Cumberland Times-News

Betty Van NewKirk - From the Museum

June 5, 2008

In tennis, individuals face each other as equals


I don't remember where we played. It must have been a public park, with a row of asphalted courts, where a miss-hit ball rolled merrily away. When I had played tennis with other young men, they always made a point of jumping the net or running over several courts to retrieve the errant balls. But Bill didn't! He stood patiently on his side of the net while I retrieved the balls that had gone astray on mine.

My first reaction was annoyance: a gentleman would not expect a young lady to chase balls! But then it suddenly dawned on me that Bill was paying me a compliment; he was treating me as an equal! He thought of me as a worthy opponent in a tennis game, not as a silly female who was only capable of playing patty-cake!

To make a long story short - we got married. That tennis game was the beginning of 60 years of equal teamwork, on and off the tennis court.

The sport has change in my lifetime. The court surfaces are much improved; the rackets are no longer gut-strung wooden weapons; serious players are not expected to appear in spotless white; and balls fly back and forth at incredible speed.

But individuals still face each other across the net as equals, regardless of the country of their origin or the economic status of their parents. The big tournaments are, in a sense, a restatement of what Bill and I found on that public court so many years ago.

I'm only a spectator these days, but tennis is still my sport.

Betty VanNewkirk is the historian for the Frostburg Museum.

Text Only
Betty Van NewKirk - From the Museum
  • Happy 200th to St. Paul's Lutheran congregation Today is the 200th birthday of the Lutheran congregation in Frostburg!

    On Aug. 14, 1808, 24 people joined in a communion service in the New Church, a log structure on the edge of what is now called the Prichard Farm.

    August 14, 2008

  • Quality, attitude of people make 'Burg special A note in the newspaper a week or so ago mentioned that Oprah Winfrey was looking for "the best small towns in America.'' Frostburg is the best one I know of - but unfortunately Oprah asked for photos or videos supporting the nomination.

    August 7, 2008

  • There's always something new under the sun! The popular press has been devoting a good bit of space in recent weeks to the new swimsuit, introduced by Speedo, which supposedly has contributed to the record-breaking times posted in the Olympic tryouts.

    July 24, 2008

  • Ward and his mansion stand proud in 'Burg I've had questions recently - not for the first time! - about William Ward and the house he built at 73 W. Main St. here in Frostburg.

    July 17, 2008

  • July 4th: Finding our beliefs Independence Day, like Christmas, is one of the few national holidays that has not been moved to Monday, to provide a four-day break for working people. It holds its own as the Fourth of July.

    July 3, 2008

  • Berry-picking brings back many memories Last week I went to Wiley Ford to pick strawberries. I came home with enough for several packets of frozen berries, for three jars of strawberry jam, generous spoonfuls of fruit on my breakfast cereal and shortcake with real whipped cream.

    June 26, 2008

  • Ambulance service has key community role The Frostburg Area Ambulance Service is currently asking for our help in raising money for the protective clothing that new government regulations require.

    June 19, 2008

  • Planet continues to change; Big One on horizon? In a year that is not yet half over, 2008 has already written itself into the record books for extremes of hot and cold, rain and drought, tornadoes and floods and earthquakes. Our planet Earth has been in a constant state of change.

    June 12, 2008

  • In tennis, individuals face each other as equals I'm not a sports person, but I like to watch tennis. During the three big summer tournaments - Paris, London and New York, played on three different surfaces - my TV is on, and I check the newspaper for details that I have missed.

    June 5, 2008

  • Arts are obviously alive in Allegany County Last week I had the pleasure of attending the spring concert of the Allegany Community Symphony Orchestra. The program was free, and nicely varied, and the instrumentalists were competent.

    May 29, 2008

Latest news
Must Read
House Ads