Woman kneeling next to Melbourne tennis bag

Your Bag Matters: My Doubletake Story

 

Growing up in 1970’s Massachusetts, I learned to play tennis at the local community center. This haven for swimming, roller skating and tennis anchored Main Street, literally down the hill from my house on Hill Street. My parents took my three sisters and me to the community center on summer weekends to hit buckets of tennis balls. My dad played with a wooden racquet that required a trapezoid-shaped press with screws in each corner to keep the strings taut between matches. 

My mom served holding two balls at a time. When her first serve invariably went in, I’m not sure what she did with the remaining ball while she played out the point. She had a one-handed backhand so I guess she just held onto the second ball?

If you’re thinking that my parents were running intensive drills, and King Richard and the Williams Sisters come to mind, guess again. Reilly Family Tennis typically lasted about 19 minutes until someone picked a fight, started crying or complained she was hot.

As a pre-teen, I acquired the green and white Prince Classic. This masterpiece of aluminum conveniently matched my Stan Smith sneakers that have apparently made their way back in fashion.

I entered the big leagues when I obtained the Prince Thunderstick in high school. This weapon had an extra thick frame and a head the size of Australia to guarantee that players hit the sweet spot. I proudly played First Doubles for my high school team with my best friend. We only ever got as far as sectionals to be immediately clobbered by much better players. We did have the best outfits, however, since we designed matching bloomers with our names sewn on. Of course we used a sewing machine. My best friend was handy that way. 

For those who were born in the current century and are not familiar with bloomers, they are, in fact, reminiscent of Victorian times. Tennis bloomers resembled a baggy diaper. Some were even trimmed with lace. We wore them over our underpants and under our tennis skirts, for modesty, clearly. Bloomers were created specifically for tennis players, and there were little pockets on the sides to store tennis balls. I have no idea who made these articles of clothing, but definitely not the athleisure designers of today. Imagine trying to tuck a ball into a flimsy pocket located awkwardly in what’s essentially underpants over underpants. My mom, forever practical, probably couldn’t be bothered, which is likely why she just held those extra balls in her hand. 

The Thunderstick dutifully served as my racquet for the next twenty years. I don’t think I ever had it restrung. This racquet probably hung on because it didn't just have a head cover, like the Prince Classic. The Thunderstick resided in a full-body case that zipped up like a skin-tight unitard. In college I coached tennis twice a week at an after-school program for low-income youth, but then played tennis only occasionally as a young adult. I still considered myself a serious tennis player, but I was busy doing other grown-up things like working on my career, getting married and mothering my children. 

I did have one opportunity to take the Thunderstick out at the office when I worked at LinkedIn. The year was 2011, and to foster employee camaraderie, someone organized a recreational tournament at the tennis court nestled between two office buildings in Mountain View. I didn’t get very far in this competition because I was outmatched by players like my colleague who sat at the desk across from me. He trained at Bollettieri Tennis Academy (now IMG). As LinkedIn’s growth exploded, that tennis court was replaced by a new office building, and that colleague is now the CEO.

I was introduced to Doubletake bags in 2019 when everyone, I mean everyone, I knew started carrying one. By this time I was playing tennis three to four times a week and was a truly serious tennis player. My tennis friends raved about the bags. There’s a special pocket for a can of balls! It stands up by itself! The backpack design makes biking to the courts easy! It fits two racquets! While I agreed the bags looked stylish and came in all sorts of pretty colors, I didn’t need one. I already had a backpack tennis bag, inherited from the pile of my kids’ used sporting equipment in the garage.

This backpack was an official tennis bag, emblazoned with the name of a tennis brand that I have never owned. It had a large, main compartment for all of my gear, and I always eventually found my keys buried somewhere in there. This traditional bag was likely designed before cell phones existed, so there definitely was not a pocket for a phone. Just throw it in that central cavern, and again, in due course I’ll get my hands on it. 

I started playing pickleball during the pandemic. Not news, of course, since every racquet-wielding athlete set up a makeshift court in the driveway and played while sheltering-in-place. I certainly didn’t need a pickleball bag because I wasn’t going anywhere.

Eventually we all got back to our familiar routines, and one day I saw a tennis player with the exquisite Parisii. I instantly knew it was a Doubletake bag even though it wasn’t shaped like a backpack. The designated place for a water bottle and those nifty zippers stand out. I had to take a closer look and was amazed by the decorative patterned interior! A pocket for your phone! A pocket for your keys! Actually, pockets for anything you might bring to the courts: snacks, sunscreen, balls, Band-Aids, sunglasses, visors. Previously, I didn’t think that your bag matters. But now I understood that there was a whole bag world I had been missing where there are perfectly-sized pockets for sweaty wristbands. I wanted one of those bags, desperately. But I didn’t need one. I had a trusty hand-me-down backpack that worked just fine. 

Ah, but my birthday was coming up, and I could make life easy for my husband. I’ve learned over the years that if there is something I want, I need to be specific. Very specific. Left to his own devices, my husband plans exciting excursions to celebrate my big day. A magic show. A regional competition of college acapella groups. (I’m not kidding). A Lady Gaga concert. Ok, that was amazing. 

I ogled all of the bags on the Doubletake website, tortured by indecision. Did I want classic navy with a pop of watermelon-colored zippers? Go pristine white? The website says the fabric cleans easily, but how true can that be? (Completely true). I finally decided on a Caribbean Sea blue with zippers the color of tennis balls. I was ecstatic! But what put me over the top was that I didn’t need to drop hints like “this old bag is getting frayed,” or better yet, buy it myself, wrap it up, and place it under the Christmas tree as I have done on other occasions. Right on the same page as my beautiful bag was a button that says Send a Hint. Brilliant! Seconds later my husband received a nudge via email. I got a confirmation page that outlined exactly what this email would say, including a link to “my perfect gift,” from the CEO, Shawna Krasts. 

I’ve known Shawna for 15 years. We’re neighbors. We live less than a mile from our quaint tennis club that’s tucked behind the high school. The next time I saw her at the courts I told her how much I LOVE my bag. I still do. I’ve had it for over a year, and it looks brand new. There’s a special pocket for my keys! And my phone! And my sunglasses! I’m convinced. Your bag matters

I’m thrilled to join Doubletake as Chief Marketing Officer. As a lifelong tennis player and having joined the pickleball craze, racquet sports are an integral part of my life. Exercise, spending time with family and friends, and learning new skills are essential to my definition of a life well-lived. I’m delighted to marry my personal priorities with an incredible professional opportunity to build a brand for athletes. I know that your bag matters, and I can’t wait to convince the world that this statement is true. Shawna and I have nicknamed ourselves the Bryan Brothers of Bags, and we’re excited to make innovative products for stylish athletes. Gentlemen, that’s you too! If you’re carrying pickleball gear around in that free tote from the business conference, this one's for you. I’d love to hear any ideas you have for Doubletake. Feel free to drop a note to meaghan at shopdoubletake.com, and follow our journey on Instagram.

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