Thursday, March 31, 2016

EVENTS CLOSING OUT MEMORABLE FORT MYERS 2015-16 TENNIS SEASON

FGCU Flying High
Men's Tennis Roster
Photo courtesy of FGCU website
I hate to miss such tremendous college tennis right in my own backyard, but I have only made it to a couple home dates thus far in Florida Gulf Coast University’s (FGCU) campaign to defend their A-Sun Men's Tennis Conference title. Last season’s run was historic, and just about everything Coach C. J. Weber and his guys does from here on out will only add to the historic heights the program has reached.

Lucas Vaz tasting victory
Photo courtesy of FGCU website
This Saturday, April 2 at 6pm at the FGCU campus, the Eagles will try to take their undefeated home record this season up a tick to 8-0. I’m laying odds on our Eagles to get the job done against the Spartans of University of South CarolinaUpstate (USCU). The Eagles will have another chance to pad their record next week as they battle Stetson at home on Saturday, April 9 at 6pm. As I look over Coach Weber’s latest email, I see that I’m not really doing the Eagles justice here.

Coach Weber Chillin'
Coach Weber, in his emailed reasons to come out and break records this Saturday, wrote, “We’re going streaking!!! And by that, I mean we have several streaks alive and on the line this coming Saturday. We have a 15 match regular season conference match winning streak, dating back to March 14th, 2014! We have an overall winning streak of 11 in the conference, including the conference tournament; dating back to April 19th, 2014. And we have not lost a match in the NEST since February 28th, 2015…this gives us a home match winning streak 12. So help us defend the NEST one more time this year, and keep all these streaks alive!”

CJ & Andres Alfonso
Photo courtesy of FGCU website
If you need a little more incentive, in addition to the terrific tennis you’ll see, Saturday is Coach Weber’s birthday AND it is Country Club Day. That means the club with the most members in attendance will win a free exhibition from the FGCU men's tennis team, and those are a ton of fun. I’ve been to a couple. Oh, and it costs you absolutely nothing to watch our A-Sun conference champions do their thing.

Hank Jungle Memorial
Hank Jungle
You may not have known Hank Jungle, but those who did know him know that he was not only a uniquely effective tennis coach, but also as iconic a tennis character as Fort Myers has seen. That unique character is being celebrated at the 5th Annual Hank Jungle Memorial Tennis Benefit at Cypress Lake Country Club on Sunday, April 10, beginning at 8:30am. Hank’s teaching is responsible for some of the better games in town (right Dawg, Jonas?), and his legacy lives on in his students.

Terry See
Terry See, Cypress’ Director/Head Tennis Professional is serving up some treats at the event. Women’s and Men’s Pro-Ams ($75), where participants will have the thrill of teaming with members of Florida Gulf Coast University’s (FGCU) men’s and women’s tennis teams; rated doubles tourneys for women and men ($35); and exhibition play by FGCU players. 

Hank in action
Hank’s widow, Patsy Jungle, a character in her own right, will be on hand to preside over the proceedings. It sure sounds like a blast to honor an individual who had a blast on the tennis court whether he was playing or teaching.

Proceeds from the event will be earmarked for FGCU’s tennis programs and court sponsors ($250) are welcomed. Yep, your participation will contribute to that award-winning program in your own backyard. Contact Terry at (239) 851-6663 or terry@cypresslakecc.com for additional information.

Steve Shortridge Celebration of Life
Steve Shortridge
A few days later, Saturday April 16, from 4 – 7pm, Colonial Country Club will host another memorial, this one for recently departed and legendary Tennis Professional Steve Shortridge. 

There are so many stories to tell about Steve that it would take far more than three hours to tell them. But the event at Colonial will give those of us who admired, respected, and loved Steve an opportunity to celebrate who he was and how he contributed to our lives. So many of my students tell me that they got their start in the game with Steve and Lanny Kalpin at Oasis. I’m looking forward to that event!

Tennis for a Better Life Racquet Drive
Paul Segodo in Benin
Photo courtesy of TFABL website
While I’m at it, I need to mention that Paul Segodo, Director of Tennis at Palmira Golf & Country Club and founder of Tennis for a Better Life (TFABL), a non-profit organization that seeks to uplift children through tennis, is promoting a racquet drive. Tennis has lifted Paul to the life he now leads and he, through TFABL (or “Too Fabulous” as I think of it), is doing the same thing for others. Although this is called a racquet drive, if you have shoes, grips, and/clothing that can still be used, please contact Paul at tfbl@tennisforabetterlife.org.

