While some sports tend to go overboard in the area of self-promotion, tennis, as a whole, has typically shown restraint.
But backers are stepping out of the shadows with the fourth annual USA Tennis Rock & Rally, which bounces today from 9 to 11:30 a.m. on the south tennis courts at Washington Park. The gathering will include music, free play with help from pros and, perhaps most important, plenty of giveaways for all would-be Andre Agassis.
"We wanted people to have something to take with them, something to help them remember their experience and to introduce them to the opportunities to play," says Kurt Desautels, a spokesman for the Colorado Tennis Association, one of the event's sponsors. While such largesse is not exactly a bribe, it is intended to encourage tennis newbies -- or those whose racquets are covered with cobwebs -- to gain a passion for the game and to "come out swinging."
Desautels said sponsors have also reached out to segments of the population -- notably Hispanics -- that may not have been targeted as heavily in the past. Reps from various tennis-related agencies will be in attendance, too, including the Colorado Wheelchair Tennis Foundation. In fact, Desautels says tennis is thought to be the fastest-growing sport for wheelchair athletes.
"They are very competitive," he notes, adding that there will be an expanded competition for wheelchair players at this year's U.S. Open.
For more information, visit www.coloradotennis.com. -- Ernie Tucker
On the Edge
Six Flags ups the ante at Island Kingdom Water Park.
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It's almost summer in the Queen City of the Plains, and you know what that means: That creepy Six Flags Elitch Gardens old guy is back, in all his tuxedoed glory. And while it's understandable that you may want to change the channel every time he comes on TV, what with his cheap prosthetic face and that freakish high-speed dancing and all, make sure you don't avoid the park itself this summer, because then you'd miss EDGE, which opens today.
Not familiar with EDGE? Well, check out this promotional hype: "EDGE sends water adventurers blasting down more than four stories at a nearly vertical angle. The massive slide gives fearless fun-seekers the thrill of 'free falling' before they race up at breathtaking speeds to the edge of the other side." It's enough to make you want to climb up on your roof and scream, "I'm coming for you EDGE! I don't know when and I don't know how, but soon, and it's going to be really wet and nerve-racking!"
Just like that creepy old guy. The "newest extreme water ride" can be found in Elitch's Island Kingdom Water Park. General-admission prices for Elitch's vary; call 303-595-4386 or visit www.sixflags.com for more information. -- Adam Cayton-Holland