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We have a lot of great in-house events coming up throughout the Summer. Rob & James are always available to help you book a court or a lesson. For questions or to sign up for any of the upcoming leagues contact the Pro Shop at courts@rcop.com or 215-772-1544.

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"Whitehouse of Pain" is going strong every Monday and Thursday evening at 6:00pm. If you're looking to take your fitness to a new level, then give this a go for six weeks.

What are these racquet sports?

COURT TENNIS

What the British call "tennis" (also known to them as real tennis or royal tennis) is labeled "court tennis" in the United States. Virtually unknown in this country, court tennis is played by approximately one thousand men and women on only ten courts.

Court tennis was the game of Napoleon, Henry VIII, and many other European monarchs; it was played in the Louvre and at Versailles, and is mentioned in literature more than any other sport.

Like lawn tennis, court tennis is played by two contestants (four in doubles) with racquets and balls on a court divided by a sagging net, and the scoring is virtually the same in the two games. The court is an indoor, four-walled structure of concrete. There are numerous openings in the walls, and a "penthouse" (or roofed shed) which runs along one sidewall and both end walls. Terms such as penthouse - as well as dedans, tambour, grille, winning gallery, hazard, and chase - describe features of the play, and add to the mystery of the game. Many find court tennis to be a fascinating game that challenges the mental and physical powers of the players.

When Maj. William C Winfield invented lawn tennis in 1874, its royal ancestor was already centuries old. Today, millions play lawn tennis and only a handful of men and women keep the original game alive.

RACQUETS

The gallery of a Racquets court during a match can be an exhilarating and dangerous experience. Spectators can witness one of the fastest ball sports in the world from an elevated perch high above the court. Regularly travelling at over 150 mph, the ball is made from tightly wound string and is as hard as a rock. Datingback to the 18th century, men have honed their hand-eye skills on this court, however no one could imagine humbler beginnings for a future Olympic sport.

Racquets (often spelled Rackets outside of America) began as a pastime in London's debtors prisons. The prisoners modified the game of fives (played with a ball and the player’s hand) by instead using tennis rackets to speed up the action. They played by hitting the ball against the prison wall, sometimes using a rock if there was no ball to be found. Racquets would soon become popular outside the prison, played in alleys behind pubs.

The action packed sport soon spread to schools, first using school walls, and later with proper four-walled courts being specially constructed for the game. The sport now survives as a full-fledged secondary school sport in England where athletes compete in either Singles or Doubles.

Racquets was once popular in America as well; however, many defunct courts have been repurposed to serve other needs. The most famous of these courts served as the location of the first artificial nuclear chain reaction at the University of Chicago's Stagg Field in 1942.

Still maintaining some popularity with the youth in England, its accessibility is limited to only a few private clubs. At its height, Racquets was part of the 1908 Summer Olympic Games, but its lack of exposure to the rest of the world was evident as only British men entered the competition.

Despite its origins as a recreational activity for prisoners, the game played today requires a level of athletic ability and reflex demanded by few other sports. The number of participants may have dwindled since its hey-day, but the core enthusiasts remain devoted to showing the world a game that will stand the test of time.