Three generations, one sport for a lifetime: The Rowe family is enjoying tennis in Southern California
© J. Fred Sidhu
By J. Fred Sidhu, special to USTA.com
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- For the Rowe family of Coronado, Calif., playing tennis is a family affair that spans three generations.
This past weekend, James Rowe, a 48-yer-old entrepreneur, and his 80-year-old father, Lionel "Grumpy" Rowe, along with his 15-year-old identical twin sons, Billy and Charlie, played for the fifth time in the USTA National Father and Son and Grandfather and Grandson Hard Court Doubles Championships at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club.
The twin brothers have played the two tournaments on a rotation basis. One year Billy will play in the Father and Son tournament and Charlie will compete in the Grandfather and Grandson draw. The following year they will switch.
This year, James played in the Father and Son event with Charlie, while Billy teamed with his grandfather Lionel in the Grandfather and Grandson Championship. Billy and the elder Rowe would go on to win the title and earn the USTA gold ball.
When asked what role tennis plays in his family’s life, James responded: "It really has become a way of life for the family and it’s a great culture to grow up in. I’m excited that my boys have the opportunity to be able to grow up playing tennis in a competitive environment. It’s the lessons that you learn out on the tennis courts that you’ll take in through life."
Playing in the two National tennis events over the years has become an experience with special significance for the Rowe family.
"It’s always special. I got to play with Charlie this year and obviously Billy and Grumpy got the gold ball, which is just outstanding to see your father and your son out there," James said. "Where else can you get three generations out on the tennis court in a competitive environment? It’s so unique and rare to find that."
Billy and his twin brother Charlie began playing tennis when they were six or seven years old and a short time later they began to receive coaching. Today, they are competitive tournament players.
"It’s really fun to play with your grandpa and your father because they both have the experience you don’t have and they know what to do in pressure situations," Billy said.
Charlie also enjoys the experience of playing doubles with his father and grandfather. "It’s fun. It’s kind of cool to be able to switch every year and play with my grandpa and my dad."