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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Endicott Park - The Hungarian Bulgarian?


On another 60 degree January day in St. Louis we managed to find some time to head to another area Forgotten Court.  Our pick was Endicott Park, a facility that was purchased from the Terminal Railroad Company in 1961.

The park is 24 acres and has a Shelter, A Disc Golf course and of course two Tennis Courts.  The tennis courts appear to be little used, one was missing a net and the only playable one was missing a net strap.  The Disc Golf course appears to get heavy use - there were a lot of cars in the parking lot.

The park is located within the City of St. John a municipality of 6400 people incorporated in 1945 on the site of John Ferguson's farm Eminence.   The people of St. John successfully fought off attempts from neighboring Overland to annex them and have remained independent ever since.

We set our match time and 1 pm and invited our friend Mark Zolman to join us as he had on two previous matches, The Flogging in Florissant and Tower Courts Part Deux.  Scott got their early at 12:30 and found Mark and Stan conducting an "illegal warm up".

In the last match, Scott totally destroyed them both with his lethal forehand so it was understandable that they needed a little practice.  Scott brought with him some singles sticks and they were placed in the correct position on each side of the net.  The format was decided to be 10 point tiebreakers with the winner being the first person to win six of them.

Stan and Scott started first and Stan dominated the tiebreaker.  Mark took on Stan and lost a close one.  Scott and Mark played and Scott won easily.  The second round was very interesting  Scott came back from 5-1 down to play a close tiebreaker. At 4-5 the best point of the day was had.

After a long rally Stan hit a deep high ball to Scott's backhand - Scott took it on the rise and hit a deep angled slice causing Stan to hit a short ball which Scott angled off the court to Stan's forehand side.  Stan chased this ball into the adjacent court and hit a ball that never was in the court until it hit in the backhand corner for a winner.

At this point a few spectators had gathered and started clapping in appreciation.  Scott then lost the tiebreaker by double faulting at 8-9 to give Stan the victory.  Mark and Stan went for round two.   Mark took the lead early and then another great point was played.  During this long point both Stan and Mark were grunting loudly... as Scott watched he began to notice a group of kids watching the point and grunting in unison with them.

Stan eventually won the point and the tiebreaker.  Scott and Mark then played an epic tiebreaker with Mark going up 5-1 and Scott coming back and getting in position to win only to be denied a down the line winner by the singles stick.   Mark fought back and had a chance to win only to also hit the net on a down the line ball which Scott retrieved and put away.

Eventually Scott won the tiebreaker 14-12.   Stan was now 4-0, Scott 2-2 and Mark 0-4.   Stan swept the last round to win with a 6-0 record and never had a tiebreak point against him.  Stan had experienced a day similar to Al Hrabosky's (The Mad Hungarian) 1975 season.  Scott got the last tiebreaker leaving him 3-3 and Mark 0-6.

The court had a few dead spots, poor net and one court missing a net so we give the courts a 6.5 condition rating.  Location was a 10 for an average of 8.25.   One of the best things about this match was the spectators enjoying our tennis - we believe that for tennis to grow on public courts it must be seen and in this case heard!

Lots of classic food choices nearby Chuck A Burger and Woofies both legendary.  We opted to head to El Porton on Woodson Road where we enjoyed some Sol Beer and some great mexican food and discussed our match and how to keep tennis alive on the forgotten courts of St. Louis.

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