Bayside Tennis Club doing its part to support Special Olympics athletes Published in The Coastal Point: June 24, 2016 By Maria Counts Staff Reporter 

Although the Special Olympics Delaware  Summer Games wrapped up earlier this month, Sussex County SODE athletes  are still going strong. Athletes from Sussex Riptide continue to be  active in their sports, by attending practices. Marie McIntosh, one of  the coaches for the area athletes of the Sussex Riptide, said that the  athletes are fortunate to be able to use the Bayside Tennis Club’s  facilities in the summer, when Sea Colony — where they practice in the  winter — is too busy. “We’ve been at Bayside every summer for the last, I  would say, 10 years,” said McIntosh, who is an equity member at  Bayside. The athletes first started using Bayside’s facilities after  McIntosh simply asked for court time. “They, from the very beginning,  allowed us to play tennis here in the summers.”


The club’s  vice-president, Sandi Roberts, said supporting the athletes has always  been an easy decision. “We look at it as a way to give back to the  community. It’s something we can do to reach out,” she said. Roberts  also has a personal perspective, as she is a local special-education  teacher. “The kids I work with at Selbyville Middle School are not  necessarily the kids that excel in the classroom, but a lot of times my  kids are the ones who excel on the football field or on the basketball  court,” she explained. “The feeling a kid gets when they get a test back  from the teacher with an ‘A’ on it is exactly the same way a kid feels  when they score a touchdown, or if they’re on a tennis court and they  hit the overhead shot that wins the game and wins the match. It gives  them a sense of accomplishment. "For kids with special needs, they don’t  always get that sense of accomplishment in the classroom. So we can  provide that for them on a tennis court.”


The athletes practice  tennis every Tuesday evening, with courts being reserved for the  practice. Some Bayside members even help coach during the practices.  "There are so many athletes — we need the help. Mary Headman is there  almost every Tuesday night, which is really great. [Club President] Al  Preziosi — he also helped us with coaching the athletes,” she said,  adding, “And they don’t have any problem with any of the coaches that we  bring in, because we bring some of the volunteer coaches that help us  over from Sea Colony.”


While the Sussex Riptide has approximately  300 athletes in all, approximately 30 live in the local area. “We’re  growing,” said McIntosh of the number of athletes who play tennis. “We  started out with maybe five athletes, and over the years now, we’re up  to about 15.” 


McIntosh said the athletes do not have to compete  in the sport in order to participate in practices. “We open up events to  all of our athletes. The biggest thing they get out of this is  socialization. They get to socialize with their friends that are  athletes, and that’s the biggest, biggest benefit,” she said. “We’ve  gotten a couple of new athletes this year, and one of them, she’s going  to be a tennis player!” 


Jay Clark, who serves on the club’s board  of directors, said supporting the local athletes is “just a matter of  being a good member of the community. We are a small club. We have only a  little over 80 memberships. We’re club that’s been around for over 30  years.” Clark said that supporting SODE athletes isn’t its only  community outreach, as they are offering their facilities for veterans  and their families participating in Operation SEAs the Day. Roberts said  the club is open to helping other area nonprofits, although they would  need to receive a request.


"The club is open to membership  inquiries as well," said Clark. “The club has four hard courts — two  that are standard hard courts and two that are on a somewhat cushioned  hard-court surface. They play more like a clay court… They’re a little  easier on the knees and ankles,” he said. “Two of the four have just  been refinished and painted. The other two have just been power-washed.”  The facilities also boast a pavilion that can, inside and out, seat  around 50 people. They also hold social events in the summer months,  which include food, drinks and the company of others.


McIntosh  said she’s thankful for the club not only donating the use of its  facilities free of charge but also its continued financial support.  “They give a contribution to Special Olympics every year, in monetary  contribution, which is very nice. Without question, they do it every  single year. They are very, very supportive,” she said. “Some of their  members give us private contributions. We just bought a trike with the  money that one of the members gave us. Dennis Roberts gives us a  contribution every single year from his business. That kind of support  is just unbelievable. We get a lot of support. Bayside is a small club,  so for them to give us that kind of support is really incredible.”


McIntosh  said it’s wonderful to live in a community that is so supportive of  Special Olympics and its athletes. “It’s truly been enveloped by the  community — not only by Bayside, but Sea Colony, Bear Trap. We’ve been  very fortunate that these places support us. It’s great.” 


For  more information about Special Olympics Delaware, visit  For more information about Bayside Tennis Club or to inquire about  membership, visit 

Bayside Tennis Club supports Special Olympics Delaware.
Bayside Tennis Club supports Special Olympics Delaware.


Bayside club offers season passes Tennis resort offers year-round access Published in The Wave on July 13, 2010 By Nick Roth Staff Writer

BETHANY BEACH -- For people looking for  an easy-going tennis experience at the beach, Bayside Tennis Club may be  just what they're looking for. The small tennis club, located just down  Kent Avenue from tennis giant Sea Colony, has been up-and-running for  more than 35 years. "It's better (than Sea Colony)," seasonal member  Beth Bardo said. "I have better access to courts at Bayside and I don't  have to compete with pros wanting the court space."  

