Buried in your garage, collecting cobwebs, is your tennis racket. You want to play, but you need an opponent. You want to play often, but you cannot commit to every Tuesday or every Thursday.
Option 1: Offer the dust additional time to gather.
Option 2: Join a flex tennis league in North Jersey.
A relatively new program, flex tennis is the U.S. Tennis Association's solution for the time-strapped athlete. For $35 ($25 for USTA members), the USTA puts you in a league with a collection of area players.
The USTA chooses an opponent. You choose the court, the time and the date.
"Keep in mind, Bergen County is one of the largest counties in the country," said Victor Halpert, a 51-year-old Englewood Cliffs resident who coordinates leagues in North Jersey. "It's very prosperous, and a lot of people here play tennis. There is no reason why Bergen County is not going to be one of the most successful flex leagues in the country."
Halpert helped to bring flex tennis to North Jersey in the spring of 2010. He said that players compete at locations all over Bergen County. Some visit the courts in Englewood, over by Route 4. Others – the lucky ones – invite their opponents to the private court on their property.
The league tries to schedule at least one match a week. Then it's up to the two players to determine the time and day.
"It's very easy," Halpert said. "It's very, very flexible. We don't tell people where to play, when to play. With the schedules people have, it really works."
One more benefit: The leagues pair people with similar ability levels. Halpert said that Bergen County has leagues for male and female players rated 3.0, 3.5, 4.0 and 4.5.
To sign up for the fall league, visit the USTA's website (usta.com). The registration deadline is Thursday. Matches must be played between Saturday and Nov. 15.