By Jeff Sikes, USTA.com
Texas Men's Team
© Jen Pottheiser
TUCSON, Ariz. -
After Hurricane Ike plowed through the coastal Texas city of Galveston on September 13 churning up untold amounts of damage, it didn’t stop there. It rolled right into Houston and kept inflicting devastation the whole Texas coastal region is still reeling from. Ike has already ended up as the third costliest hurricane in U.S. history, and the toll in damage and lives lost is still yet to be fully tallied, five weeks removed from its destructive path.
Many of the members of the Texas 4.5 team here in Tucson for the USTA League National Championships this week were affected by Hurricane Ike, including Craig Bobo, the team’s captain. But they’re here this weekend, playing on as much for sanity’s sake as anything else.
Bobo is the Director of Tennis at Walden Golf and Country Club on Lake Houston, the team’s home base for their USTA League matches this year. The club took a full frontal assault from Ike with winds in excess of 115 miles an hour that trashed the facility’s eight hard courts, fencing, and clubhouse.
”Pretty much everything (at Walden) was destroyed, and it’s been tough getting everything back to normal,” said Bobo of his club, which like many businesses in Houston, is still awaiting services like Internet to return because of the scale of damage. “It’s been a slow rebuilding process for all Houstonians everywhere. Our team is no different.”
Three of Bobo’s team members had been so affected by the storm’s aftermath and the effect on their livelihoods, homes, and families, that they simply could not make the trip to Tucson for the national championships. It made fielding their best team this week a difficult proposition for Bobo.
After the storm, the longtime captain kept in touch with his team members through text messaging, since phone lines - both land and cell – were pretty much unusable for a stretch of days after.
”We couldn’t practice at all for a couple of weeks, because we just had too many other things to worry about,” said Bobo.
Walden, a serene private-member club, has long been USTA friendly, with stops on the Texas adult and junior tournament circuits. The club routinely hosts several USTA League and Jr. Team Tennis squads as well, both of which have had to be adjusted this fall due to Ike’s havoc. This year’s Walden Adult Open was rescheduled for a little later this year.
Added Bobo: ”It’s going to take us all a little while."
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