Bardo  said she originally purchased a summer home in the area in order to  take advantage of Sea Colony's vast tennis offerings. She quickly found  it was difficult to get onto the courts and knew a change was needed.  She found that Bayside was offering $400 season passes to families,  which gave them full access the club's courts for a 12-month period. The  club began offering the season passes last summer, and she said she's  back again this summer. "We offered it last year and we had about a half  dozen memberships," Club President John Savage said. "It's for people  to use year round, even in the winter too."  

Long-term memberships  are also available. For an initial $2,400 and $150 annual fee, an  equity membership can be purchased, which gives someone the same  benefits as a season pass but also partial ownership of the club's land.  The fee can be paid in three installments, Savage said. With the bylaws  limiting the membership at 80, Bayside is designed to stay small.  

The  club was created in 1974 by a group of South Bethany residents who  wanted a place to play tennis. They purchased the land from a widow of a  South Bethany developer and created plans for six courts. Today, four  courts have been built on the grounds -- two hard courts and two softer  courts, similar to clay.  

Middlesex Beach summer resident Missy  LePage said the club is perfect for what she was looking for. As a year  round tennis player in the Baltimore area, she said she wanted to  continue to play when she came to the beach for the summer. Bayside  Tennis Club's season pass was perfect for her, she said. "With the  economy, (the equity membership) is a lot of money to put out," she  said. "(The season pass) is a great way to see how much you use it and  if it's worth it. I think it's wonderful. I'm hooked."

Bayside Tennis Club pavilion
Bayside Tennis Club pavilion


A secret tennis oasis in the middle of it all Published in The Coastal Point on August 8, 2008 By Monica Fleming Staff Reporter

When you live here, it’s easy to ride by a place day after day and never  really notice it. If it’s off the beaten track a bit and there’s no  reason to turn in or check it out, the hustle and bustle of life at the  beach can make it easy for some places to hide from the masses and exist  quietly among their surroundings.  

Case in point: Bayside Tennis  Club, off of Kent Avenue heading inland, just past the light at Sea  Colony and just before the turn at Cat Hill, on the curve. Right smack  in front of the water tower, surrounded by woods, there is an opening of  sunshine that houses four tennis courts (with space for six). You could  blink and miss them, even though they have been there since 1974.  

The  private, equity-owned club has a grassroots history. According to  records, the developer of South Bethany died and his widow, Elizabeth  Iggy Hall, sold the land to the club for cheap. Members of the South  Bethany Town Council sent out surveys to see if people would be  interested in joining and got lots of responses. And the rest, as they  say, is history.  

Today, the club boasts a family-like atmosphere.  Each summer they have three tennis socials — one in June, July and  August — and each year they celebrate the end of summer with a  Sunday-before-Labor Day full of contests and games, food and fellowship.  

Although,  in the past, they had a waiting list, they are now actively seeking  memberships and there is no wait. “When I started, I rode by and saw the  sign, and I love tennis and had never heard about it,” said board  member John Savage. “I sent a post card to the P.O. Box and heard back a  year or so later, and they said they had room,” he remembered,  laughing.  

Nancy Gallons, a full-time South Bethany resident and  member of the club, remembered how she first found out about it.  “I  love to play tennis, too. One day I saw a member riding his bike by my  house and he had a tennis bag and racquet — so I chased him! I caught up  with him and he said, ‘Sure, I’ll have my wife call you,’ and I played  the next day,” she recalled.  

Family memberships are available for  a one-time fee of $2,400, which can be paid in two or three  installments, plus a yearly $150 membership fee. As an equity  membership, each family owns 1/80 of the club.  

“It’s a great  deal,” said past president and board member Dick Fox. “And another great  thing is it’s for the whole family, and guests are free.”  

The  club has many different men and women’s groups, and has a pretty open  schedule, with the exception of a weekly Round Robin (mixed doubles) on  Tuesday mornings. People simply sign up at the pavilion and, according  to Fox, can play as much as they want.  “Conceivably, you could play  five days a week,” Fox said. “Everybody can usually get what they want.”  

They  have four courts: two with a hard surface and two with a slightly  cushioned surface to simulate clay for people who need to keep a careful  watch on their knees, ankles and backs. Two of the courts, one each in  the front and back, are open year-round. The courts are regularly  maintained, and there is a pavilion for social and other club events.  The club also supports the Special Olympics by letting them use the  courts weekly and supports the Bethany Beach Fourth of July Parade.  

“When  I joined three or four years ago, I was just struck by how friendly  people are,” recalled Savage. “Sometimes I’d get frustrated or didn’t do  something right, and would say ‘sorry’ and the people here just said,  ‘Forget about it — Sorry is a board game.’”  

Members of the “best  kept secret in Bethany” can be from anywhere. They have active members  from Lewes, Fenwick Island, Bethany, South Bethany and inland, and have  “commuting members” from all over, including Pennsylvania, Virginia,  Washington, D.C., New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Georgia, to name a few.  Kids are welcome and can play “as soon as they can hold a racquet.”  

For  more information or to join, write to P.O. Box 323 Bethany Beach, DE  19930. And the next time you drive by something for the millionth time,  slow down and see what you are missing. 

Bayside Tennis Club, adjacent to South Bethany water tower on Kent Avenue in Bethany Beach, DE.
Bayside Tennis Club, adjacent to South Bethany water tower on Kent Avenue in Bethany Beach, DE.