Day 1 at #theSol Atlanta

#theSolThe weather was perfect (well, a bit warm, but what else is new in July in Atlanta?). The Georgia Gwinnett College courts were newly-refurbished. The players were ready to do battle. A wonderful start to the first #theSol Atlanta tournament brought to you by 10sballs.com and Holabird Sports!

Tournament Director, David Stolle, did a fantastic job of dividing our 24 players into draws that suited their UTR, ensuring the most competitive matches we could hope for in the first two rounds. We wound up with 4 draws: a 4-person round robin draw for the top UTR players (Red Draw), an 8-person compass draw for the next level (White Draw), a 4-person round robin draw for our 3rd group (Blue Draw), and an 8-person compass draw for least-experienced players (Green Draw). Since the players were promised a minimum of 3 matches, most draws played 2 rounds today, though we did have one last-minute withdrawal due to injury and one due to illness which means that our Red Draw and Blue Draw players are only getting 2 matches unfortunately.

One of the coolest things about our tournament is the way the UTRs fell. We wound up with girls and boys competing against one another as well as young junior players competing against college players. What a great experience for these kids!

We also made the executive decision to NOT have officials at this event. Now, with all the discussion around cheating and bad behavior at junior tournaments, you would think this would be a recipe for disaster. Quite the contrary! Every single one of the matches was played without conflict! I gave a little talk at the beginning of the day regarding our expectations. I told the players (and the parents) that we were trusting them to be on their best behavior, to show respect for their opponents, to play fairly and by the rules, and to show respect for my dear friend, Sol. These kids did not disappoint! There were no disputed calls, no racket throwing, no accusations – only fair play with courtesy and exemplary sportsmanship. I was so proud of each and every one of these players!

Click here to view the Day 1 Slideshow

Tomorrow is our final day, and we have some fun things planned. Melanie Oudin will make a personal appearance to meet the kids, sign autographs, and take photos. We have some great gifts from our sponsors which we will give away. We’ll once again provide lunch for the players. And we’ll have a professional photographer on hand to capture all the special moments of the day.

I’m looking forward to seeing these kids compete with heart and joy, just as Sol would’ve wanted. If you’re in the Atlanta area, come on out to Georgia Gwinnett College and join us for another great day of tennis! Matches start at 10am with the last matches scheduled to go on court at 1:30pm.

One last thing . . . a TREMENDOUS thank you to all our sponsors – we couldn’t put on such a great event without them!

  • 10sBalls.com
  • Holabird Sports
  • Steven J Schwartz, MD and the Intensivist Team
  • Judie Schwartz
  • Kassimir Physical Therapy
  • Match! Tennis App
  • Universal Tennis Academy
  • ParentingAces
  • UTR
  • Maller Wealth Advisors
  • Michael Sellman
  • Ilene, Dori, & Evan Schwartz
  • Solinco
  • Dunlop
  • Tennis Trunk
  • Melanie Rubin
  • Voss
  • TournaGrip
  • PNC Bank
  • Summit Group

Day 1 Results

Red Draw (Round Robin)
Gavin Segraves (12.20) d. Luis de la Mano (UTR unknown) 6-0 6-0

White Draw (Compass)
Round 1:
Eli Hagan (8.40) d. Kelli Osajima (9.12) 6-2 6-2
Brenna Reilly (8.50) d. Samantha Birger (6.55) 6-0 6-1
Jake Young (8.43) d. Kiran Gadde (6.24) 6-3 6-1
Taylor Galloway (8.55) d. Jonathan Molner (6.94) 6-2 7-5

Round 2:
Eli Hagan (8.40) d. Brenna Reilly (8.50) 6-3 6-2
Jake Young (8.43) d. Taylor Galloway (8.55) 6-3 7-5
Kelli Osajima (9.12) d. Samantha Birger (6.55) 6-1 6-0
Jonathan Molner (6.94) d. Kiran Gadde (6.24) 6-2 6-2

Blue Draw (Round Robin)
Brent Nieri (5.20) d. Grayson Balloon (5.69) df
Peyton Schuchart (5.94) d. Raines Grassi (5.55) 6-0 6-2
Peyton Shuchart (5.94) d. Brent Nieri (5.20) 6-1 6-1
Raines Grassi (5.55) d. Grayson Balloon (5.69) df

