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Serving Off the Court: Evelyn Schroedl

At 102 years old, USTA Mid-Atlantic donor Evelyn Schroedl proves that not only is tennis a lifelong sport that can be played at nearly every age, but how supporting tennis can have a lifelong positive impact that can live on for all generations. 

A Baltimore, Md., native, Evelyn was introduced to tennis when her brother-in-law gave her a tennis racquet. Hitting the ball back and forth across the street with him sparked an interest in the sport. It wasn’t until 1997, when she retired from the workforce, that she started taking tennis lessons. Evelyn says “I always wished I started much earlier.”

Over the years Evelyn would go on to play on several teams including a successful mixed doubles team. Currently, Evelyn plays doubles at the Northeast Regional Recreation Center (NRRC) near her home in Parkville, Md. 

What Evelyn loves most about tennis is the social aspect and meeting so many different people. For example, once, while at a museum food court in Washington, D.C., she sat at a table with two ladies who excitedly exclaimed, “We know who you are, we play tennis with you!” While Evelyn didn’t immediately recognize them, she reflects on how tennis connects you with so many people that you often find you know someone everywhere you go, even in large metropolitan areas like Baltimore and D.C. Tennis creates a more connected community.

Knowing first hand the positive benefits of tennis and the vital community the sport provides for players of every age, Evelyn is a champion for increasing access to the sport. However, over the years Baltimore lost many of its beloved tennis courts – the very places where people can learn the sport and connect with one another. Now, there are only a handful of places left to play. The impact of the loss of courts is felt the most in underserved communities across the city because it is one less opportunity for adults and youth to have a safe place to play, de-stress and come together. 

Upset by the dwindling amount of courts in the Baltimore area Evelyn went into action. 

First, she donated a new tennis facility to her alma mater and former employer, Goucher College. In 2019, Goucher broke ground on The Evelyn Dyke Schroedl ’62 Tennis Center. Twelve new, outdoor tennis courts will replace the eight that had been there and the courts will be the home to the Goucher College Men’s and Women’s Tennis Teams and will be open to the surrounding community for public use.

Second, Evelyn donated to the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section. She knew that by giving to the USTA Mid-Atlantic, she was helping communities in the region like Baltimore, enhance lives through tennis, and that her donation supports increased access to the sport for all. 

When asked why she donated, Evelyn simply replies “because I could.”

While the COVID- 19 Pandemic has us sidelined, Evelyn is no stranger to situations like these. She survived the Spanish Flu in 1918 and looks at the current COVID pandemic as a nice break from everyday life. 

“I am not unhappy about the quarantine; I am very happy because I am doing things I have not done in a long time!” Evelyn spends her time reading, sewing, and watching many old movies. However, Evelyn, like the rest of us in the USTA Mid-Atlantic tennis community, is eagerly awaiting getting back on the courts.

Evelyn is the essence of “serving off the court,” selfless acts that will impact a community and sport that she adores.

Click here to find out how you too can support USTA Mid-Atlantic, a non-profit organization to make an impact on our region through the power of tennis.

Serving off the Court: Trinh Banks

For tennis players in the Mid-Atlantic region, making a difference starts on the tennis courts where players find themselves building character and a strong sense of community through the sport. But often among our tennis community, there are many players making a difference that reaches far beyond. 

During this unusual time and new normal of social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic, USTA Mid-Atlantic Section is seeing how our tennis community is going above and beyond for others. We are excited to hear about the many ways our tennis family is stepping off the court and impacting our larger communities in the region during this time and want to share these uplifting stories. 

One such player giving back is Trinh Banks.

Trinh is an Annandale, Va., mother of four and USTA Mid-Atlantic member. As a 4.0/4.5 player, Trinh enjoys playing in USTA Leagues because of the community it provides her. League play is her opportunity to not only compete but to hang out with friends. That friendship and camaraderie helped elevate her and her teammates’ games, taking them all the way to USTA 4.5 League Nationals two times. 

Trinh Banks_Mask production
Mask Production

However, with league play on hold and social distancing in place, Trinh decided to focus her energy on giving back to the Mid-Atlantic community – and even beyond –  by sewing cloth masks and donating them.

Trinh started making masks by taking personal requests. With materials that she had on hand, she began sewing the masks and sending them to her friends and family who work in the healthcare industry. Then, using Facebook, she started donating them wherever there was a need, including sending her masks to Mississippi, Chicago, and New York City – a coronavirus hot spot.

When Mary Washington Hospital launched the 5,000-mask challenge, Trinh did not hesitate to participate. Her tennis friends jumped in as well by donating some of the materials for the masks. Trinh, with the support of her tennis friends, has contributed to the 1,600 masks that Mary Washington has received so far.

Trinh has made more than 100 masks. Now, she has added sewing surgeons caps as well. She recently shipped 30 caps to a nurse from Orlando, Fl., who is currently serving on the frontlines in New Orleans, La.

Trinh Banks_Masks to hospital workers

“I saw a need about the PPE. I have a skill and I wanted to help in any way that I can,” said Banks.

For Trinh, sewing is a family affair and she learned the skill from her parents. Her mom was a seamstress and her dad was a tailor. Trinh continues the family tradition by using this time to teach her four children, whose ages range between 8 and 12, how to sew. They’ve had an active role in helping her make the masks and are contributing in the act of kindness. In addition to having extra little hands to help, Trinh says she also uses this time to teach her kids skills that include math, planning, and preparation through sewing.

When asked for her advice on getting involved and giving back during the pandemic, particularly if you lack sewing skills, she says,  “There are different ways to contribute. One way is to donate materials such as pipe cleaners, cloth, and elastics. Another way is to pre-cut the materials and send them to someone sewing masks. Any little bit helps.”

USTA Mid-Atlantic is proud of the impact that our members are having on our community. Let us know how you or your tennis friends are going above and beyond for others and making a difference during the coronavirus pandemic by dropping us a message on social media.

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