40 years ago we played our first match in the Boy’s 12s Doubles in 1976. A little give and take? No, it was a crushing by the #1 ranked team in the U.S., Palmisano & Livingston out of Albuquerque. But, Joe Ersinghaus and I played again. In our second 12s tourney together in the semi-finals, we were down to two boys from Mexico 0-5 in the third set. We won it in a tie-break, then captured the tournament at Vista Hills in El Paso. My grandma had that trophy in her house for many years.
Today, on a beautiful Sunday at the Diamond Head Tennis Center, I will be going for a gold medal in the Men’s 50s Hawaii Senior Olympics.
What happened in these 40 years of tennis? In a small nut shell:
High School team and singles championships in Arizona with Corona del Sol.
A Coca-Cola Southwest 18s doubles Championship.
A West High Invitational Championship.
NJCAA Championships-Mesa Community College.
NCAA Big Sky Championship-Weber State.
Armed Forces Championships-Army.
Fiesta Bowl Championships.
City of San Diego Final at Balboa Park & Semi-finals in La Jolla Open.
Hawaii State Open Championship. (both father & daughter)
#1 rankings in Southwest, Arizona, Phoenix, Hawaii, Colorado.
Ranked #1 with Wife & Daughter.
Finals with wife, daughter, mom, dad, & brother-in-law.
Finals in California, Florida, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Hawaii, Wyoming, Virginia, Germany.
Played and won in China, Mexico, Yugoslavia, Italy, and Germany.
Defeated Grand Slam finalist & Davis Cup Captain, 2 UCLA All Americans, several nationally ranked players, various Davis Cup players from other countries, #1 Japan Sr. player, #1 China Jr. player, #1 ranked NCAA D-II team, PAC-12 Team #1 Seeds-ASU, PAC-12 #1 Player-UA, took a 6-1 set off a several time #1 world ranked senior player, got the best of some gold ball winners, and even took a couple guys with ATP points along the way.
Coached, volunteered, and officiated as USTA, USPTA, PTR, and Special Olympics. Co-coached with my daughter as she was a PTR apprentice.
I have had the pleasure of playing in over 1000+ finals from 12s to 50s.
Truly: TENNIS-the Sport of a Lifetime.
Thank you Jim Munsil, mom & dad, Brian Cheney, Mike Van Zutphen, Jim Reffkin, Dr. David Porter, Bob Cox, Ahwatukee Racquet Club, Tempe Racquet & Swim Club, Kiwanis Tennis Center-Tempe, Tucson Racquet & Swim Club, El Paso Tennis Club, Friends of Diamond Head Tennis Center, All Army Sports & Colonel Dick Green, Robert Harrison, Jack Blezard, Jerry Hubbard, and of course to our Wang-Beckvall Tennis Academy. And thank you to all I have played, coached, or those that put up with my tirades, rants, and mad antics as partners, foes, directors, or officials (sorry-no sportsmanship awards for me, but I was awarded a commendation from President Clinton for coaching, playing, and volunteering back in the mid 90s).