Veteran platform tennis players Eileen and Tim Goode are introducing the sport to the Madison area, opening the Madison Platform Tennis Club on the grounds of the Red Mouse Sports Bar & Grill at the intersection of Mineral Point Road and County P in Pine Bluff.
A wintry variation on the traditional game, platform tennis is played on a raised court about one-third the size of a regulation tennis court and surrounded by a heavy-gauge 12-foot chicken-wire fence that players can use to recover the ball and keep it in play.
In a video clip following below, the Goodes are joined by club members Diane Line and Delight Oelerich for some easy volleying as they warm up against the chill. Even in this relaxed setting, the game's emphasis on fast reflexes, more hitting and less chasing down the ball is evident.
A second video clip provides a different perspective on the game as Madison Platform Tennis Club owners and founders Eileen and Tim Goode help club members Diane Lin and Delight Oelerich climb the learning curve. But the distinctions between platform tennis and the traditional game remain obvious: They're using large perforated paddles, not rackets, and the ball is composed of materials suited to the cold and the gritty aluminum deck.
The Goodes have scheduled an open house this Sunday, Feb. 18, at the Madison Platform Tennis Club. A thorough explanation of the game, its rules and history is available from the American Platform Tennis Association.