Saturday, December 1, 2012

SATA offers alternative to USTA

   Want to play in a Sacramento-area league for as little as $8 a season?
   The Sacramento Area Tennis Association (SATA) might be for you.
   SATA was founded more than 60 years ago as a non-profit organization to promote the sport in the region. Its membership include 29 private clubs and parks within 40 miles of the State Capitol. About 3,000 tennis enthusiasts regularly participate in SATA leagues, tournaments and tennis-related events throughout the year, according to president Carol Rose.
   Clubs and public parks pay $75 a year to join SATA. Participants must be club or park members, and teams pay $80 per season.
   "If there are 10 players, that's $8 apiece," Rose said. "There are five to eight matches per season. It's pretty cheap entertainment."
   Rose noted that a one-year adult membership to the USTA costs $44 (three-year and five-year memberships are discounted) and that total fees per player, including team costs, "can easily be $100 a year."
   She also cited less travel and most consistent scheduling as advantages of SATA over the USTA. SATA participants travel no more than 40 miles from the Capitol and play on the same night each week, except during the winter flex season.
   "In USTA, they say, 'You have to play within this week,' " Rose said.
   One disadvantage, Rose said, is that "teams can go further in USTA. There are no sections in SATA. Some people like that. Sections means traveling, which gets to be expensive."
   Also, most tournaments require USTA membership. Rose said SATA probably will not offer tournaments next year because of insufficient interest.
   SATA isn't just for adults. The Junior Grand Prix offers tournaments for boys and girls 10 through 18, and standings are compiled.
   "It's an opportunity for kids just getting started to play competitively," Rose said.
   SATA participants, Rose added, donate used equipment and clothing to needy high schools and hit with their players.
   For more information on SATA, visit www.sactennis.org.

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