I can’t wait to get enough time and energy to do a season recap. It has been some season for us at The Hideaway and I imagine for all of you wherever you’ve played. So many kudos, so little time! Keep an eye out though; I’m determined to do what I can to pay this season, and the people who have made it so rewarding, ample tribute. Until then, game, set, match….T. A.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

HIDEAWAY TENNIS 2015-16 MID-SEASON UPDATE

Jeff Wilson
We’ve crossed the halfway mark of the 2015-16 season, and tennis continues to thrive at The Hideaway Country Club. Things look good for the future of tennis at The Hideaway, as new General Manager/COO Jeff Wilson, a PGA Professional, seems to be very supportive of Hideaway Tennis.

Head Golf Professional Sean Balliet
While it isn’t yet time to break ground for the new clubhouse, tree clearing has begun and there’s a new, open look to the area that’s growing on me. Before diving into our tennis activities, I’d like to say, “Thank you” to golf staff members Sean Balliet, Dave Bartoe, John Kuchaes and Justin Lookhart for all they do to help us keep tennis rolling smoothly along.

ROUND ROBINS
Rick Walker & Bill Holzheuer
Since almost all of the women who love the game are playing multiple times per week on Hideaway women’s teams, there hasn’t been a women’s round robin this season. However, the Men’s Round Robin has started to roll, filling two, sometimes three, courts on Tuesday and Friday mornings.

Jerry Dohring & Jim Body
A few of our former stalwarts, Bill Dey and Norm Acheson have not been able to participate (condolences to Norm on his loss), but we have some newcomers filling their ample shoes.

Yves Paquette
Among the perennial attendees at the men’s round robin are Tennis Association/Committee President Bill Holzheuer, Yves Paquette, Jim Body, Richard Walker, Jerry Dohring, Tom Schwalbach, Bob Ostrom, Bill Cross, and Bob Summers.

TEAMS REPORT
Our 3.0-Minus team, Co-Captained by Jane Hill and Terri Turner, has had a tough go of it during the first half of the season, and sits in 10th-place in a division of 11 teams. However, like our other teams, our 3.0-
Minus ladies have had a modicum of success in recent matches. Prior to their match on January 15, the team hadn’t won more than two individual matches in any of their previous nine team matches.

Vivian Landis & Paula Barry- over 170 years of experience
The team had its moment to shine three matches ago, as they took all four courts for the first and only time this season. Again like our other teams, match tiebreaks have been our downfall. We’ve lost eight of the twelve match tiebreaks we’ve played, but we have won two of the last three. Do you believe in silver linings? Well I do, and I suspect our record in match tiebreaks will even out over the final eight matches of the season.

Terri Turner & Lawanna Hulfeld
Lawanna Hulfeld leads the way for our 3.0-Minus team with a 5-3 record, and iron woman Terri Turner has posted a 6-5 record, playing on Courts 1 and 2. Together the two have notched a 4-2 record, making them our most successful 3.0-Minus duo. 

Captain Jane Hill & Pat Ben-Dov
Here's an example of the moxie Terri and Lawanna show. With all the rain and makeup matches, our 3.0-Minus and Bronze team members (almost 100% overlap) had to play four matches in five days last week. Lawanna and Terri
Angela Middleton & Lynne Price in foreground
Vivian & Paula in background
lost a first-set tiebreak and were down 0-1 in the second set when the rain came in their makeup match on Saturday. They came out to finish the match today (Tuesday), won the second set 7-5, and took the match tiebreak. Way to go ladies!

Ann Stevens in foreground, Zdenka Fiala in background
Ann Stevens may not show a winning record as Terri and Lawanna do, but what she does show is a winning attitude. Ann has played in all 12 team matches, each on Courts 1 or 2, despite carrying just a 2.5 rating. This is in addition to the eight matches she has played on the Bronze team. I haven’t heard her complain once!

Lee Cross in foreground, Ann in background
To give you an idea of Ann’s character, in our most recent Bronze match, Ann teamed with Lee Cross (a long-time Hideaway resident) on Court 2. They won a close first set, and jumped out to a 4-1 lead before the other team caught up and took the lead. 

Sheri Marks about to serve with Maria Mosco ready
Ann and Lee fought to get the match to a tiebreak, and they were playing their first match point, when Ann went for a ball, tweaked her trick knee, and fell. She hobbled to her feet, and on the next point, crushed a forehand winner down the line to clinch the match. They don’t come any grittier than Ann!

