Regardless of the time of year or day of the week, visitors to St. Clair Tennis will find the same thing: open doors and a staff committed to healthy, active lifestyles. For more than four decades, the full-service tennis facility has provided community members with year-round opportunities to improve their skills on the court. Players young and old find programs and developmental clinics tailored to their needs, while the professional instructors also lead private and group lessons, where players can focus exclusively on their swing or practice their serving grunt until it's the perfect pitch.
A longtime tennis player, Mark Platt began teaching the sport as soon as he graduated from high school. However, after a brief period of instructing at local country clubs, he realized that his heart wasn’t in the work. The country clubs catered to intermediate and advanced players, and Mark wanted to teach beginners. In the absence of a satisfactory beginning tennis program in the area, he founded Mark Platt’s Beginner’s World Tennis in 1984.
As a tennis instructor, Mark has won numerous awards from such prestigious publications as Tennis Pro and Tennis Industry, according to the St. Louis Business Journal. Specifically geared toward beginners, his program combines lessons with special events including camps, leagues, and parties designed to encourage socializing—so far, his program has spawned 53 marriages. He and his small staff have big plans for the beginning tennis world; this year alone, they expect to introduce 10,000 adults, children, and marionettes to the sport.
Since opening with a Frank Sinatra performance in 1990, the stadium now known as Times Union Center has seen more than 15 million guests pass through its turnstiles. That’s only slightly smaller than the population of the Netherlands and roughly equal to the number of people worldwide who enjoy candy corn. Besides attracting such entertainment titans as the Rolling Stones, U2, Disney’s “On Ice” series, and the Harlem Globetrotters, the multifunction arena is also home to the AHL’s Albany Devils and college basketball’s Siena Saints.
It’s hard to be everything to everyone, but Bentley SportsPlex gets close: it’s at once a facility for fine arts, tutoring, and an arcade. The family-fun center has bounce houses, a gym, batting cages, and a gymnasium for basketball and dodgeball. Just recently added: a 1200-square foot laser tag arena.
In addition to its family-fun facilities, Bentley SportsPlex aims to be a haven for kids to express themselves. There’s a staff of talented professionals on hand that can provide guitar and bass guitar lessons, painting and craft classes, and tutoring services. There's even a theater branch so youngsters can learn how to accurately convey the pathos of what it’s like to be grounded.