Sometimes tennis is personal. Not always. But sometimes.
You may have listened to my recent podcast with my brother, Jeffrey, about The City Championships and how that is personal to both of us. You may have read my previous articles about The Sol Schwartz #SaveCollegeTennis All-In Tournament and how that is personal to me as well as to so many others. Last weekend’s tournament was no different.
Honoring Sol at these tournaments the past three years has been a cathartic experience. It has given me a chance to share Sol’s vision for what tennis should be with those interested in finding a more positive experience for their children. And it has given me a chance to continue Sol’s work to #savecollegetennis by using our tournament proceeds to provide grants to college tennis programs at risk of being cut.
More than that, though, it has given me the chance to meet some incredible people – many of whom knew Sol much more intimately than I did – and form even more relationships with people as in love with tennis as I am.
At the time of Sol’s passing, he was working very hard to preserve college tennis programs that were being cut due to funding issues. In fact, just a few months before his death, the program where Sol worked as the Volunteer Assistant Coach, UMBC, announced it was cutting both the men’s and women’s tennis programs at the end of that year (2016). Sol would take to social media whenever he heard of a program being on the chopping block and always used the hashtag #savecollegetennis. When we started our tournament in his memory, we decided to incorporate #savecollegetennis into not only the name but also the mission. We use the proceeds of these tournaments to write grant checks to college tennis programs that are at risk of being cut. In 2017, we wrote a check to George Washington University’s men’s tennis program. For 2018, we haven’t identified our grant recipients yet but are working on it!
Rather than trying to recap The Sol myself, I thought I would share some of the messages I received from both players and parents as well as some of the photos and videos from both events . . .
Just wanted to say you all have been doing a fabulous job running the tournament and I’m so happy I could be a part of it to support Sol and all he stood for – Player
Thanks for this wonderful tournament – Player
It was a lovely tournament. So happy to be supporting a noble cause. We will be there next year as well. If you need volunteers we would love to help. Thanks again – Parent
Thanks a lot for hosting such a great tournament. The venue was beautiful, the tennis was great and the people were so friendly. I especially enjoyed meeting and talking to one of your hostesses, Sol’s mother-in-law Ina. She was so informative about Pikesville, the Jewish community and everything. She is a wonderful speaker and I would certainly encourage her not to fully retire but rather to visit the elementary and high schools and educate the young people about some of the history in their community so that it will not be forgotten. Again…thanks for a great tournament – Parent
Thank you for all you have done this past few years. I will be glad to continue this event in Sol’s name. I will do what I can to pass Sol’s vision for saving college tennis – Tournament Director, Scott Thornton
I just wanted to thank you for organizing an event with “meaning”. I am pretty sure that your friend Sol is somewhere appreciating your efforts and others that have been working hard to make the event a success – Parent
Thank you for organizing this, kudos to taking all different UTR levels and trying to make it fun for everyone – Parent
Please note that no one mentioned the incredible prizes donated by our sponsors, Holabird Sports, Wilson Tennis, Tennis Trunk, and Hadaki. No one mentioned the player goody bags or complimentary lunches and drinks for players and their families. No one even mentioned the low entry fee or guaranteed 3 matches. The comments all had to do with fun and meaning and a higher cause. I think that’s what makes me the proudest of what we’ve accomplished these last three summers.
Thank you to our incredible sponsors:
|Presenting Sponsor||Ball Sponsor|
|Holabird Sports||Dunlop Tennis|
|Division I Sponsors||In-Kind Sponsors|
|Wilson Tennis||Caden Concepts|
|Division II Sponsors||Clix Photography|
|Kassimir Physical Therapy||Guill Photography|
|Judie Schwartz||MedStar Health|
|Universal Tennis Rating||Super Cute Candles|
|Division III Sponsors||Beverly Aaron|
|Hadaki Tennis Tote||Claire Roth|
|Maller Wealth Advisors||Claire L. Martin|
|Match Tennis App||Ina & Jeffrey Legum|
|Michael Sellman||Katz & Associates|
|Melanie, Jessie, & Noah Rubin|
|Ilene, Dori, & Evan Schwartz|
|Universal Tennis Academy|
Thank you to everyone who played, everyone who volunteered, and everyone who came out to support the tournaments! Congratulations to our winners, but, really, congratulations to ALL our competitors who played with heart, showed incredible respect for the game, and exhibited exquisite sportsmanship. That’s what #theSol is all about!
If you missed the photos and videos posted on theSolUTR Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds, please check them out. You can see the professional photos from both Atlanta and Baltimore here (Username: Sol, Password: ACE) and here. You can see the Atlanta draws here and the Baltimore draws here. Meanwhile, here are some of the videos recorded both in Atlanta and Baltimore.