Map of Courts Played
Bulgarian Wins = ReMax Logo / NOCO Wins = Red Square / Green Dudes = Team Win View NOCO vs Bulgaria in a larger map

Monday, December 05, 2011

New Spanish Lake Documentary Trailer!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Who is the Bulgarian Now?

This tennis caper was conducted on the day before thanksgiving.   It started with Scott Stinson dressing head to toe in a Bulgarian Sweatsuit.  It was thought that having two bulgarians on the court would confuse Stan Angelov.   Next a stop was made at the Racketman for a can of balls and a new demo racket for Scott.   Scott picked out a Prince Ex03 Red 105

The kind folks at the racket man introduced Scott to a customer named Lewis Conley who is a well known coach and player in the area.  Lewis took Scott to his car and gave him a set of singles sticks so that Stan and Scott could play the first regulation match of their lives.    Lastly a quick stop at Dollar Tree to pick up some festive net decorations.   With all that in place it was time to head to our destination.  Paul A. Schroeder Park in Manchester, MO near Stan's ReMax office. 

Who was Paul A. Schroeder you ask?  We were unable to find out...   So at match time the temperature was a chilly 47 degrees.  The match was tight throughout the first set with Scott getting up a break at 4-3 but eventually losing the set 7-5.   Stan's defense was again the difference.  The prince racket did seem to help but wasn't enough to overcome Stan's speed.   In the second set Scott tried to force the action a little bit and the strategy backfired as Stan finished strong by imposing a Bagel on the NOCO Boy.
An unfortunate end for Scott but we were both thankful for the opportunity to play outside this late in November.  Schroeder park is nice with lots of amenities we rated the court location a 8 anticipating nearby swim and volleyball would be a hindrance in summer and the surface a 7 for a total of 7.5.  The question has been answered Stan is the Bulgarian Now!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Oakhaven Park - Bulgarian Defense!

Winter is fast approaching but we had a nice 70 degree day last Friday so we headed to Rock Hill (Central Realty's office is actually nearby) and played a match at Oakhaven Park.  The park is a nice little neighborhood park with four courts, a pavilion and restrooms.  The restrooms unfortunately were locked at mid-day.    Courts are in decent shape probably not far away from needing a new coating and crackfill.  

We began the match and Stan quickly got a 4-1 lead as the low balls and fast speed of the courts were working to his advantage.   Scott got it together and battled back to 4-4 in the first set.   Stan broke Scott for a 5-4 lead and then served for the set.  

Scott fought off 3 set points but could not hold.  First set to Stan.   Second set was much the same story... Stan rushed out to a lead and Scott came back to tie at 4-4.  Stan's defense was amazing.  At one point Stan slipped while running for the ball but still managed to win the point.

Stan closed it out at 6-4 to take the series lead 4-3.   Nearby restaurants include The Trainwreck Saloon the oldest continually operated tavern in St. Louis County and Carl's Drive In famous for their burgers and home made root beer!

Court Location was a 10 quiet, secluded and sits low to avoid wind issues.   Court surface was a 6 for an average rating of 8.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Longview Farm Park - Return of the Bulgarian

After missing last weeks match Stan was itchy to get back on the court for a match.  We found a court at a really interesting park in west St. Louis County.  Longview Farm Park has one tennis court along with stables, walking trails, meeting space, pavilions and a playground.   The setting is beautiful, the court is nicely fenced, the court itself is slightly cracked but not in too bad of shape.   There were also some leaves on the court but that is to be expected at this time of year.

In order to make it interesting we started the match playing with Scott's racquets that he used in 1981 on the Hazelwood East high school team. Scott played number two singles for the Spartans behind local teaching pro from Creve Coeur Racquet Club, Steve Wall.  The racquets were Head Professionals known as "Red Heads" back in the day.  These racquets were developed by the Head Corporation after the Departure of Howard Head. 

Head left his own company and went to Prince a manufacturer of Tennis ball machines and developed and pioneered the first oversized racquets.  Anyway on to the match.   Scott stormed out to a 4-1 lead at which point he switched racquets to a vintage Wilson T-3000(originally developed by Rene Lacoste).  Stan came back strong and got back to 4-3.  At this point the best game of the match was played.

