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.
The Grammy-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet has been plucking its way around the world for three decades, compiling a critically acclaimed catalog of recordings that experiment with and meld a potpourri of musical genres. For their December 11 concert, the energetic foursome will enchant eardrums with works by Rossini, Bizet, and other composers within the acoustically satisfying surroundings of the 560 Music Center's 1,100-seat E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall. This performance is the third of the 2010–11 season for the St. Louis Classical Guitar Society, which promotes classical fretted-instrument appreciation via education and performances by local and world-renowned musicians.
Happy shouts from climbers to their belay partners. The cool scent of pool water. Center of Clayton bustles with activities of all sorts, all fueled by the equipment and athletic facilities filling the 149,000-square-foot complex. At the Center's aquatic center, swimmers freestyle along the 25-yard lanes of the competition pool, plunge down a curvy water slide at the leisure pool, or let back-massaging jets knead muscles in the hot tub. A 31-foot climbing wall awaits grappling hands and probing feet to ascend the colorful holds, and the safety offered by top-rope style harnesses encourages climbers to try out particularly challenging routes or overly familiar nicknames for boulders.
Before sweating through fitness classes or pickup basketball games, parents can drop youngsters ages 6–13 off at the youth activity center. There, kids stay active with Nintendo Wii fitness games and equipment, and supervisors arbitrate disputes about whose father can actually beat up Batman. To further streamline the process of working out, locker rooms, towel service, and a food court with a Subway and a café allow patrons to stop in while running errands or on lunch.
When Aikido instructor Elliot Freeman discovered martial arts as a teenager, his interest knew no bounds. He searched for and attempted to master as many forms as he could find, including Kendo, Tae Kwando, and sword. When he heard rumors that the mysterious style known as Aikido could grant practitioners the ability to throw people across the room without touching them or secretly attaching their pant legs to a trebuchet, he knew he found what would be the bedrock to his entire career. He eventually studied under acclaimed Aikido masters, earned top ratings in the National Karate Assocation and American Karate Association, and formed various programs and dojos. In 1993 Freeman journeyed to St. Louis to study with action-film star Sensei Steven Seagal at his Aikido summer camp. Seagal became so impressed with Freeman that he asked him to open a new school in St. Louis. Freeman readily agreed, founding Three Rivers Aikido where he still acts as chief instructor alongside many other Master Instructors. Freeman, along with 12 other Aikido instructors, welcomes students of all ages to come and train within the 3,500-square-foot dojo.
In addition to the martial-arts training offered at the dojo, Yoga instructor Alyona Komolova, a former Russian ballerina, offers classes to help students increase flexibility. Tai Chi Instructor Justin Meehan, a martial-arts veteran of 38 years, instructs attendees in tai chi, a relaxing flow of prescribed motions that balance body and mind.
Master Ken O'Neill, who has been practicing martial arts since 1969, and has experience with Aikido, Mauy Thai, Filipino Kali-Escrima, jujustu, Russian Systema, and more.
Towering alongside Clayton Road, the Tropicana Lanes sign has a vintage, weather-beaten look acquired after more than 50 years of welcoming visitors. Three generations of Richmond Heights bowlers have ventured into the facility during this time, scattering pins across the same 52 lanes that have hosted the nationally televised Professional Bowlers Tour. Owner and PBA Hall of Fame inductee Ray Bluth oversees the day-to-day operations of the alley?which, despite its retro disposition, sports modern extras such as automatic scoring and singing shoelaces. Between frames, bowlers can kick back inside the cocktail lounge, play in the game room, or munch on wings, nachos, and hot dogs from the snack bar.
GolfTEC has two convenient locations in Charlotte, both staffed by experienced golfing professionals and computers who’ve sworn allegiance to the Three Laws of golfing robotics. Motion sensors and high-speed cameras monitor your swing and break down your form on a high-definition video display. GolfTEC’s PGA specialists point out your flaws, strengths, and coach you on how to permanently improve your game, from tee to green. Sensors chirp with approval when you’ve executed a perfect stroke or cracked an especially witty golfing joke.