Maryland Tennis Team Shows LOVE for Puerto Rico

More than any win or loss on the court, the impact of USTA League tennis in the Mid-Atlantic is underscored by the bonds and friendships created off the court. This idea was certainly evident at the recent Women’s 2.5 National Championship when teams from Maryland and Puerto Rico got to know each other.

After playing a team match against each other, the ladies got to talking and hanging out during the rest of their time in Mobile, Ala. When Mid-Atlantic’s team, captained by Chanhee and Kevin Ro, heard the Puerto Ricans were planning a run to Costco to buy basic supplies to bring back for hurricane relief, the women from Columbia, Md. decided to chip in. They pooled some money – including from team members who hadn’t even made the trip to Alabama – to help the Puerto Rican women buy even more supplies to bring back with them.

Puerto Rico-Maryland Team

The women from Maryland and Puerto Rico together at the player party. Puerto Rico’s captain Johmary Melendez River (center, yellow shorts) is holding an envelope with donated money for more supplies.

This is what tennis is all about – cultivating common bonds, bringing perfect strangers together united through the sport they all love. Whether at a USTA National Championship or on the courts of the local park, you cannot deny that tennis brings people together in extraordinary ways to do extraordinary things. Kudos to Columbia’s 2.5 Women’s team for showing that the impact of tennis extends far beyond the court.

Puerto Rico-Maryland Supplies

A bag of flashlights and batteries the team brought back to support hurricane relief efforts.

This is MAS Tennis: Edward Fitzgerald’s Story

This post is part of a series that tell the stories of how tennis has influenced people’s lives in the Mid-Atlantic Section. Meet Edward Fitzgerald from Waldorf, Md. To share your story or send to someone you know, click here.

Tell us a little about yourself

I’m a 52-year-old male that had a love affair between basketball and tennis but quickly turned my focus in my later years to tennis.  I had never taken a tennis lesson in my life but was always an athlete, so the physical part of the game wasn’t a problem.  What I needed to learn was stroke fundamentals and the mental part of the game.  I played with people who knew how to play and humbled myself to ask what they thought I could work on. Then I went to work hitting against the wall.  I also watched a lot of tennis and just copied what my favor players did (Federer, Agassi).  Eventually I  got my certification and have coached a few winning teams and taught people how to play this beautiful sport that is a sport of a lifetime.  My wife also is a USTA member, and we have played mixed doubles together and gone to a few Sectional Championships.

How has tennis impacted your life?

Tennis gives me a sense of calm and is a stress reliever for me.  Everyone has to have a hobby — that happy place — and tennis is my happy place. In everyday life it helps with problem solving.  How to make a plan and work your plan.  Edward Fitzgerald 1

Recently I had a gentlemen come to me and said I was the reason that he started playing tennis.  He came out to the court and saw me playing one day and told me that I made it look so fun.  As they say, you never know who may be watching.  Since I started coaching and giving lessons, I have had men and women come to me and say, “Thank you for giving me the confidence to expand my game.”  There is nothing more gratifying to me as than helping someone achieve something in this game that I love.

How do you feel when you think about your tennis journey?

I feel a feeling of happiness that I can help anyone learn or improve in their game. When I first started, someone took the time to help me, and I want to do the same for others.

What do you like most about tennis and what keeps you coming back?

The competition, the relationships you build, the keeping in shape part. What keeps me coming back is my love for the sport and the people who play it.  Tennis is a great way to make some long-lasting friends.

Serving Up the Best US Open Watch Party

It’s the end of summer, kids are going back to school, and it is now a faux paus to wear white…EXCEPT ON THE TENNIS COURTS! If you haven’t been keeping track on your calendar, this blog post is here to remind you that it is US OPEN TIME! *cute the confetti and anything New York themed*

US Open Viewing Party 5

As the only Grand Slam tennis championship held in North America, the US Open is the crowned jewel of tennis for every tennis fan in the US. Starting Aug. 24 and lasting through Sept. 12, the great of greats in tennis have traveled from all over the world to compete in NY. Thousands of people will take off work and travel from afar just to witness the two-week long tennis-centric atmosphere that surrounds New York City.

But what about the rest of us those who are not traveling to New York? Us hard workers who must balance our love for the sport with our dedication to our work? Those of us who have families that DEPEND on us? WHAT ABOUT US?! HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO CELEBRATE?!

The answer, my friends, is simple.

It’s time to host a PARTAY!

US Open Viewing Party 6

To make sure that you host the US Open of parties, we have pulled together some tips on how you can serve up the best viewing party in the Section.

  1. Everyone will come for the food.

Even though you think your party is all about the tennis, it’s not. Everyone knows that the most important part of any party is the food!

US Open Viewing Party 1

To ensure that you provide the best possible viewing experience, make sure to stock up on lots of different snacks and treats. Since the US Open is hosted in New York, there is no better time to invest in foods you would probably never expect to see on the same table. Some ideas for New York cuisine include NY style pizza, roasted nuts, bagels, cheesecake and pastrami sandwiches.