Two points stand out - first at Deuce Scott drove a wicked cross court return which Stan somehow retrieved, played himself back into the point and went on offense.  Scott in desperation and on the dead run whipped a vicious cross court passing shot to win the point.   At this point Scott began to "make love to crowd like Jimmy Connors 1991...  

On game point Scott hit a great down the line return and came to the net.   Stan got the ball back and Scott slipped on leaves falling flat on his back and watching Stan lob his volley back for a winner.  Stan ended up winning the game.    Scott then closed out the next two games for a 6-4 win.

The vintage racquets were retired and the second set began with modern equipment.  After a 2-2 start Stan went on a 12-0 run on his serving games and wins the second set at 6-4.   A 10 point tiebreaker was played in lieu of a third set and Scott ran off the first six points for a 6-0 lead.  Stan fought back to 6-8 but then couldn't hold on as Scott won the final two points.

Location rating was a 10 and court condition a 7( cracks caused several weird bounces) for a total of 8.5.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pelada Trailer

This is an awesome trailer!  This symbolizes with soccer what we are trying to accomplish with tennis in the St. Louis Area.  Hope you all enjoy!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Lion's Park, Eureka

We traveled this week to Lion's Park in Eureka, Missouri.   Our Bulgarian was absent trying to maintain his #1 ReMax agent in St. Louis Metropolitan Area for the fourth year in a row.  We drafted two wiley veterans from Franklin county and an Okie to play some doubles.   Bob Faust who is a well known local tennis dude(captain of many USTA teams) and a man who possesses a stellar net game.

Bob partnered with motorcycle riding Jimmy Connors style backhand owner Lee Parsons.   Scott took the Okie Charles Welton a 4.5 player who can really crank it up when necessary!  Lion's Park is interesting to say the least, one one side we had a bunch of firefighters setting up the Eureka Backdraft Rodeo and on the back side attached to the court were batting cages.    Fortunately they were not occupied at the time of the match.  Also nearby was an elementary school with an extremely loud intercom - our warm up was interrupted to remind us to place our recycling bins outside the door....

First set was tight and after a couple weeks indoors everybody was having trouble keeping the ball in the court.   At 4-4 the wiley veterans were able to send a couple volleys and parsons flat backhands right by us and they broke to go up 5-4.  Parsons then closed it out on his serve.

A strategy change was in order and Charles switched to backhand while Scott took the forehand.   This worked better as took the second set 6-2.  After the second set it was decided to play a full third set.

Bob and Lee fought hard and we started out 2-2 then Scott and Charles rallied and reeled off four games in a row for the win.   Really fun match, courts were average speed and fairly well maintained.  All agreed no weird bounces or any negative reports as to actual court condition.

We rated the court an 8 and the location only a 5 for an average of 6.5.   Low rating on location was due to the numerous distractions including rodeo, ball fields, batting cage and highway nearby.    If we were slightly younger we might have capped it off with a trip to nearby Six Flags!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pioneer Park - Playin on Plastic!

An extraordinary court and a great match!  We started our adventure by meeting at our favorite local tennis store The Racketman for some purchases.   Once our supplies were in hand we headed over to nearby Pioneer Park in Des Peres.   These courts were suggested to us by our friends the McGuires for their unusual surface made of interlocking plastic squares.    
During warm-up it became apparent that the balls did some funky things on this surface.   Bounces were inconsistent and the court was fast.    This worked really well for the Bulgarian.  Meanwhile Scott (NOCO) could not find a comfort zone.   First set went to Stan 6-1.

Second set was a different story as Scott began to get a feel for things and began to control the play with his forehand.    Second set went to the north county boy 6-3.  Points in the second set were much longer as both players adjusted to the court surface.

Third set became an all out war!   Stan took the first two games and then Scott won three in a row to go up 3-2.  At 5-4 Scott held two match points....Stan
rose two the occasion and denied the first one with a return of serve that just kissed the baseline.    On the second point Scott came to the net and the Bulgarian hit a short angle passing shot that clipped the sideline.  Match Points Denied!

