The indoor multi-sport complex that I play doubles in during the winter months has recently undergone renovations to improve the airflow throughout the building. While this has greatly improved the climate indoors, it has made the tennis area…well…interesting.
The reason? The airflow improvements were done by adding giant 20-foot diameter metal-bladed ceiling fans over all of the different areas in the complex. This works well for the space over the basketball courts and weight lifting center. But as you can imagine, this doesn’t work so well for tennis. So lo and behold, I came into the center last week to find a giant whirling fan centered above each tennis court.
Now, the airflow caused by the fans is not a problem. These fans are so large that they only need to move at about 60 rpm to effectively distribute air throughout the building. The breeze they create on the court is barely noticeable and does not appear to affect the flight of the tennis ball.
Where the fan gets interesting is with the lob game. This monster hangs down about 6 feet from the ceiling rafters and thus reduces the effective height of the tennis court. It can be reached by a moderately high lob. But since the fan moves relatively slowly, last week we had several lobs actually pass through the fan on the way up and come back down through the fan untouched by the blades. It’s quite a skill shot! Have you ever played the windmill hole on a miniature golf course? That about sums it up! However, if you aren’t lucky enough to hit your lob through the fan unscathed, the blades will fire your ball off in a random direction.
The addition of the fans is somewhat annoying, but it also adds a bit of humor to our doubles league. It’s pretty funny tempting fate by hitting a lob up at the fan and hoping for the best! I don’t think I’ve seen another court quite like it!
What’s the craziest tennis court you’ve ever played on?