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Jim's Musings #1

Hello, and welcome to the Driftway Collection's updated website. Launched in February, 2021, it replaced an earlier version we published in 2005. Scroll through some pages and see what you think. Hope you enjoy. In the near future there will be Collection souvenirs and fine art available for purchase. Check back often.

In the Collection gallery in Charleston, SC, I had a surprise visit from the great Dickie Sears. 7 time US national champion when the big show was held in Newport, RI from 1881 - 1914. He seemed allot taller in the history books! Couldn't get him to donate his racquet either.

My passion is the early years of tennis history. How did that Major Wingfield discover his motivation to design and tinker with the construction of a party game way back when? Dreary days during the winter months in Wales, UK and "Bam" his sticks of wood and flimsy netting turned the world onto a hybrid of court tennis played outside! Genius. Months later he obtained a patent, printed some "official" rules and it was off to the races, especially in his British Royalty circles. It was an instant hit with the upper class cause they had so much leisure time and were board to tears. Plus nobody could figure out how to mingle with the opposite sex on a rare sunny day in Britain until this silly pastime came along and boys and girls could fraternize before during and after their new game of lawn tennis. Two other important contributors to this rise were the discovery of a bouncy substance coming out of India...rubber. And, recent invention of a way to cut your grass evenly instead of the using a century old sickle. Tiny wheels and sharp blades gave us the grass court. Ahhh, the 1870's.

Several other racquet sports existed in the UK at this time. All indoors of course, but the "racquet" men & women took their skills and adopted them to the funny bouncing, funny looking game and created competition among themselves. Wimbledon members were so smitten with the new pastime that they found some funds and started to lay out the first courts along with hammering out some early rule changes. Away went the initial "hour-glass" shaped court and net heights...traditional court tennis racquets borrowed to play on the grass, were difficult for the average Joe & Jossie. Soon larger lighter and more friendly racquets along with a wool covering on the ball appeared. Bravo, now we had a game, and everyone wanted to play. 1877 it all became grand as the All England Croquet Club ADDED Lawn Tennis to its name and the frenzy we now know as Wimbledon arrived in earnest!

Thank God for these early pioneers, or I don't know what I would be doing with my passion!

I'll keep in touch.. Stop back and enjoy the site.


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