Monday, October 15, 2012

FGCU Tennis Eagles Fly in Fort Myers Community

Coach C.J. Weber welcomes fans

In this day and age, I really appreciate people who put their money and or time where their mouths are, and C.J. Weber, FGCU Men’s Tennis Coach, and his players are certainly doing that.

Standing room only crowd at Grandezza
Earlier this year, C.J. told me that he wanted the team to be more involved in the community and vice versa, and he was willing to do what it took to make that happen. I gotta tell ya, that the man and his troops are walking the talk!

Justin's Place clients at FGCU
On Friday October 5, the Eagles hosted a clinic for with over 20 participants enrolled in Justin’s Place, “a faith-based nine-month program incorporating the 12 Steps and their biblical comparisons (using Celebrate Recovery core curriculum that helps clients overcome their hurts, habits, and hang-ups).” Justin's Place Recovery Program is just one of the programs offered and administered by St. Matthews House, a faith-based charitable organization serving Naples, Immokalee and Bonita Springs.

Lanny Kalpin welcomes
C.J. Weber & Eagles
Yesterday, the Eagles took their community consciousness to The Club at Grandezza, a Stock Development community just down the street from the FGCU campus. There, the team held practice and displayed their prowess in singles and doubles exhibitions for the standing-room-only crowd that gathered at the invitation of tennis director, Lanny Kalpin.

Zach Blythe hits some
From the number of questions about the team that I tried to field from the crowd, along with the comments I heard, the team’s effort was greatly appreciated. Perhaps the most appreciative members of the crowd were Zach Blythe and his parents, Larry and Tina. Asked about their experience, Larry responded, “We did enjoy yesterday, immensely, and are excited about becoming a traveling fan club for the FGCU Tennis team.”

Zach & Mike Beiler
A great part of their enjoyment was generated by Michael Beiler, a sophomore Eagle who, upon request, agreed to hit for a few minutes with Zach. Asked about his contribution, Beiler, answered, “I wish I would have had the opportunity Zach did yesterday when I was his age.” And as for making Zach’s day, Beiler responded, “I enjoyed it.”

It was an opportunity that Zach certainly appreciated. The young tennis fanatic had the following to say about his experience: “It was a great experience for me to hit with someone of his caliber—he really smacks the ball! Being on the court helped me realize that this is something that I definitely would like to do.”

News-Press Publisher Mei Mei Chan and
Husband Randy Kirk in the crowd
Working with rehab clients, inspiring teenagers…I think that’s walking the talk. The Eagles did that on tennis court at the Fall Invitational, and they are doing it in their community. That’s the kind of walk I can get fully behind. How about you? If supporting the Eagles in their on and off-court endeavors is something you are interested in doing, there’s a meeting scheduled for Wednesday, November 14 at Alico Arena at 5pm, and you can be a part of something special that’s blossoming in Southwest Florida. Drop me an email if the notion tickles your fancy. Go Eagles! Game, set, match…T. A.

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