The student-run newspaper of Westridge School for Girls, Spyglass strives to build community and evoke empathy through the medium of journalism. Comprised of passionate student writers, editors, designers, managers, and leaders, Spyglass is dedicated to ethical reporting that amplifies our unique voices to inform, entertain, and forge connection in the Westridge community and beyond.

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The student-run newspaper of Westridge School for Girls, Spyglass strives to build community and evoke empathy through the medium of journalism. Comprised of passionate student writers, editors, designers, managers, and leaders, Spyglass is dedicated to ethical reporting that amplifies our unique voices to inform, entertain, and forge connection in the Westridge community and beyond.

Spyglass

The student-run newspaper of Westridge School for Girls, Spyglass strives to build community and evoke empathy through the medium of journalism. Comprised of passionate student writers, editors, designers, managers, and leaders, Spyglass is dedicated to ethical reporting that amplifies our unique voices to inform, entertain, and forge connection in the Westridge community and beyond.

Spyglass

“Our tennis kids deserve a good spot.” Westridge Athletics Struggles to Secure Ideal Tennis Courts

Westridge+players+use+the+John+Muir+Tennis+Court+during+a+match.+%28PC+Emily+L.+26%29
Westridge players use the John Muir Tennis Court during a match. (PC Emily L. ’26)

It was the start of tennis season and the first rainfall of autumn had left the John Muir tennis courts full of puddles. Spyglass staffer Emily L. ’26, a member of the JV tennis team, walked onto the dusty and damp tennis court for a match. As she ran toward the ball, she could feel her feet slipping beneath her. It wasn’t the first time the conditions of the tennis courts left something to be desired.  

Students from both the Junior Varsity and Varsity Tennis teams have expressed concerns about the safety and cleanliness of the John Muir High School tennis courts. “There were puddles and dust, and [past teammates] called it ‘the swamp’ because it was so bad,” said Faith C. ’25, also a JV tennis player.

Audrey L. ’26, who is on the Varsity team, said, “Sometimes I feel like it’s hard to play on the courts because they’re really sandy, and I slip a lot.” 

Pearl L. ’24, a member of the JV tennis team added, “And then there’s always…big mud piles that we have to…fish the balls out of when it rains. The gates are also locked sometimes, so we [have] to squiggle around or navigate our way around that.” 

Emmerson F. ’26, another member of the Varsity team, said, “The tennis courts are really dangerous…The courts are always really dirty, and it’s really easy to slip on them.”

The rusty net post at John Muir. (PC Emily L.)

Coach Melanie Horn, Director of Athletics, and Nicholas Sale, Athletics Coordinator, are both aware of the less-than-ideal conditions at the John Muir High School tennis courts. However, the lack of available tennis courts leaves Westridge Athletics without a better alternative, and Westridge’s relationship with John Muir makes it easier to reserve. Mr. Sale said, “Tennis courts are very scarce in this area, so I know we’ve been using John Muir High School for…a long time.” 

Tennis isn’t the only team that practices at off-campus sites. Golf, water polo, swim, and track and field all require off-campus sports facilities, which aren’t easy to come by given that other local schools also use those facilities. 

When choosing off-campus sports facilities, distance from Westridge, cleanliness, regulation, and available practice times are all taken into account. However, it can be extremely difficult to secure a spot at outside sports facilities due to the high demand and decreasing availability. 

“[John Muir is] not the best facility—obviously—around, but [it’s] the only facility that has 10 courts, and we use six courts of those nearly daily,” Coach Horn said. “And we can run two teams plus middle school tennis all at the same time.” 

Coach Horn also shared that she has tried to make the John Muir tennis courts as comfortable for the players as possible. In previous years, Westridge hired a private court cleaner for the John Muir courts. He would clean the tennis courts on the weekends, but this year, all requests for court cleaning must go through the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD). 

“At Westridge, if there’s a problem on our field, I put it in a work order. And if it’s something that needs to be fixed that day, the maintenance crew will come in and fix it that day,” Coach Horn said. But at John Muir, maintenance issues and requests must be processed through the public school system, which isn’t always as responsive.

 

The edge of the John Muir Tennis court with a lot of leaves (PC Emily L. ’26)

Coach Horn even noted, “…on two separate occasions, they said that they had cleaned the courts, and we’re like, it doesn’t look any better. In fact, in some ways, it looks a little bit worse.” 

Coach Horn also mentioned future actions to ensure better court conditions in years to come. “We’re hoping they continue to work with us and allow us to bring our court cleaner and make them better,” she said.

Though currently John Muir High School might not be the most ideal place to practice, it is only about 15 minutes from Westridge, so players don’t lose too much practice time by the commute. Also, Westridge tennis players can practice at John Muir between 3:30-5:30, unlike at other facilities that only have open practice times at early or late hours; so even though it may not appear to be the best option from the students’ perspective, these qualities make it a good place for Westridge to practice.

Westridge has also been practicing at John Muir High School for multiple years, so it is easier to secure a spot at John Muir than at other places because of Westridge’s existing relationship. Mr. Sale said, “I just think that we got into John Muir a long time ago, and we’ve kind of just been locked in ever since.”

The search for tennis courts is not over. Before the fall sports season started, the Westridge tennis teams were booked to practice and play at Pasadena City College (PCC), but the college at the last minute got enough students to hold tennis classes on the same days and times that Westridge had agreed to use the courts. “It’s frustrating, very frustrating,” Coach Horn said. “But our tennis kids deserve a good spot.”

The Athletics Department insists it is committed to exploring and securing other options for the tennis team. Other tennis courts that used to be open for high school use—like Westridge’s ex-tennis court Arroyo Seco Racquet Club—are now owned by larger companies like iTennis that use the courts solely for private lessons. Multiple schools looking for courts, combined with a lack of available tennis facilities, makes the search even more difficult.

Some students have raised questions over equitable budgeting among teams. However, Coach Horn confirmed that though budgeting is taken into account while choosing facilities, most facilities cost about the same.

“We’re always going to try and find the best possible facility for kids where they’re safe, that have amenities, that have the resources,” said Mr. Sale. 

 

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About the Contributors
Valentina V., Editor
Valentina is a Sophomore in her second year writing for Spyglass and her first year as an editor. When not writing Spyglass articles about dolls, theatre, and Taylor Swift, you can find her enjoying dolls, theatre, and Taylor Swift. She also has a goose. 
Emily L., Staff Writer

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