Tennis A Sport For Everyone To Enjoy

For a long time tennis has been my favorite sport....I have good  tennis friends and teammates and have many fun-filled memories of our tennis trips to tournaments throughout the Missouri Valley. Plus of course several trips to USTA National Tournaments.

I have been playing tennis for over 47 was my "physical therapy" after having a stroke at age 25.  "Physical Therapy" was not as easy to find as it is now.

Only Christine, one of our three daughters had any interest in playing tennis, but she was, and still is a very good player.  Her team photo, complete with a huge headfull of blonde hair is on the wall of Burke High School in Omaha, NE.  This was the late 70's, big hair was in style.  Two of her sons, our grandsons,  play on their college tennis team....and their younger brother plays for his high school team.  I can proudly brag that all three of them learned to play tennis on the courts in Meadow Lane Park....about a block from home... and that I was their first tennis teacher!  

Many, many years ago, about 1980, Christine and I played in and won The Equitable Family Challenge tournament held here in Omaha.  We then represented Nebraska in Kansas City, MO where we won the mother/daughter division, thus gaining the honor of representing the Midwest in the Family Challenge held in conjunction with the US Open Tennis Tournament in New York City.  All of the Family Challenge winners from around the United States were housed in the Halloran House Hotel located in the Waldorf Astoria area (where we met the other players in the large ballroom).

We were bused every morning to the National Tennis Center where we had full access to the grounds.  We were face to face with the great players of that time, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Billie Jean King, Rosie Casals, Chris Evert, Hana Mandlikova.  We were able to watch all the matches, stand along the fences at the practice courts and say "good morning" to the players. I picked up one of the practice balls that Rosie Casals had been using and Chris took it home to gave to Jill Garlock, her high school tennis coach..  Later we watched as John McEnroe defeated Bjorn Borg and Chris Evert defeated Hana Mandlikova in the finals.

We were allowed in the players locker room right along with the pros and other Family Challenge players. One of my favorite memories is seeing a sign-up sheet in the laundry room next to the locker room....Chris Evert was scheduled to do her laundry at 9:00 am and several of the other players were also in line to do theirs....yes, they do need to wash their socks, tops and undies, same as everyone else.

Since we had access to the grounds before the general public entered, we saw many of the players wandering around, practicing or just talking to each other.  I noticed a really tall female tennis player and thought to myself, "how on earth can anyone lob over her"  She was head and shoulders taller than the female players she was talking to.  Later I found that the 6' 2" player was Renee Richards.

I wish I could say that Christine and I did well in the tournament, but we lost in the first round.  We played well, but lost to a mother/daughter team from the East Coast.  

We have so many wonderful memories of that ALL EXPENSE PAID trip to New York.