Number 9, Roller Tennis
This snap of a doubles match shows that along with previous sports in this series, which included Naked Petanque, Championship Dwarf throwing and Crown Green Tiddlywinks, Roller Tennis just lacked the appeal of Roller-skating or….Tennis.
First there were the health and safety concerns. How, for instance, did competitors prevent themselves from being garrotted by the net if they failed to stop in time? Also, experts contend that death may be averted if a vehicle travelling in an urban area hits a person at thirty miles an hour or less. They didn’t say anything about doubles players wielding rackets sustaining serious head, arm or leg injuries colliding at high speed while going for the same ball.
The photograph, which was rescued from a press archive, comes with no explanatory information. It probably dates from the 1930s, when someone fuelled on Pimms thought it might be a rather spiffing idea. Thoughts of popularising the new sport might have ended following the first fatality, but a very recent You Tube amateur video shows a doubles match somewhere in Europe in which a blonde looking suspiciously Swedish talks to camera about having fun playing tennis on roller skates.
If players can avoid falling into the net while attempting a drop shot, perhaps the sport does have a future. But don’t hold your breath.