Vail Valley Tennis League celebrates inaugural year
Local league-play opportunity included 10 weeks of doubles matches with six area clubs represented
Vail Valley Tennis League coordinator Stephanie Bee hoped to bring Eagle County tennis clubs together this summer by offering a local league-play option. After 10 weeks of doubles matches between 70 players representing six clubs — culminating in an end-of-year banquet last Thursday at the Bill Wright Tennis Center — it’s safe to say, ‘mission accomplished.’
“Bringing organized, local league play to the Vail Valley was just something tennis players wished for and talked about for many years,” she said. “I am beyond thrilled that the first season of the Vail Valley Tennis League was a huge success.”
One of VVTL’s most significant impacts was eliminating the need to leave the area for league-play opportunities.
“We have been traveling to Glenwood, Carbondale and as far as Aspen for over a decade playing on a USTA team, so it was great this summer to finally have a league in our own valley,” said Susan Chipman, a Homestead ‘Court Jesters’ player.
“The new valley-wide tennis league was a pleasure to play in,” added Sue Cary, another Homestead Club athlete. “It was well organized and so much fun and I think everyone appreciated playing tennis competitively so close to home.”
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The Homestead ‘Court Jesters’ ended up taking the overall season title. Beaver Creek and the Red Sky “Kiss my Ace” teams both finished three points back and the Vail ‘Snowcats,’ ‘Arrowheads’ and Cordillera ‘Supermoms’ were right in the mix right up through the final week of play. Crowning a champion, however, was secondary to cultivating a healthy balance of competition and camaraderie.
“When I first heard about this new league concept last year, I knew I wanted to be a part of it,” Court Jesters co-captain Jamie Stone said, adding that she was intrigued by Bee’s vision for a league concept that was “equal parts competitive and fun.”
“From the first meeting this year, with the captains and co-captains, she talked about not only logistics, but stressed the important values of the league as well. She accomplished her vision beautifully, and has brought tennis players throughout the valley together.”
Bee said that the league schedule naturally highlighted “the exceptional tennis clubs right here in the Vail Valley,” with several participants visiting unfamiliar courts for the first time. She also pointed out the league’s mix of new and experienced talent.
“It was important to also bring in these new-to-league players so that more ladies could enjoy the camaraderie that comes with joining a team,” she said.
“The Bill Wright Tennis Center is extremely lucky to have a tennis advocate like Stephanie Bee,” said Caitlin Collins, director of tennis for the Vail Recreation District.
“What she has created is so special and gives women the opportunity to compete locally for their club. We are thrilled to say it was a successful season and are looking forward to summer 2024.”
Homestead Court Jesters – 29 points
Beaver Creek – 26 points
Red Sky Kiss My Ace – 26 points
Vail Snowcats – 20 points
Arrowheads – 18 points
Cordillera Supermoms – 11 points
Court Jesters roster
Captain: Nancy Wright
Co-captain: Jamie Stone
Mary Sue Katz
Bee said she’s still reflecting upon what there is to learn from the first season and how to make things even better next year.
“This is a start-up,” she said, adding that she hopes to incorporate players’ own suggestions and ideas for the 2024 season. The league coordinator said expansion in the way of “possibly” adding more clubs is under consideration.
For more information, or to contact the VVTL, visit their website at vvtl.tenniscores.com.