At 6-6 a tiebreaker was played which Stan was able to win easily.  Total time for the match was three hours!  Afterwards we visited The Pretzel Boys for some nourishment and refreshments.  Court location here was a 10 and the condition was an 8.  Pretty good experience on this strange plastic surface!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Tower Grove Park

Tower Grove Park is a beautifully maintained Victorian Park located in south St. Louis City.  Central Realty has a listing on some really cool office space nearby at some property owned by our friends at Cfx.  Prior to playing we took a stroll through the Tower Grove Farmers Market which is held here every Saturday right next to the tennis facility.   The Tower Grove tennis facility features 13 courts.  Ten hard courts and the regions only public grass courts.
Unfortunately the grass courts were not available so we played on the hard courts.  We mixed things up this week and played a doubles match for the West County Ladder.  West County Ladder is hosted by the Racketman and is a great inexpensive way to get a lot of matches during the summer and meet a lot of great people.  Our opponents were Suvit Nopachai and Billy Niemann.  Courts were in pretty good shape but could use a repaint.  Unusual for a public park that it costs to play at Tower Grove.

Bounces were good and courts were medium to slow speed.   Match started out the wrong way as Suvit and Billy went up 2-1 right off the bat.   After analyzing the situation Stan and I made a couple of observations.  Billy has great hands at the net and Suvit loves hard hit balls.  Accordingly we decided to keep the ball away from Billy at the net and hit Suvit some junk.  That seemed to do the trick we came back and won the first set 6-4 and the second set 6-3.

Lots of good points were played.  This was the Mad Bulgarians second match of the day as he previously played mixed doubles with Toni Kovar whose father is the teaching pro at Tower Grove Tennis.  The Missouri Botanical Gardens are nearby and would be a fitting addition to any trip to Tower Grove Park.  

Location = 10
Court condition = 7.5
Overall =  8.75


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sylvan Springs Park

After three matches in NOCO and North St. Louis City we headed to deep South County for our match.   This weeks location was Sylvan Springs Park located just off of Telegraph road near Jefferson Barracks.    The park is in a secluded location and has four hard courts.   We played at 7am and all was quiet except for a few dog walkers.    Since it was such a nice day we drove the Central Realty truck Betty a 1965 Volkswagen pickup.   We met at West County Mall at the Dove and were disappointed to learn the after 30 plus years you are no longer able to meet there because Nordstrom does not have enough parking.   The guard was kind enough to allow us to leave a car in the rear lot.   

The initial impression of the courts was not too great.  They had a good amount of debris and it looks like the asphalt is near the end of its life.   However the bounces were true and the match was decided by skill not funny bounces.   Fortunately the skill this week rested with Scott and the Mad Bulgarian was dispatched in a straight set affair.  6-2, 6-3.   Scott was able to play some good serve and volley and returned well enough that the Mad Bulgarian did not even hold serve once.

We finished the morning off with a stop at the Affton Eat-Rite diner.   Nobody was brave enough to order the slinger  - a St. Louis tradition.    Had we had a little more time we might have stopped at nearby Jefferson Barracks or the Missouri Civil War Museum.      

Ratings are as follows:
Location = 8
Courts = 5
Overall = 6.5

Monday, August 22, 2011

Dwight Davis Park

The name Dwight Davis and tennis courts usually brings to mind our outstanding facility at Forest Park. However, this week's event was held at Dwight Davis Park at the intersection of Riverview Boulevard and Lillian in north St. Louis.

The Park features two Laykold tennis courts, restrooms, pavilion, playground and a water fountain. The courts look really nice from the street but as we approached we noticed some broken glass, a large tree limb and that the nets were about two inches two low.

Nevertheless; as per our agreement, we play regardless of court conditions.  Our warm up was interrupted by a young lady curious because she didn't understand what white people were doing in this neighborhood.

We explained our project, removed the tree limb and The Mad Bulgarian went to work.  First set was a small battle with Stan (Bulgarian) jumping out to a 4-1 lead and Scott (NOCO) storming back to tie the set at 4-4.

We both found the ball seemed to fly out of the court easily. Courts seemed a little fast compared to others we have recently played on. Stan ended up closing out the first set 6-4 and then destroyed Scott in the second set 6-1.