Other team members who display tremendous heart and show up day in and day out to battle women often 30 years younger (in some cases 50+ years younger! We have at least three octogenarians and one nonagenarian on the roster) include Angela Middleton, Lynne Price, Maria Mosco, Pat Ben-Dov, Paula Barry (Hideaway resident) Sheri Marks, Vivian Landis (Hideaway resident) and Zdenka Fiala. 

Two long time Hideaway residents:
Paula Barry & Vivian Landis
Unfortunately, we’ve lost Zdenka’s valuable skills due to injury for at least a few more matches, and Vivian is hanging up her racquets as she turns 90 next month. I’m sad that I won’t be boasting that we have nonagenarian who is the second fastest player on the team. Our 3.0-Minus team plays its next home match on Thursday, February 11 at 10:30am.

Our Bronze ladies (led by Captain Pat Ben-Dov and Co-Captain Rennie Bassett) have won nine of 16 individual matches in their four most recent team matches, after having lost nine of 12 individual matches in their previous three team matches.  Lee Cross (a Hideaway resident) and Ann Stevens have proven to be a dynamic duo, winning all four of their matches in that stretch and losing only once in the five total matches they have played together.

Lee Cross & Ann Stevens
Lee and Ann alternate playing first and second positions with Terri Turner and Lawanna Hulfeld, another tough twosome who have also been a force to be reckoned with the first half of the season. Terri and Lawanna have posted a 4-2 record in first and second positions, and are riding a two-match win-streak. 

Lawanna & Terri
Our top performers in terms of wins posted thus far this season are Ann Stevens and Lawanna Hulfield, both having posted 6-2 individual-match records. Lee Cross has won four of the five matches she has played since her 
return from the north. Captain Pat Ben-Dov (3-2) and Terri Turner (4-3) have also posted winning records this season. Terri has amassed her winning record while playing in first position five of the seven times she has played.

Co-Captain Rennie Bassett with Jane Hill
Other team members who have made valuable contributions to the team include Vivian Landis and Paula Barry (both Hideaway residents), along with Co-Captain Rennie Bassett, Lynne Price, Sheri Marks, Jane Hill, Jo Thornton, and Maria Mosco.

Jo Thornton & Sheri Marks
Match tiebreaks have been the theme of our season, and our Bronze ladies have played 14 match tiebreaks in their 10 team matches thus far, winning four of the 14. Three of those four wins have come in our last three matches, so there is hope for us yet. 

Bronze Captain Pat Ben-Dov
The team has five matches yet to play, so there’s plenty of time to improve upon our 7th-place (of 16 teams) position. Our next Bronze home match is tomorrow, Wednesday Feb. 10 at 9:30am.

Agi Kelemen, Laurie Stanley, Co-Captain Jami McCormick,
Betsy Barnwell, Gale Caron, Amy Russo, T. A., Gwen Burdzy
Martha Carlisle, Christine Paraboschi, Tonya Sammons
Not pictured is Captain Debbie Vollrath, Barb Saling,
Kathy O'Rourke, Michelle Henke, Tina Willard
Our 3.5-Minus ladies have won 11 of their past 12 individual matches, and taken 70 of the possible 78 points in sweeping two of the three most recent team matches played. The two teams our 3.5-Minus ladies swept were among the top ten teams in the Division when we played them.

Amy Russo & Co-Captain Jami McCormick
supporting their teammates
In their most recent match, our ladies took all four courts from Renaissance (5th at match time, 6th after our win), a team that had only lost two previous matches, both to teams in the top five of the Division. Renaissance had only been swept one time in their prior eight matches.

Jami & Agi Kelemen
Our 3.5-Minus ladies have played 13 match tiebreaks in their 10 matches, and have won just five of those deciding tiebreaks. But things appear to be looking up for us, because four of those five tiebreak-wins have come in the last three matches played, after having lost the previous seven tiebreaks! Co-Captain Jami McCormick has been involved in three of those five tiebreak victories, teaming with Amy Russo in two of them and with Tina Willard in the other.

Tonya Sammons & Christine Paraboschi
Regardless of wins and losses, thrillers or heartbreakers, our 3.5-Minus team shares a level of camaraderie I haven’t often seen among teams with players vying for playing time. With 16 players on the roster, all wanting to be in on the action every week, it is pretty amazing how well our ladies function together.

