The 2.5 Southern Men's team.
© Jen Pottheiser/USTA
Leonardo Jennings from the Southern team.
© Jen Pottheiser/USTA
By J. Fred Sidhu, USTA.com
Indian Wells, Calif. – If the men’s 2.5 USTA Southern section team were to win this weekend’s USTA League National Championships at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, they would probably look up to the heavens and give thanks.
The men’s Southern section team, which is based in Lithonia, Ga., has adopted the title of the “official church tennis team,” of the Berean Christian Church in Stone Mountain, Ga.
According to team captain, Ryan Mobley, team members attend the church and are involved in the church’s ministry.
A few years ago Mobley and his fellow church members began playing tennis on their own during weekends. “We love to play the game,” he said. “We would always get together like a weekend-warrior type of thing.”
Eventually in 2008, Mobley and his team decided to move their recreational tennis game to the next level and joined a USTA League. “We wanted an opportunity to get out and expand ourselves and meet new people,” said Mobley.
In addition to moving into USTA League tennis Mobley had another objective.
“One of the things I wanted to do most was I wanted this to be a fellowship type of ministry,” Mobley said. “I want us to always exhibit the best of Godly principles while we’re on the court.”
His team’s venture into USTA League tennis has been filled with positive experiences.
“We’ve met some wonderful people,” Mobley said. “This has been a wonderful experience for us, meeting new teams.”
Mobley also spoke about how during one of their leagues they invited an opposing team for a barbeque and the opposing team did the same for them when they played again.
The Berean Christian Church, which is headed by Sr. Pastor Kerwin B. Lee, has thrown their support behind the Southern section men’s 2.5 team by helping to sponsor their trip to Indian Wells.
The team’s commitment to God and their church was evident on Friday morning as one of the team members led the team in prayer at the hotel before leaving to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Before stepping onto the court for their first match, Mobley said, “Make no mistake, we may be Christian men, but we play to win. We mean business. I’m privileged to captain one of the finest teams anywhere. These guys have so much heart.”
Captain: Ryan Mobley: Instructor, Berean Christian Church School of Ministry
Co-captain Darryl Quinn: Deacon in training
Ardie Anderson: Ordained Minister
James Hunter: Ordained Deacon
Tay Drake: Seminary student and co-coordinator of young adult ministry
Thomas Hill: Parishioner
Leonardo Jennings: Parishioner
*Willie Carter: Deacon
Carter, who could not make the trip to Indian Wells, attends another church.