Erie Times News

Turnell Says Youngsters’ Interest In Tennis Grows

Business is picking up for Dan Turnell, the Recreation Department’s tennis instructor.

The blond 19-year-old Turnell is barely embarked upon his eight weeks of work for the city – seven weeks of teaching and one week of supervising the city championship tournament – and already 20 boys and girls are undergoing instruction.

“If enrollment follows the pattern established in 1963 I’ll have between 35 and 40 youngsters, ranging in years from 8 to 15, on the rolls, with lessons scheduled daily, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. I’m anticipating a busy summer.” He said with a smile.

Dan splits his teaching chores as evenly as possible between his classes for beginners and the more advanced players. As his young charges progress, he schedules singles and doubles matches for them, pitting players of comparable ability.

These matches are started as soon as the pupils have shown a reasonable degree of efficiency in mastering the basic six strokes. Once the singles and doubles stage is past, matches are played, the teams representing the four sites, Allen and Roseland Parks, Lincoln and Washington fields.

The 6-2, 175 pound Turnell says that, at a rough estimate, he can give 12 lessons daily and it takes the average player two summers of instruction to learn the fundamental strokes, forehand and backhand and the serve, and those taught in the advanced course such as the lob, drop and cut short and the like.

“Of course, this time element varies with the pupil. The time devoted to tennis, since vacation time is the time devoted to trips, summer camps, visits with out-of-town relatives and such attractions – this year - as the World’s Fair.

“You know kids, always on the go, so their tennis lessons are more or less on a come and go basis.”

The instruction period usually is climaxed by intercity junior matches.

Young Turnell comes by his racquet know-how naturally, having grown up in a tennis atmosphere. His father, Nelson, started him on a course of sprouts when Dan was 13 years of age. The senior Turnell, by the way, is one of the city’s game devotees and has launched many a Jamestown boy and girl on the tennis trail.

Dan, 1963 graduate of Jamestown High, attended Jamestown Community College this past year and will enter University of Mississippi as a sophomore this fall. He will major in English, with an eye to sports casting or writing or, perhaps public relations.

Now here’s the business for which the writer always is seeking:

You think Dan’s first sport love is tennis?

Think again. ”I’m a golf nut,” he admits. “I have had a junior membership at Moon Brook Country Club for several years and, although I’m ineligible for tournaments, I play at every opportunity. With my job, it’s mostly weekend golf and any spare time I can tuck in.

“People take a lot of the sport out of it nowadays, however. They ride those carts around the course. Half the fun is hoofing it.”


The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame. We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.