Tina Willard is leading the team with wins, going 5-3 thus far, with Jami (4-3) and Gale Caron (3-2) also posting winning records.  Betsy Barnwell has been a team workhorse, playing primarily on first (6 times) and second courts and still posting a 4-4 record. Amy Russo shares the burden on Courts 1 and 2 with Betsy and Jami, posting a 3-3 record on those tough courts.

Barb Saling & Gwen Burzdzy
Other team members that have made valuable contributions in multiple matches include Christine Paraboschi, Gwen Burdzy, Laurie Stanley, Agi Kelemen, Tonya Sammons, Barb Saling, Kathy O’Rourke, Martha Carlisle, and Michelle Paquette. 

Tina Willard & Captain Debbie Vollrath
Unfortunately, Captain Debbie Vollrath and Michelle Henke have not been able to participate much this season, and we have lost the considerable talents of Michelle Paquette, so the team will have to climb the division ladder without their valuable contributions.

Laurie Stanley & Gwen Burdzy 
The 3.5-Minus team, currently 10th (of 17 teams) in the standings, faces three matches in a row against teams currently ranked in the top five, before closing out the season with three matches against teams in the lower echelon of the Division. Their next home match will be played against Lexington Country Club (currently 5th) on Wednesday February 24th at 9:30am.

The ladies of our Silver team have to be commended for their perseverance in the face of tall odds.  We began with a small roster and it gets smaller as the season progresses. Most of our Silver ladies have put themselves on the line every week, but a few have been traveling, and suffering from injuries, illness, or… In any event, our Silver ladies have been on the receiving end of numerous tiebreak heartbreaks.

Captain Linda Sisco & Martha Carlisle
Captain Linda Sisco, a Hideaway resident, has had six of her twelve matches end in match tiebreaks, and has emerged victorious in two of those thrillers. Sue Kreikamp, who plays on Court 1 each week, has played in seven matches this season, and four of those matches have ended in match tiebreaks. 

Sue Kreikamp & Michelle Paquette
Sue has a 2-2 record in those clinchers. Martha Carlisle and Michelle Paquette hold the distinction of being our only Silver players to post winning records in match tiebreaks, with the former going 3-2 and the latter sitting at 2-1.

Barb Saling & Elfgard Stolzenberg
Although our Silver team has won just five of the 13 match tiebreaks played, there is some good news to be had. In our last five matches we’ve won four of seven match tiebreaks played, while in our previous seven matches, we had posted a match-tiebreak record of 1-5. Things seem to be looking up a bit, even though we are still in 15th place of 17 teams.

Kathy O'Rourke & Agi Kelemen
Martha Carlisle has posted the most individual match wins with five and Michelle Paquette, another Hideaway resident, has the next highest win total with four.  Kudos must go to Agi Kelemen, Linda Sisco, and Martha Carlisle for playing all 12 matches, and to others like Co-Captain Donna McVety, Barb Saling, Elfgard Stolzenberg, and Kathy O’Rourke for playing while less than 100% so that we wouldn’t have to forfeit more matches than we already have (Thanks for stepping in Jami, Terri!).

Tonya Sammons & Barb Saling
Regardless of our record and the tough circumstances, our Silver ladies give all they have every match and have a good time doing it. Our next Silver home match is this coming Friday February 12, at 10:30am against Fort Myers Racquet Club, a team ranked 4th in the Division.

Well, that’s about it for our mid-season update. Despite the quirky weather, we will continue to enjoy tennis in our southwest Florida paradise at The Hideaway Golf and Country Club. Until next…game, set, match.


Monday, November 9, 2015

WELCOME TO HIDEAWAY TENNIS 2015-16

Vivian Landis & Paula Barry:
Hideaway Residents on Bronze & 3.0-Minus teams
Hello all and welcome to the first report of the 2015-16 season. This season we have 34 non-resident tennis members, 31 of them are ladies on our four Lee County Women’s Tennis League teams. We also have two men and one woman who don’t play on teams, but who have been looking forward to the men’s doubles and mixed doubles round robins. They may be happy to note that we had the first mixed doubles outing this past Saturday (11/7), and I hope we’ll have the men going soon.

Captain "Calamity Jane" Hill and Sheri Marks
playing on our 3.0-Minus team
Rick Walker showed for the men’s round robin this past Friday (11/6) but he was the only one to make an appearance. I know that Jim Larva, Bill Dey and Bob Ostrom are around, so hopefully they will come out to join David Ullum and Zdenek Fiala in the near future.  As for the ladies, I think they are pretty much getting all the tennis they can handle with team matches and mixed doubles round robin.