This was the first straight set victory and an affirmation of Stan's 4.5 rating.  We had a couple guests with us (Albert Casey and Chris Gassel of Central Realty) so we decided to play some doubles.
The Mad Bulgarian partnered up with Chris and Scott took Albert. Stan and Chris dominated 6-1.  The final humiliation for Scott came when he had to run through the fountain as the loser....   Our new fan had remained nearby and applauded our match and thanked us for playing here!

Loser had to run through the fountain
Courts receive a rating of 7 - in pretty good shape just need net raised and a good sweeping.   Location - not including any socioeconomic factors is an 8.  Fairly quiet and undisturbed while playing.  All was made well with a stop at Ropers Ribs where we enjoyed award winning Brisket, Ribs and Pulled Pork!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Saint Cyr Park

NOCO gets his revenge for the stunning loss last week!

This week's adventure started as a trip to view a vacant commercial lot which Stan and Central Realty are co-listing for Bank of America.   The lot is at the intersection of St. Cyr Rd and Highway 367 across from a Shop N Save.   Afterwards as we were driving down St. Cyr road we came across a small park with two tennis courts.  Fortunately we had our tennis equipment with us and it was on!   The courts were carpet/astroturf with a sand base.   We have never played each other on this kind of surface so we knew it was going to be interesting. 

The Prince balls we obtained from Racketman really gripped the carpet and the result was a really slow court.  Underspin shots were really effective as they really bit into the carpet.   The result was it was really difficult to hit winners at all.   NOCO jumped out to an early lead in the first set and then Stan came back with effective use of underspin and consistency.

First set to Stan 6-4.   The second set NOCO began with a strategy change which was to really push up into the court to counter the short, low balls.   This worked pretty good and NOCO stormed out to a 5-0, 40-15 lead.  Unfortunately the Bagel was denied and the set ended up 6-2 in NOCO's favor.   A key shot in this set was a running lob hit deep to Stan's backhand which Stan tried to take as an overhead.   As he hit his shot his racket ran smack into a low hanging tree branch!  

The turning point in the match!
The third set tiebreaker was close but NOCO was able to close it out 10-7.   Overall a good experience here.   As far as courts go we rate the surface a 4.5 mostly because it was dirty, had moss growing on it and a drop off on the back of the court.

The bounces though were good and we enjoyed playing here.  There are also bathrooms and a small picnic shelter.  The park is operated by the City of Bellefontaine Neighbors.   Other points of interest in the area are Bills Market which has a great meat counter that is worth the drive and The General Daniel Bissell Home.    

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Spanish Lake Park

Courts need some work
Bulgarian is the winner!
Spanish Lake Park was chosen for our first experience as these are the courts that Scott Stinson (NOCO) first played on as a middle school age kid. The Spanish Lake  community is an old one dating back to the early 1800's. Spanish Lake Park is in the far reaches of  NOCO.

The courts are as remembered in a remote setting in between two lakes and surrounded by trees.   When we arrived at 6:57am the gates were locked but park employees showed up moments later and opened the gates.   There was originally two courts here but one has been converted to a basketball court. The remaining court is in good condition but in need of crackfilling/resurfacing.

NOCO loses this round
Upon beginning to warm up we both noticed that the courts were amazingly slow for hard courts.   We both adjusted quickly and the battle was on.   Stan Angelov (Bulgarian) was the victor in a 6-1, 3-6, 10-6(tiebreaker) battle.   No bad bounces were observed and the location eliminated any wind issues even though it was windy.    Court setting and location are a 10 with the court surface about a 6. 

We liked the slow play of the court.  Playing in the morning is probably the optimum time to avoid a basketball game on the adjacent court.   If we had played closer to lunch time we would have stopped at local favorite Ponticello's which is just up the street!  

Friday, August 05, 2011


This blog will serve as your introduction to all the neglected tennis courts in the St. Louis area.  As an added bonus, the creators of this blog will be playing on each court that is featured in the blog.  We will be adding an interactive map that shows the location of the maps and will mark each map with a logo based on who won on that court.  In one corner you have Stan "The Mad Bulgarian" Angelov and in the other you have Scott "NOCO" Stinson.  Check back soon for the first results.

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