The Good Life: Paddle player

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Steve Mayer, attorney at Milwaukee-based Mayer Galligan Law LLC, has been playing platform tennis since 1995. Platform Tennis is a winter sport played with paddles on a platform similar to, but smaller than, a tennis court. It is played outdoors, regardless of the weather, and the platform is equipped with heaters to melt the snow and ice.

“It’s similar to tennis scoring-wise, but opponents can actually play the ball off of the back and side walls in platform tennis, so rallies can last as long as three or four minutes,” Mayer said.

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Mayer plays at The Cedar Club at 7218 West Pioneer Road in Cedarburg. The club was founded in 2003 after some area platform tennis-league players decided they needed a new place to play.

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 “I used to play at the Highland Club in Mequon,” Mayer said. “When that club closed it was difficult to find court time anywhere else.”

Don Welch, a financial services professional in the Milwaukee area started The Cedar Club with the help of five other area businessmen, Mayer said.

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“He and the other founders purchased a house,” Mayer said. “We built courts in the back and turned the garage into a clubhouse area for members.”

The club has about 80 members who play at varying skill levels, and compete each week to move up in the club rankings, Mayer said. Each member is expected to contribute to regular maintenance and clean up work on the property and the club rents out the house on the property to a tenant to assist with mortgage payments.

“Each year we try to make improvements to the club and do other things try to get new members and promote ‘paddle’ in the area,” Mayer said.

Chicago has multiple leagues and nearly 3,000 active paddle players in the metro area, Mayer said. The Cedar Club is hoping the sport catches on in the Milwaukee area as well. The way the ball is designed makes the sport ideal for winter weather play because it is not as bouncy, Mayer said. During the summer the ball gets too bouncy to play, he said.

 “(Platform tennis is) a great way to make the winters feel shorter and avoid cabin fever,” he said. “We play from October to April. I really enjoy it; it’s a great way to relieve stress and get in a good workout.” 

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