(Philadelphia, Friday, November 18, 2005): The United States Court Tennis Association threw itself a 50th birthday party this evening. Bill McLaughlin ably summed up the organization’s accomplishments in a Letter from the President – “since its founding in 1955 (by W.L. “Sammy” Van Alen), the organization has served as the governing body for the game in this country. (It has worked to develop) the sport through encouragement of new players, assisting in the creation and rehabilitation of courts, and the ongoing administration and promotion of the game at all levels, including amateur and professional.”
No minor accomplishment for a sport that is still largely managed by amateurs, and which was languishing in the days following WWII.
Above: USCTA President Bill McLaughlin
Van Alen had the vision, and with a small but dedicated group of men, including the night’s inductee into the Court Tennis Hall of Fame, Mr. H.D.S. Boenning, and other widely recognized names such as Jimmy Van Alen, Jock Whitney, Clarry Pell, Bill Clothier, E. Mauran Beals, Frank Donahue, Jr. and Alastair Martin, the organization was chartered in 1955. A comparison of the first Annual Report, issued in 1956, and the most recent Annual Report of the Association, illustrates a constancy of purpose throughout the years … development of junior players to ensure the future of the game, development of inter-city and international competition, support for professionals and for tournaments.
Right: Bradley Allen, US Mixed Doubles Champ, sharing a light moment with Mary Livingston.
The setting for the 50th Anniversary Dinner was the first floor dining room at the Racquet Club, beautifully redone under BethAnn McLaughlin and Paige Yeager’s tasteful eyes. Sam Howe, Racquet Club president, welcomed the large crowd. The night included a series of short speeches and remembrances from representatives of the now ten courts across the U.S. (Lakewood being brought back into service this past year) and from luminaries of the game’s past, such as Gene Scott, several times U.S. singles champion, Ed Hughes, the Association’s second-longest serving president, Tom Greevy, the longest serving professional in the country, and many others.
Left, Tom Greevy makes a point to the photographer. Below: Michael Do, usually behind the camera, getting a taste of his own medicine.
USCTA President Bill McLaughlin clearly enjoyed the announcement of Mr. H.D.S. Boenning as this year’s Hall of Fame inductee, describing Dick as a mentor “in tennis, in business and in life.” He described Dick as a man who gave back more than he got, for example, by supporting the fledgling United States Court Tennis Preservation Foundation with his own funds for legal expenses and the like. Mr. Boenning’s induction into the Hall of Fame was more than appropriate, and the standing ovation he received signaled the crowd’s awareness of and appreciation for his many contributions.
Below: Peter diBonaventura, H.D.S. Boenning, this year’s Hall of Fame inductee, Steve Sader and Jay Schochet.
Left: Ted Manges, right, and friend.
Left: The future of the game, enjoying the evening.
Other honorees including Arnold Spangler (New York) for the Hughes-Slater Cup, awarded for outstanding service to the USCTA, Rich Moroscak, for Most Improved Player and yours truly, for the Boenning Award for Sportsmanship.
Right: Rich Moroscak, Most Improved Player, with Will Simonds, former NY Head Pro, and Kenny Jacobs, Tuxedo Assistant Professional and all around entrepreneur!
The names of all the national champions were read out, and the evening’s formal activities ended with a live auction, with Greg Van Schaack and Brian Owens doing a standout job with a crowd perhaps a little more interested in après cocktails in the Reading Room!
Below, a group photo (by Michael Do, far left)