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EDWARDSVILLE – Tennis is one of those games that a person can take up at any age and play it the rest of his or her life.

Many of the world's best players first picked up a racket at an early age, though, and may well have learned about the game from clinics much like the one Edwardsville Township put on at Township Park's tennis courts Wednesday morning.

The clinic was put on with the assistance of Edwardsville High School assistant coach Kirk Schlueter and members of the Tiger boys and girls tennis teams. “It was a really awesome opportunity today,” Schlueter said. “We put on a clinic with Edwardsville Township and McConnell and Associates (of St. Louis) and it was a great chance to introduce kids to tennis; it was a free clinic and a chance for kids to come out and just enjoy the sport and get introduced to it.

“We had a great crowd today; all the kids had a lot of fun and got to hit a lot of tennis balls – they got to keep moving. It was just really exciting for me to see.”

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That members of both the Tiger boys and girls tennis teams helped provide instruction to the participants was a way to help give back to the community. “We have a lot of great kids on the boys and girls high school teams; they're great instructors, they have great character and they were really helpful today,” Schlueter said. “The kids enjoy hearing from them much more than hearing from me, so it gave the youth the cool factor today.”

One of the instructors was 2017 co-state doubles champion Zach Trimpe, who was coming off a top-eight finish in last weekend's IHSA Class 2A state tennis singles tournament. “That's a treat; that's something I really savor, that we get the opportunity to do that.”

“It's going really well,” said Edwardsville Township Supervisor Fred Schulte. “We've got a good turnout and the weather's nice – you can't beat that. This is our third (tennis clinic) and we've been doing this every year; the high school tennis team and (Tiger tennis coach) Dave Lipe have put it on.”

More importantly, the clinic introduced participants to a sport that can be played for a lifetime. “Our goal today isn't to produce championship tennis players; it's to introduce people a great game and give them a fun opportunity and a chance to run around and hopefully find something they want to spend more time with,” Schlueter said. “I think we were able to do that.

“It's a great way to open the summer for our kids here.”

For more information on recreational opportunities in Edwardsville Township, visit www.edwardsvilletownship.com.

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