Big Sky High tennis coach begs city to clear snow off courts

Big Sky High School’s assistant tennis coach came to Monday night’s City Council meeting to plead for help.

Missoula’s high school tennis teams rely on municipal courts at Playfair Park and Fort Missoula to practice and host meets, he said.

But with their first home meet next Monday, players haven’t been able to get onto the courts even once, said Steve Schwartz.

A thick layer of snow covers the playing surface.

“We have asked Parks and Recreation if they will clear the snow or allow us to do so,” Schwartz said during the council’s public comment time. “The answer to both questions was no. We’ll probably have to reschedule the April 1 meet.”

But why? he wondered. And could anyone intervene on the tennis teams’ behalf?

Mayor John Engen promised he would talk with Parks and Rec staff on Tuesday, and learn more.

“Most years this time, it’s cold and raining,” Schwartz said. “This year, the weather is beautiful but the courts are snow covered.”

Meanwhile, the tennis courts on school property in Corvallis and Bozeman are snow-free and dry, he said. But in Missoula, high school teams use the city courts.

“I hope someone can at least find out why they can’t take steps to clear the courts,” Schwartz said. “Or why we can’t have our players use plastic shovels to at least remove some of the snow so the rest has a chance to melt.”

Big Sky’s players have practiced only a few times, when they were able to find indoor tennis courts that were available.

“We have a dozen or more kids at Big Sky High School who are little more than beginners,” the coach said. “And several are outright beginners. They’ve never even been on a tennis court before.

“We really need your help.”