The "Get Newked" Experience
By: Finlay Wright
Looking up at the string of bright pearls in the Texas sky, the next ‘Leonardo Da Vinci’ of tennis is reaching deep into the vault of his tennis mind, desperately searching for tennis’s next invention - the next big thing that could lift recreational club tennis to greater heights.
So, who is this man, and what was his invention?
Well, I’m glad you asked. It’s the young, exuberant Junior Tennis Director at the John Newcombe Tennis Club of course - Charles Mitchell Joyce.
And his invention...GET NEWKED! A fun, high energy, fast-paced tennis mixer that includes tennis games, team drills, target hitting, dance music that would get even the laziest of feet tapping, and yes, you guessed it...a plentiful supply of adult beverages.
Imagine a festival atmosphere but instead of a stage, picture the illuminated hard courts of the John Newcombe Country Club, and instead of hardcore festival-goers, envisage tennis enthusiasts kitted out in theme-specific attire.
It’s a place where time moves fast and passes quickly, a place where extraordinary is the norm and just being alive gets the juices going. It’s a place where people dance, skip, jog, jump, hop, and wiggle rather than walk. Unless, they are on ball collecting duty of course.
Some things never change I guess.
From a players perspective, it doesn’t matter whether you are a ‘baseline patroller’, a ‘net rusher’, a ‘master tactician’, a beginner, or just someone who likes to smack the odd bit of green fuzz, you are guaranteed to have fun and let loose.
And as a tennis pro, especially one ‘from across the pond’, promoting and being part of the event is truly an experience like no other. Not only do you get to inspire some friendly yet competitive play, witness the development phase of never-seen-before tennis shots, you also get to be the primary target of ‘friendly-fire’ - walking away with new bruises having feared for your life at times.
Just kidding of course…. protective personal equipment is worn by the pro’s at all times.
And speaking of theatrics, one of my fondest memories of ‘Get Newked’ is hearing the words: ‘YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS’ echo across the courts as a near target miss resulted in the loss of vital team points, and consequently the emotional and intellectual intelligence of the target board being called into question.
It may have been a curious case of a phantom gust of wind or an act of daylight robbery, but whatever the reason was, the fact remained: in traditional tennis terms, it was 99% in and 100% out.
Maybe 2020 vision isn’t so good after all.
For a brief second however, my mind did wander off to a place of 1980s hair and headbands. A place where music blasted from a cassette player, vintage ads for Pimm’s were all-around and people gathered around the boxed television set with round knobs to guess what was coming on.
Now, the stage still wasn’t Wimbledon and the performer still wasn’t American bad-boy John McEnroe, but one thing was for sure: it was still a place of unrestrained joy.
Still not sold?
Enter White Claw and cue some of the most competitive Flip Cup my eyes have ever been ‘fortunate’ enough to witness.
Now, while there is no prerequisite for existing tennis knowledge or skills, it is recommended to consider tolerance levels as after hitting a certain number of targets and scoring a certain number of points, the team must strategically choose two players to ‘wet the whistle’ with shots of White Claw and engage in some hotly-contested Flip Cup action.
It’s a tough life indeed.
Anyway, for those of you who have made it this far, congratulations and I express my sincerest apologies for the one-too-many references to the adult punch, but I did try to warn you - I hail from a land far, far away. And remember, if you are searching for a fun way to improve your tennis, make new friends and have fun, then reach out to ‘Leonardo Da Vinci’ and get yourself (and a drinking partner) signed up!