3.0-Minus Co-captain Terri Turner and Ann Stevens
who play on both Bronze & 3.0-Minus teams
Our tennis activity currently revolves around ladies’ team play, and although it’s a bit early to be too concerned with where we are in the standings, two of our ladies teams are off to a good start while the other two have had it rough in the early going. I’m afraid I’m going to have to take some of the responsibility for the rough start, because even though our teams have been competitive in many of the early losses, we haven’t had the tiebreaks go our way. The coach has to take some responsibility for that, no?

Tina Willard and 3.5-minus Captain Debbie Vollrath
fight for the W...and get it
Before going any further, I’d like to send out a sincere note of thanks to our team captains: Linda Sisco, Donna McVety, and Gutte Carr (Silver); Pat BenDov and Rennie Bassett (Bronze); Jane Hill and Terri Turner (3.0-Minus); and Debbie Vollrath and Jami McCormick (3.5-Minus). These ladies have a tough and often thankless job, so I just want to make sure they know that I am grateful for their efforts!

Angela Middleton & Lynne Price in foreground
Vivian & Paula in background
That acknowledged, of the four Hideaway teams in action, our Bronze team is off to the best start as far as wins and losses go. Our Bronze ladies have won one and tied the other in the two team matches played thus far. They have won six of the eight individual matches played, including a sweep of all four individual matches in their most recent match against Legends on 11/4/15.

Our Bronze players have played two tiebreaks (one set tiebreak, the other a match tiebreak) and have lost them both. Those tiebreak losses resulted in one of the two individual match losses the team has recorded. , However, Hideaway Bronze currently sits in a tie for 3rd-place, and the next home match is Wednesday December 2 at 9:30am.


Hideaway resident Michelle Paquette teams
with Betsy Barnwell to claim victory
in 3.5-Minus match
Our 3.5-Minus team is also off to a good start, sitting in 6th-place after two team matches, and winning four of the eight individual matches played. Of the four matches we have lost, we have played three tiebreaks (two seven-pointers, one 10-pointer) and have lost them all. If you are counting, that adds up to five tiebreaks played and five tiebreaks lost! Betsy Barnwell and Tina Willard have led the way thus far for the 3.5-Minus team with two wins each. Our 3.5-Minus team plays at home next on Wednesday, November 18, at 9:30am.

Barb Saling & Gwen Burdzy in 3.5-Minus match
Our 3.0-Minus team has come up a bit short in three of our first four matches, but things are looking up as we took two of the four individual matches in our most recent match (11/5/15) against Cape Coral Yacht Club on hard courts, definitely not our favorite surface. As with our 3.5-Minus team, we have been competitive in many of the matches we have lost, but have lost five of the seven tiebreaks played (that’s a total of 10 losses in 12 tiebreaks!). 

Co-captain Terri Turner claimed one match tiebreak win with Lawanna Hulfeld against CCYC, and Lynne Price and Maria Mosco closed out a win against Lexington with a second-set-tiebreak win. Our next 3.0-Minus home match takes place this coming Thursday, November 12, at 10:30am.

3.5-Minus team member and Tommy Carlisle watch first
3.5-Minus home match
The going has been rough for our shorthanded Silver team in the early going, losing our first three matches and having won just two of the 12 individual matches played. Playing two top-ten teams hasn’t helped our cause either, especially playing the No.2 team on their home hard courts. Despite the difficult start, our Silver ladies still approach each match with enthusiasm and give it all they have…

Kathy O'Rourke & Laurie Stanley support
their 3.5-Minus teammates
Oh, and they have a .500 record in tiebreaks, having won one and lost one. Martha Carlisle and Agi Keleman posted a match-tiebreak win against Rutenberg Aces on their hard courts in the second match of the season.  We should have a good shot at doing well in our next match, although it too is on hard courts and we won’t field a full team as a result. Our next Silver home match is Friday, December 11, at 10:30am. In support of their efforts, I can only ask that they keep the faith and continue to enjoy playing the game regardless of outcomes.


Before I close, let me remind you that you can reserve court time at usptaplayer.com and can access Hideaway information such as team rosters and match schedules, meeting minutes, Tennis Handbook etc. with the following link (http://1drv.ms/1L1Uphy).  If you don’t have or know your login information for usptaplayer.com please let me know and I’ll do what I can to assist. Until next, welcome to the 2015-16 Hideaway Tennis season, and I’ll see you around the courts.