Google Analytics Tracking Code

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tennis Tables

One of two tables presented to the Tennis program in April. An identical table from the women's team was included.

I always made a point to take my sons to the San Antonio Spurs' opening night games in the seasons after each of the team's four championships. I wanted them to see the banners hoisted so one day when they took their kids to games they could say "I was here when they raised those banners." Then the Spurs moved from the dome to the AT&T Center and someone decided to hang different banners. Then they did it again. This makes me think they don't understand the point of hanging banners. At least we aren't the Lakers, thank goodness, and for a number of reasons.

When I was a lad... Every Christmas season I looked forward to visiting the Kooky Cookie House at the outdoor Capital Court shopping mall in Milwaukee. In that mechanized faux cookie bakery house, children would wait in line to see Santa while watching a robot and gingerbread men bake cookies. Of course it was just an illusion, but I believed the cookies were being made right there, though clearly it was a lie. (Rows of fake cookies were on looping conveyor belts: Think the background animation in a Flintstones cartoon.) Several years ago - probably after eating gingerbread, I did a search to see if the Kooky Cookie House was still a "thang" for the youth of Milwaukee. Well, it was disassembled and apparently is sitting in a barn somewhere in Wisconsin. A sad ending for those in my nostalgic generation.

In 2011 the tennis courts and stadium renovations were completed on the Trinity campus. Living in our campus residence next to the south campus courts I was surprised to find the metal 2000 championship signs/banners left in a scrap heap near the end of my driveway. Apparently the new digs would get freshly updated championship signs, and the old ones were being trashed. I knew students on those dual national championship teams and remember the elation of people on campus when Trinity University captured two national titles in different cities on the same day. Dual titles is a rarity in any college sport.

Given my feelings about the Spurs championship banners AND given the unsavory fate of the Kooky Cookie House, I had to act. Or felt compelled to, anyway. So I dragged the signs up the driveway where they sat for several months, to the delight of my lovely wife, Donna.

I feel a connection to the tennis program, here, because Coach Butch Newman once allowed Donna and me to audit his tennis PE course. We were always at the losing end of the challenge courts, but had a great experience anyways. (Side note: Chi Beta April Ancira was in the same class with us.) Before each class Coach Newman would give the class a pep talk and connect life lessons to tennis. He was a motivator (though not good enough to motivate us up the challenge court food chain). Coach was a star here in the D-I hey-day and has been the foundation of the D-III program since the 1980's.He is beloved.

I decided it would be appropriate to make a gift "gesture" toward the tennis program and Butch Newman, on behalf of Student Affairs, by having the signs crafted into multipurpose tables to be used at the new pavilion. I was able to secure capital equipment funds for $1,000 - the minimum - for tennis tables, which I think people thought were table tennis tables. So the funding was approved. I don't know if the tables would have been funded had I given a proper description.

Finally, the Facilities Services staff hauled off the signs and colleague Jim Baker oversaw the transformation from rubbish to tables, which was done by Charlie Naranjo (welder) and Joe Dominguez (painter). They did terrific work (and under $600 total), turning the old signs into something lasting and usable. In my brief presentation (below) to the tennis teams and staff, set-up by current men's Coach Russell McMindes, I was able to offer some ribbing to Coach Newman for trashing the original signs.

He just laughed at me in the self-deprecating way he does. I think he liked the tables and was impressed with the work of the Facilities staff. In hindsight, I may have even nudged him to regret tossing the old signs in the first place. It seemed clear to him, he said after all, that one man's trash is another man's treasure: In this instance, it's the same man.

Coaches Russell and Jacob McMindes and Butch Newman call the team together for a brief presentation of two tennis tables on April 6, 2013, prior to a match. Also in attendance were Athletics staffers Bob King and Seth Asbury.


Donna J. Tuttle said...

I think you scored big with this one. But don't think I'm going to let you make a tablecloth out of your Spurs tshirts.

Korbella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Virginia Fraser said...

Love this, DT. Next, lets make tennis ball wreaths with what is sure to be the hundreds of tennis balls I accidentally hit in your yard from 2002-2006.

Liliana Gonzalez said...

I thought at first you would be making table tennis tables out of the tennis signs.. I got you now so all is good. And yes, I read your blog.

Lyndsey said...

Gneiss. It would be so meta if you played table tennis on a tennis table o_0