By: Pamela K. Matura, Executive Director, Area Agency on Aging District 7
July 9, 2012
Portsmouth is home to Tennis Champions, the undefeated 3.0 District League Champions from the Portsmouth Tennis Academy. This team of twelve ladies range in age from their 20s to their 70s. Many of these ladies began playing as 2.0 players just a few years ago and have progressed to the 3.0 level quickly. Interestingly, the team also contains a wide variation of players: Moms, Grandmas, Aunts, retired and working professionals, one Grandma and Granddaughter team, and even some area tennis coaches! Most important, though, is what this team contains that makes it a winning tennis team.
This team of twelve ladies contains a very real friendship and camaraderie that has made their team exceptionally strong and resilient. Their undefeated status as a team is at least partly because they are so supportive and encouraging to one another. For example, during their last season, the team had no forfeits, simply because the players sacrificed so much to fill in and show up for each other every time they were needed. It is not surprising, then, that they have been victorious over many college level players and against teams who have fought very hard for the privilege of going to the upcoming state championship tournament. Winning the regional league championship by going undefeated in the Ashland, Ky. District Regionals, and earning the rank of No. 1, has enabled this team to advance to the State Championships in Louisville, Ky.The Portsmouth Team is part of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and plays at the 3.0 level. Competing in the USTA is how you get the matches and ratings, Karen Smith, Captain of team said. You can advance at the end of the year according to how well you played. Although our level is 3.0 right now, Smith said, we clearly have players who are playing above this level. USTA ratings start out at 2.0, 2.5, and so on up to 4.5 levels and above, so playing on a 3.0 team usually means you will play some pretty strong matches with really good players. As captain, Smith recruits players, sets up matches and decides who plays each match. According to Smith, working with this team has been a truly rewarding experience. The players are positive, exhibit great sportsmanship and routinely have an exciting and fun time playing matches in various competitions. Each match utilizes eight players with three sets of doubles players and two singles players for each one.
Team players who earned the right to travel to the Louisville State Finals this weekend are: Jodi Wright, Missie Foster, Ruth Singer, Katherine Davis, Diana Michaels, Nancy Jarrells, Terri Laxton-Donally, Emily Sparks, Krista Gohman, Christy Wilcox, Amanda Hedrick and Karen Smith.