BY GREG FLINT
VEEDERSBURG, Ind. —
The McTagertt memorial tennis tournament completed its seventh edition on Sunday. In that short span, it has grown into an event that local players mark on their yearly calendars.
Funds from the event support the Evan McTagertt Memorial Scholarship Fund and the Levi McTagertt Trust Fund and this year there were enough participants that the 102 matches raised over $3,600 from entry fees and donations.
In the course of its history, the tournament has raised over $15,000 for the two funds.
Organized by Fountain Central tennis coaches Chris Webb and David Kight along with McTagertt family members and friends, the tournament is now regularly drawing players from an area ranging from Danville to Lafayette and Lebanon, Ind.
One participant, however, comes a much greater distance but makes it every year.
Ray Johnson is the great uncle of Levi McTagertt and he lives in greater St. Petersburg, Fla.
“I come up here every year for this,” he explained. “I wouldn’t miss it. Coming from where I do, you don’t have anything like this where there is such a family atmosphere in support of something like this.”
Part of the reason for that kind of atmosphere is that many of the participants either knew members of the McTagertt family or competed for or against Fountain Central tennis teams.
The camaraderie is enhanced for some of those former players as they now get to play against, or partner with, former opponents, but without the pressure of worrying about team scores and results.
Even though the event is in fun and for a good cause, the competitive juices still flow when the players take the court. As Covington assistant tennis coach Duane Drollinger put it, “You think it’s all about fun — until the guy hits one past you. Then you want to do the same right back.”
Despite the competition, the play is still mostly about having fun. One match saw Johnson and Jeff McTagertt team up against Drollinger and Chadd Yager.
The foursome finished their match, saw that one of the courts was empty and went back out and played, but with different partners.
“It’s a sad thing that brings us here,” said Johnson, “but it’s also fun to play in. Everybody pitches in to make sure it’s a good time for all the players and their families. It’s something we all enjoy doing.”
Greg Flint is a freelance writer/photographer for the Commercial-News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org