Green Draw (Compass)
Round 1:
McKenzie Oliver (4.71) d. Sydney Balcom (3.80) 6-3 6-3
Matthew Pinto (4.41) d. Chloe Zigliara (3.11) 6-4 6-2
Teja Gadde (4.26) d. Christopher Pinto (3.0)  6-0 6-7 (4) 7-6 (4)
Shek Berry (4.55) d. Clara Balcom (3.58) 6-1 6-2

Round 2:
McKenzie Oliver (4.71) d. Matthew Pinto (4.41) 6-4 6-3
Shek Berry (4.55) d. Teja Gadde (4.26) 6-4 6-0
Chloe Zigliara (3.11) d. Sydney Balcom (3.80) 6-4 6-4
Clara Balcom (3.58) d. Christopher Pinto (3.0) 7-5 6-1

Day 2 Schedule of Play

10am
Cole Brainard (10.97) v. Gavin Segraves (12.20)
Kelli Osajima (9.12) v. Jonathan Molner (6.94)
Brenna Reilly (8.50) v. Taylor Galloway (8.55)
Samantha Birger (6.55) v. Kiran Gadde (6.24)
Chloe Zigliara (3.11) v. Clara Balcom (3.58)
McKenzie Oliver (4.71) v. Shek Berry (4.55)
Sydney Balcom (3.80) v. Christopher Pinto (3.00)
Teja Gadde (4.26) v. Matthew Pinto (4.41)

1:00pm
Eli Hagan (8.40) v. Jake Young (8.43)
Brent Nieri (5.20) v. Raines Grassi (5.55)
Peyton Schuchart (5.94) d. Grayson Balloon (5.69) df

1:30pm
Luis de la Mano (UTR unknown) v. Cole Brainard (10.97)

 

The Sol Schwartz #SaveCollegeTennis All-In Tournament

Sol Schwartz

Listen to this week’s podcast here:

My dear friend, Sol Schwartz, passed away suddenly in March 2016, and a group of us decided to honor his legacy and try to continue his life’s work by creating a very special junior tennis tournament. The inaugural tournament was held in Sol’s hometown of Baltimore in August of 2016. This year, we are excited to expand the tournament to two cities: Atlanta July 17-19 and Baltimore August 12-13.

In this week’s podcast, we hear from others affiliated with the tournament as well as from Sol’s wife, Ilene. My hope is that you’ll feel compelled to sign your junior players up for these tournaments after hearing from them! After all, in what other junior tennis tournament is your child guaranteed 3 matches all for the low cost of $15 per day?

A huge thank you to the tournament sponsors:

10sballs.com
Holabird Sports
The Intensivist Team
Kassimir Physical Therapy
Match Tennis App
Maller Wealth Advisors
Solinco
Dunlop
Tennis Trunk
Universal Tennis Rating
Universal Tennis Academy
Voss Water
Melanie Rubin
Michael Sellman
Ilene, Dori, and Evan Schwartz

For more information on the tournaments, you can visit the following links:
#theSol Atlanta: http://events.universaltennis.com/tournaments/261/
#theSol Baltimore: http://events.universaltennis.com/tournaments/336/
More info on this year’s tournaments: http://parentingaces.com/thesol-year-2/
Info on last year’s tourney: http://parentingaces.com/sol-schwartz-savecollegetennis-all-in-tournament/
Info on Sol: http://parentingaces.com/tribute-to-a-gentle-man/

Check out our latest podcast!

 

Remembering Sol

Photo credit: Melanie Rubin

One year ago today, I got a phone call from my friend, Melanie. Usually, when Melanie calls, it’s to chat and catch up on our kids and our lives. Not this time. This time, Melanie called to deliver some devastating news: that our dear friend, Sol Schwartz, had died.

Sol’s sudden death took everyone by surprise. This man was the poster boy for fitness and healthy living. He worked out religiously, ate well, avoided drugs and alcohol completely, and was one of those people who spread good karma wherever he went. To say he was beloved is an understatement as evidenced by the SRO at his funeral and the fact that his long-time place of employment, Holabird Sports, actually closed shop for the day to honor his memory.

So, now a year has passed and a lot has happened. Sol’s daughter graduated from high school and started her first year in college. Sol’s son is thriving on his high school baseball team. Sol’s wife has surrounded herself with friends and family who are helping her live in a world without her husband. And, we, Sol’s friends, have found many ways to remember him and share his legacy.