  1. It’s all about tennis until…commercials.

US Open Viewing Party 2

Even though everyone will come mostly for the tennis (and the food), don’t forget to fill in lulls in play with some tennis themed games. A favorite of ours in Tennis BINGO. It’s easy to create your own cards and allows party-goers to watch AND play at the same time.  Some Bingo space ideas include Netcord Winner, Fans are told to be quiet but keep cheering anyway, A service game lasts more than eight minutes, and Ballperson makes amazing catch.

  1. Cookies are already round…so are cakes, and cupcakes, and lollicakes, and…

US Open Viewing Party 3

What better way to take advantage of delicious sweets being round than decorating them for a tennis viewing party! Tennis has never been so sweet. The internet has 50.4 million (which coincidentally is the same number as the US Open prize amount this year) different ways to decorate your sweets so that they are not just delicious, but also are appropriately clothed. Trust us, desserts taste better when they are dressed for the occasion. Also, they are great dancers.

  1. Honey, I…drank all the honey deuces.

US Open Viewing Party 4

The US Open wouldn’t be one of the best events of the year if it didn’t have its own drink! The official drink of the US Open is the Honey Deuce topped with a honey dew (get it?!) garnish. It is delicious, sweet, refreshing, and just what your party-goers need to wash down all the salty NY foods and sugary tennis desserts you are serving.

Is your viewing party family friendly? Serve up Honey Deuce mocktails by substituting the Chambord with a splash of raspberry flavored syrup and skipping the vodka.

Helen Li is the development & engagement manager at USTA Mid-Atlantic. She will happily be watching the Finals at Not Your Average Joe’s enjoying some cheesecake and/or pizza!

This is Mid-Atlantic Tennis: Anastasia Cope’s Story

This post is part of a series that tell the stories of how tennis has influenced people’s lives in the Mid-Atlantic Section. Meet Anastasia Cope from Reston, Va. To share your story or send to someone you know, click here.

After having my daughter, I left active military service and moved to Northern Virginia. Like most moms, I searched for an activity for my daughter to be involved in – and boy did we try everything –Tae Kwon Do, Ballet, horseback riding, figure skating and of course soccer. NOTHING would stick!

Then about two years ago I enrolled her in a Fairfax County Parks and Recreation weeklong tennis day camp, and she fell in love. She wanted to play every day… so that is what we did! I had dabbled in tennis a bit growing up, but never got fully involved. So I decided to find tennis lessons for ‘old people’ and took them so that she would have someone to hit with.

Fast forward 3 years, and she has been playing #1 Singles for her Catholic school team. She also played USTA Junior Team Tennis and just got back from a week of tennis camp at held at the United States Naval Academy.

Finding tennis has brought my daughter and me closer. It has given her a passion and encouraged me to be more fit. Additionally, tennis has given us an opportunity to spend time together. Whether we hit balls back and forth, watch tournaments on the Tennis Channel or attend matches in person ( e.g. Washington Kastles, or Citi Open), the best part is that we do it together.

Tennis has truly brought us closer, and allowed my daughter to blossom. It really is a family activity, and the family that plays together, stays together!

To find information about the Junior Team Tennis league in your area, click here.

Sportsmanship Highlights at League Championships

“People  Tennis players rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they’re doing” –Dale Carnegie

Okay, so Dale Carnegie wasn’t specifically talking about tennis players when he said that quote, but it can certainly apply to the tennis court! Every tennis player knows how much more fun a match can be when their partner or opponent is having a good time. Sportsmanship is infectious! Throughout the summer, we’ll be highlighting adult and junior players who are recognized for their sportsmanship at an event. First up are the Mixed 18 & Over Regionals.

Virginia Mixed 18 & Over Regionals

Wayne Motley of Richmond was nominated by his opponents for being so much fun to play with; we caught it on video!

Monty Stanford and Donna Bearman were also recognized and awarded sportsmanship pins for their great attitudes on the court!

Sportsmanship Photo

Maryland Mixed 18 & Over Regionals

The following players were nominated for their outstanding sportsmanship:

Dave Madsen (Frederick): “Dave was friendly and good-spirited when there was a lot of tension and drama on the court next to us with our teammates playing. He definitely eased the tension and made the match more fun!”

Corinna Dragulescu and Erik Avart (Columbia/Howard): “Super nice!”

Rob Collins (Carroll): “Outstanding sportsmanship, very nice”

Linda Blaine and Tom Walsh (Anne Arundel): “Very fair calls, first serves on lets, very nice during changeovers, congratulated us and wished us luck the rest of the tournament, came over and gave us fresh strawberries afterward!”

Wayne Trivette (Frederick): “A ball came on the court and he could have called let, but said it did not affect their play, so he gave us an ace.”

Matt Modderno (Anne Arundel): “Was very fair and congratulated everyone on good shots and points”

Scott Schiller (Frederick) – nominated 3 times! “Reversing incorrect line calls even in a third set tiebreak”

Michael Knowles (Columbia): “Good attitude at all times”