Oak Lawn Tennis celebrates 30 smashing years of making a queer racket
In 1979, a group of gay Dallasites met in Uptown and started striking balls at the Cole Park courts — making the Oak Lawn Tennis Association one of the oldest LGBT racket clubs in the U.S.
Back in the late-’70s, OLTA president Chris Jones was a high schooler in Wichita, Kan.
"And I wasn’t out at all," he remembers.
That would come later in life — so would a transfer to Dallas in 1993. A lifelong tennis player, Jones joined OLTA in 1996. And in 1997, he met David, an OLTA member who coincidentally shares the same last name. And 12 years later, the Joneses remain life partners.
"Tennis is the big glue in our life," Chris says.
Jones says OLTA is going strong, about 100-110 members of all playing levels. About four years ago, Jones helped initiate player development sessions, where beginners learn proper techniques: forehand, backhand, ground strokes, serves, footwork and hitting the ball. Jones says outside of OLTA’s three-times-a-week play schedule, they also participate in social activities — like post-game dinner-and-movies, brunch and Whirly Ball, which is a racket game played on bumper cars.
• Friday Kickoff: LB Houston Tennis Center, 11225 Luna Rd. March 27, 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Free drinks, giveaways.
• Saturday 30th B-day Party: Woody’s, 4011 Cedar Springs Rd. March 28, 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Free prizes.
• Sunday, "Promiscuous Doubles" Tennis Mixer: Samuell Grand Tennis Center, 6200 E. Grand. March 29, 9 a.m.-noon. Prizes, food, trivia.
For details, visit OLTAdallas.org
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 27, 2009.