For me, that way is #theSol junior tournament.

I won’t repost the details of our first #theSol event (you can click here to read about it), but I do want to talk about what the tournament looks like as we move into Year 2.

Because of the success of our first go ’round, we were able to secure additional sponsor money – HUGE thank you to 10sballs.com! – to kick off our next round of events. UTR is continuing to be a major part of the tournaments and has helped connect me with tournament directors in various cities who will be hosting their own #theSol tournaments in 2017.

The first confirmed event will be played at Georgia Gwinnett College just outside Atlanta July 17-19, 2017 with tournament director David Stolle running the show alongside GGC head coach Chase Hodges. David runs numerous UTR events throughout the year, so I feel good about putting #theSol in his very capable hands!

We are hoping to have Sol’s tournaments in the Baltimore area, one in Florida, and one in Texas, but those events are still in the negotiation phase as we work to secure venues and dates. Of course, as we nail down the details, I will share them here and on the ParentingAces social media outlets, so please keep these tournaments on your radar as you plan your junior player’s schedule for the remainder of 2017.

We are working to attract additional sponsors so we can continue to provide a top-notch tournament experience to the players and their families. My goal is to have #theSol be a true reflection of all that Sol wished for junior tennis. It’s a tall order, but I’m confident in our small but highly dedicated committee and the tournament directors who have expressed an interest in being part of this special series.

It looks like we have found a way to continue Sol’s work to #SaveCollegeTennis as well. We will be establishing a fund – using some of the sponsor dollars and net proceeds of the events – through a 501(c) non-profit organization that will award grants to college tennis programs at risk of being cut. I was hoping to partner with the ITA on this part of things, but there are too many hurdles for that to happen this year. Maybe in future years we will be able to conquer those hurdles and work with the governing body of college tennis – I think it’s a partnership that makes perfect sense.

As is fitting, I spent my morning playing tennis, wearing my Holabird long-sleeve that Sol included as a little treat in an order he filled for my son shortly after we first met. For the record, I won my match which, I’m convinced, had as much to do with my Forever Cheerleader Sol as it did with any so-called skill I exhibited on the court. Like all who had the privilege of knowing Sol, I am missing my friend today.

In my religion, we remember and honor those who have left us on the anniversary of their death. It’s called observing yartzeit, a Yiddish word equivalent to yor year + tsayt time. Today, I am remembering and honoring Sol by sharing him with all of you. I hope you will help me continue to honor him by participating in #theSol events, either as a participant or sponsor or volunteer, and by supporting your local college tennis teams. I will be cheering on my favorite team this weekend and will know that Sol is smiling down as he watches his legacy live on.

Could This Work for Juniors?

boxI know y’all are sick and tired of hearing about my travels, but this past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a really unique college tournament at the University of Minnesota, and it got me thinking. . .

Here’s how the tournament worked: Colleges entered pairs of players who were selected into a round-robin draw based on UTR. After a 5-minute warmup, each pair played one set of doubles against an opposing pair immediately followed by (aka no additional warmup) a regular singles match with the top-rated players in each pair competing against one another and the next-rated players competing against one another. They used no-ad scoring, played let serves, and played a 10-point tiebreaker for the 3rd set. The doubles and each singles match counted as one point, and the team winning 2 out of the 3 points moved on in the draw.

On the first day (Friday), the teams played 2 full rounds – 2 doubles matches and 2 singles matches for each player. On Saturday, they again played 2 full rounds. On Sunday, they played 1 full round, giving each player a total of 5 doubles and 5 singles matches over the course of the 3 days.img_7924

Wouldn’t this be a great format for junior tournaments as well? It would give juniors a chance to work on their doubles skills since they would be playing multiple doubles matches during the tournament regardless of outcome. It would also give them a chance to get in some quality singles as well. What if we use this format for future iterations of #TheSol? Would you and your junior player(s) be interested?

I would love to hear any feedback on the format and its use in the juniors. In my mind, it is a great way to run a junior tournament – you get players entering as a pair, so they have their partner there cheering them on throughout the event. All of the matches count equally toward UTR, so you’re less likely to have players pulling out if they lose their first or second match. Juniors can work on a variety of doubles skills and strategies since they’ll have multiple matches with the same partner regardless of the outcome. What am I missing? Please share your thoughts in the Comments below.