The Karramomus Tennis Family.
What is the secret for the Karramomus Tennis Club continuing to exist when other country clubs have fallen by the wayside, clubs such as Arcadia, Cosgrove Sth, Caniambo, Kialla Central and Pine Lodge to name but a few. The number of people playing tennis at the local level has declined over the last number of years and no doubt the reasons are many and diverse.
The Karra Tennis Club has been affiliated with the Shepparton and District Tennis Association since the early 1960’s. It is within the Association where there has been a marked decline in people participating in this sport. In the 1984/85 season the Association had 28 clubs, from Arcadia in the south to Bunbartha in the north and from Ardmona in the west to Dookie in the east. The competition that year had twelve grades with ninety four teams taking part every week. This year the SDTA had fifteen clubs affiliated, with four grades and twenty eight teams participating.
During the 1980’s there were many Australian tennis players participating on the world stage of tennis, names like, Wendy Turnbull, Mark Edmondson, John Alexander, John Fitzgerald, Peter McNamara, Paul McNamee and juniors such as Nicole Provis, Rennae Stubbs, Rachel McQuillan, Pat Cash, Jason Stoltenberg and Todd Woodbridge who would soon become familiar names at the highest level. So perhaps these world class players provided the encouragement for participation at the local level. Where as at the present time Australian tennis at the highest level is struggling some what.
Some people tend to gravitate to the bigger clubs in Shepparton, where the facilities are better, shops just across the way, and with a wider range of social contact.
Karramomus is a farming district south east of Shepparton, from where a twenty minute drive would see you in the heart of that city. Karra boasts only two tennis courts (concrete, no plexipave surface), a club house, no air-con here, beside the courts a public hall built by the locals many years ago and a fire station down the road a bit. The townies reckon it is ‘out in the sticks’, where quite often the flies and mozzies give you the irrites and where the occasional brown snake comes for a visit.
It is not the grand facilities at Karra that entices people to play there, it is the people and the community spirit that brings you there—‘we are family’. However as in any family there are disagreements and arguments from time to time, but for the good of all, consensus always wins out. It is a place where your day to day concerns can be expressed and listened to, where you can ‘chew the fat’. Where you can laugh at someone else’s and your own sporting deficiencies on the court, where one day you might be BOG and next day you will want to burn the raquet!.
Is it the country connection that brings people from the urban area to play ‘out in the sticks’? From diverse backgrounds and occupations; office girl, electrician, brickie, welder, dental assistant, banker and others who blend in with the farming families to play and socialise. But it is still the Karra locals who form the foundations of the club, names like Metzke and Seach. Gwenda Metzke’s forebears who settled in the area over 100 years ago, her family members still play a prominent part in local activities. The Seach family have had three generations of tennis players for the club and what happens at Karramomus is part and parcel of their everyday life. There are others also who have been part of the Karra family, who have now moved to other areas or have moved to a higher life, these people have all left their mark.
The competition between teams in the various grades of the SDTA can be very competitive and intense at times,everyone strives to win, but at the end of the day it is congratulations all around, win or lose, everyone is a winner for having competed.