Lively Action at Doubles Tennis
Tennis continued at the Stickney Tennis Center Friday, August 7. Participants in the tennis doubles competition once again had great weather -- sunny and warm with light breezes. The conditions and the facility, made possible by contributions from the Stickney family and dedicated in 1993, made for lively competition.
Doubles involved regular scoring in an eight-game ProSet, win by two games rules format. A twelve-point tiebreaker settled ties occurring at eight games. Organization at the event was superb with the brackets and court assignments clearly posted. Twelve courts were available for play with seating for spectators in abundance. Canopies were set-up for the participants seeking relief from the sun.
The teams took on a new look due to rules changes for 1998 which required members of a team to be from the same state. Prior to 1998 pairings could consist of individuals from different states. Thus, many of the sixteen men's, six womens and sixteen mixed doubles teams were playing together for the first time.
One of the new pairings included the Team Michigan's Karen Barker (kidney transplant from her sister in 1976) and Sandy Webster (first kidney transplant in 1976 from her sister; and a second in 1995 from her husband). Karen, a veteran of eight Games, and Sandy had played together in only two tournaments prior to their 1998 Games appearance. Karen has seen the Games grow tremendously over the years and finds herself in a mentor's role with first time athletes. Barker's enthusiasm for the Games has not diminished over the years; and, she extended her thanks to the tennis organizing committee for a really well run tourney.
The second oldest competitor in the Games, Jerry Friedman (kidney transplant - two and a half years), is participating in the men's and mixed doubles. Jerry and his 37 year old partner, both from the Cleveland area, played together only once prior to the Games.Friedman brought his own cheering section consisting of all eight grandchildren.
Although the competition was hopping and lively, the camaradarie before and during each of the matches was very much in evidence as shown by the funfilled verbal interplay and was equalled only by the heartwarming congratulations and hugs following match conclusion.