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Snow Is No Problem for Incline Village Tennis Center

“We haven’t put a foot on a tennis court in six months until this morning.” This is a statement from the Adult 40 & Over Women’s 3.0 team from Incline Village Tennis Center in Lake Tahoe. But don’t be fooled, these resilient ladies would not miss the District Championships for anything, even if it means coming through four feet of snow and rocky roads.

Although this is their second trip to the Adult 40 & Over District Championships, the team from Lake Tahoe does not take anything for granted. The hurdles they’ve had to go through this season are what make this trip so worthwhile. First there was the snow… and more snow. “We’ve had up to eight feet of snow this year,” Carole Bernardi laughs. Team captain Jean Van Well is quick to chime in. “We still had four feet of snow when we left,” she says amused. “If this wasn’t enough, it also snowed during our playoff match, which was supposed to be played on our home courts. So we had to give up our home advantage and let the other team host it.” And that’s another obstacle Incline Village had to overcome. Because of the weather, their season runs in the fall between September and early December, and stops when the snow rolls in. The Bay Area teams however, play between January and March, getting them warmed up for Districts. This means that before their practice this morning, they hadn’t played in six months! “Our courts are still snowed in and probably won’t be playable for a while,” Carole explains.

On top of getting through the snow season, what makes their team so special is their dedication. The team has players coming from all over Northern California – and beyond. “Some of the players leave Tahoe in December and come back in May,” Carole Bernardi explains. “Nancy Cumming came from SoCal to play for us this weekend and we have people who migrate to Arizona or Palm Springs in the winter and come back for Districts.”

But this year, there was an added incentive to go to Districts and do well. “One of our players, Julie George, discovered last year that she had pancreatic cancer and played while she was sick,” Carole says, choking up a bit.  “She didn’t know how bad it was so she kept playing.” But Julie is here this weekend and feeling much better. She is waiting until the end of Districts however to take the latest round of blood tests. “I didn’t want to know before we came up here if everything was good,” Julie states, while joking with her teammates. “I just want to play, have fun and leave that behind until we’re done.”

Their spirit is so contagious that you can’t help but root for them. With their dedication and fighting spirit, we have no doubt they’ll be a hit on and off the courts!

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