Tag Archives: tennis

A tradition I am thankful for

Tradition - November 20

The U.S. Open
Sean and Eric
(and others some years)

Traci Smith, author of Faithful Families: Creating Sacred Moments at Home has provided a gift of the November 2018 Gratitude Every Day calendar. I am using it as an opportuity to revisit photos and post them as they speak to gratitude.

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Purple flowers, U.S. Open 1

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2 September 2017
USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
New York, New York

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The Until We Meet Again Tour – 2-5 September 2016

The Until We Meet Again Tour played the US Open from Friday evening through Monday night, an exhausting and invigorating schedule. A number of friends and family members sat in during the appearance. The heart of the group was Sean and Eric. Great tennis was viewed. Good times were shared. The renovations at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center were impressive. The new Grandstand became a favorite. It was good to see some matches in Louis Armstrong Stadium. Much food was consumed. The hamburgers came highly recommended and lived up to their billing.

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Arthur Ashe statue

We were in Richmond for Eric’s graduation from Union Presbyterian Theological Seminary. It seemed a moment to view the statue to Arthur Ashe – athlete, author, educator, witness, activist, justice-seeker, and hero of mine for how he played and how he lived and how he faced death.

“The best way to judge a life is to ask yourself, “Did I make the best use of the time I had?”
Arthur Ashe

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4 June 2016
Richmond, VA

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Purple flowers – Arthur Ashe statue

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4 June 2016
Richmond, Virginia

In Richmond for Eric’s graduation from Union Presbyterian Seminary, we went to see the Arthur Ashe statue on Monument Avenue. Purple flowers grew around the base.

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Remembered smiles

I know this day well; I never forget it; it invariably sneaks up on me and grabs me unaware; and when I pause for a moment to reflect, I remember why things feel so raw. After all these years. And then I smile.

People have been posting on Facebook about remembering this day because of the Challenger disaster. I remember that. 

But I remember this day for an event that took place twelve years before the Challenger. An event that also claimed the lives of educators.

Forty years ago this day,  on January 28, 1974, William Koenig climbed into a small plane with another educator from Grove City. They planned a trip to Harrisburg, the state capitol, where they were to advocate for funds for the Grove City Public School system. At the time of his death, Bill worked as the assistant superintendent for the Grove City Public School system. But he was a musician. He played string bass in the pit orchestra for the high school musicals. He directed the town band. He was a tennis player. He was a photographer. He was also a private pilot. Though they had tickets on a commercial airline, the two colleagues decided Bill would fly. The plane went down near Emlenton, Pennsylvania, the crash site only located the next day. When I arrived at JFK a day later, after a college choir trip to Europe, family members met me and broke the news and shattered my heart.

Because grief lasts, I raise a glass to remember loses and acknowledge pains. And because love never ends, I raise a glass to give thanks and to celebrate love shared past, present, and future.  On this anniversary, I raise a glass to William Koenig, to his life, to the time, the far too short time, we shared. To all I learned. To laughter and tears. To music made well and badly. To a multitude of remembered smiles.

Goodnight and joy be with you, Dad.

Goodnight and joy be with us all.

See you along the Trail.

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Purple flowers, U.S. Tennis Center 2

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6 September 2015
U.S. Tennis Center
Flushing, New York

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Purple flowers, U.S. Tennis Center 1

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6 September 2015
U.S. Tennis Center
Flushing, New York

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It was nice

Anyone for tennis, wouldn’t it be nice?

Cream first posed the question in 1968. Today I came up with an answer.

IMG_1165 (800x600)Many, many pounds and long ago, not as long ago as 1968 but long ago nonetheless, I enjoyed playing tennis. I never played competitively but I played regularly. Each evening I would jump on my bike and ride to the Grove City College tennis courts. Perhaps as many as 12 or 15 of us gathered. Our abilities varied, but we would play until dark.

Today – on a day when we held our breath while leaders of the United States pondered whether to attack Syria – on a day when colleagues faced serious illness – on a day when my heart and mind ranged many places – my son Eric and I attended the U.S. Open.

We watched men’s singles, men’s doubles, mixed doubles, women’s singles, and women’s doubles. We saw a bit of everything.

We saw a number of seeds win. And we watched an upset of the top seeded mixed doubles team.

I came to realize that doubles is an amazing, fast-paced, and exciting.

I learned that my old doubles strategy of serving the ball into the back of my doubles partner is not used by any of the top players.

We cheered. We laughed. We wandered through the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

It was nice!

See you along the Trail.

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Purple flowers, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center

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Purple flowers
surround the statue of Arthur Ashe.

30 August 2013
USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
Queens, New York

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