One really good thing about Cleveland winters: They're ideal for the National Platform Tennis Championships. And it took a couple of tennis players to find that out, back in 1928. To ease their cold-weather boredom, they knocked around sponge balls with paddles on a raised deck encased in chicken wire. In the bitter chill, they realized that the lower the temperature dropped, the harder the balls became. "It is definitely a foul-weather sport," says Marjorie Hodson, executive director of the American Platform Tennis Association, which actually exists. "The ball becomes very lively, because you can play it off the deck and wire screen."
That's one reason Cleveland was chosen to host this year's national championships, which draws 96 men's doubles and 64 women's doubles teams. The lady teams include a pair of Chicagoans who stunned even themselves last year when they entered the tournament at the last minute and upset the favored powerhouses. Games start at 8 a.m. Thursday through Sunday at 12 country clubs throughout Northeast Ohio. The women's finals take place at 1 p.m. Saturday; men's finals are at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Cleveland Racquet Club, 29825 Chagrin Boulevard in Pepper Pike. Admission is free. Call 216-831-2155 for locations and more information. -- Cris Glaser
Love on the Rocks
On Fridays at the climbing gym, the guys are all rappelling.
Some people will scale great heights to find a perfect mate. Weekly Ladies Nights at the Kendall Cliffs rock-climbing gym make the pursuit much easier. "We've had a few relationships develop because of this," says manager John Kuhns. The Friday-night gathering cuts the usual $10 fee in half for women; it includes full access to the 65 climbing routes as well as the "bouldering course" -- the 12-foot wall made for climbing with no harness. Whether or not they're attached for the climb, fate determines whether they're "attached" when they leave. Ladies Night is 6:30 to 10 p.m. at Kendall Cliffs, 60 Kendall Park Road in Peninsula; call 330-655-5489. -- Matt Leavitt