown insisted that as the club explained the situation to the angry members, many of them understood. “I would say that about 5 percent are still crazy,” he said. “Even if they are frustrated at public level, they understand where we come from.”
Rev. Mark Hargreaves, pastor of St. James by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in La Jolla and a member of the Tennis Club for six years, said that “over the last few years there have been some changes. Some people are always upset. However, I think the majority of the members are satisfied with the changes that have been made. ”
The company has also faced criticism for what some members see as misunderstandings and disagreements earlier this year of a $ 20,000 deal with the company to hire a new manager after Vic Kramitz, who was hired to replaced Farr, left in January. . Some were surprised by the cost and said that the company did not consult the members before giving it permission.
“We may not put up billboards to announce what we will do again, but no one is hiding here. We are already open.”
– Alex Brown
But Brown, who serves as chairman of the club’s executive committee, said in February that “the club’s financial situation is clear and strong.” He said that in the last 10 months, the company’s revenue in the industry has increased by 1,500 per cent and that it could support a company looking for something in about $ 110,000 in wages for a new manager.
Brown now says that “all our change is to make us stand out.” He said the board meeting was open for members and said: “We may not put up billboards to announce what we will do again, but no one is hiding here. We have become an open book. ”
Looking ahead, Brown said the board has a lot of work waiting to improve club offerings.
He “upgraded” the club / pro store to “make it more attractive” and began to reopen some courts, he said.
“As of the first week of May, we will be reopening four courts this year,” Brown said. “We did five courts last year.”
Hargreaves acknowledged that the club’s finances and equipment “have not changed much.”
Brown said the company is looking to determine whether the foundations of some of the courts need to be replaced, as the explosion has receded even after a resumption.
He said he also wants to improve the junior program for athletes ages 5-18. He said: “We want young people to be more involved in adult play.” “We have a great program for small schools during the school year and all day in the summer. The program is always full and there is always a waiting list.
“We give them the opportunity to compete in our challenge court if they are at that level, because it is important for children to play in order to continue in the program.”
Learn more about clubs and ljtc.org. ◆