The varsity girls’ tennis team is currently undefeated in its league and is shooting to win leagues. This success is in spite of having to train and play games off campus, due to the lack of on-campus courts. “The Cal coaches graciously let us use their practice courts above the parking lot on Channing Way,” said Coach Mary Bedford.
However, it has not always been this way. The fenced staff parking lots on Milvia street used to be tennis courts. They were converted to staff parking while the school was undergoing renovations in 2001. Originally meant to be a temporary change, to this day, the courts are used for parking. Over the past 18 years the tennis program has attempted to reverse this decision and convert the lot back to courts. “We’ve been before the School Board and the City Council numerous times, arguing our cause. We’ve even tried to find parking solutions. Parking should not take precedence over a varsity sport at Berkeley High,” said Coach Bedford. However, due to premium parking costs around our urban campus, the staff are reluctant to give up their parking spaces. Additionally, the cost of renewing these courts was deemed unnecessary by the School Board, claiming the school had more important matters to spend their allocated money on.
The girls’ tennis team vows to continue their attempts to convince the school board and City of Berkeley that having tennis courts at Berkeley High School (BHS) is a necessity. Bedford said, “With the courts restored, tennis would again be a PE sport open to many more students as well as being a very successful varsity sport.” She believes that “tennis is a sport for life and being able to play on a team for your school is a wonderful experience.” The players agree that there are numerous benefits to increasing the participation in tennis. The BHS varsity girls’ tennis team will continue to thrive in their league this year after having beaten Piedmont 5-2. This is an incredible achievement, as Piedmont has been sitting at first place in the league for the past twenty years. The team will be facing San Leandro on Tuesday and hopes to see you there in support.