By Jeffrey Seals
Sharron Dawes and Donna Healy were classmates and teammates on the track team back during their high school days in Montego Bay, Jamaica, but it took them almost 30 years to reconnect, this time on the tennis court.
The pair weren’t close with each other socially back in their high school days, but are now great friends. “Tennis has bonded us for life,” said Dawes.
The ladies were brought together by Lon Riggs, who asked both to join the 7.0 mixed team that plays out of West Chester, N.Y. Healy moved to New York full-time 11 years ago after finally getting tired of travelling back and forth to visit her husband. Dawes migrated to the Empire State after college.
This current squad, which is making its first trip to the USTA League Mixed National Championship, has only been together for two years. Although this is the first trip to nationals for the ladies and their team, Healy is attending her second after the squd she played on in 2007 made a visit to Orlando. Unfortunately, Healy’s team didn’t make it out of group play.
Tennis has been in Dawes life since her high school days. She played in high school and has played recreationally until getting involved in league play. Healy, on the other hand, just picked up the game seven years ago.
Now that the team has found success in its second year of competition they wish they can keep it going, as Dawes noted, “Hopefully, we can make this an annual event.”
The ladies hope they can do a bit of celebration in Las Vegas with a national championship. This is Dawes’ second trip to Sin City, but the first for Healy. “We are all business today and tomorrow, but we will play around on Sunday,” noted Dawes.
Besides having the high school connection, the ladies can draw another link in their lives, as Dawes daughter is attending Hofstra University, which coincidentally is the alma mater of Healy.