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Harvey serving as inspiration from the sidelines

October 25, 2013 02:28 PM
Cathy Harvey (left), with Lynn Slaughter watch the Pacific Northwest women's squad compete at the 2013 USTA League National Championships in Indian Wells, Calif.

By J. Fred Sidhu, special to USTA.com

Cathy Harvey, a member of the USTA Section Pacific Northwest women’s 4.5 team, knew there was something wrong last Monday when she took a wrong step.

Harvey, a resident of Bremerton, Wash., took a break from her preparation for this weekend’s 2013 USTA League Adult 40 & Over 4.5 National Championships and attended a concert with friends at Seattle’s Key Arena featuring pop star Pink.

Following the concert, Harvey crossed the street to a nearby parking garage when she stepped in a small hole and fell to the ground.
“It was dark and there was a hole and I stepped in it,” she said. “I heard something and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I think I just broke my leg.’”

Harvey’s friends helped her up and initially thought she was uninjured, but Harvey knew immediately that something was wrong with her right leg.

“I actually heard it break. We went to the ER, and sure enough, I had broken my fibula,” Harvey said. With all of the traffic from the concert, it took Harvey and her friends half an hour to get to a hospital, and after waiting to have X-rays taken and to see a doctor, she finally arrived home around 5 a.m.

The injury essentially ended Harvey’s USTA League season and any thoughts of playing in the 4.5 National Championship at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, which would have marked her third appearance in the League Nationals.

Despite the injury, Harvey accompanied her team to Indian Wells to cheer them on. “I was going to come as long as the doctor said it was OK. I was concerned that I might have to have surgery,” she said. “The good news is that I don’t need surgery.”

There is a hint of sadness in Harvey’s voice as she watched her team’s first match. The former University of Washington tennis player spoke about how she felt not being able to play this weekend with teammate Robin Richie, her longtime doubles partner of more than 20 years.

“You’re kind of sad because you work so hard to get here, then you feel like you let your partner down. She had to find a new partner at the last minute. I feel bad about that,” said Harvey, who has been playing USTA League tennis since 1991.
Even though she’s not playing, Harvey’s teammates are happy she made the trip to support them in their quest for a National Championship. “The team has been very good about carting me around. We rented a [wheel]chair down here and I have crutches,” Harvey said.

“We pretty much begged her to come. We made sure she was taken care of. She’s been a real inspiration and it’s been great,” said team captain Debbie Gilman. “We miss her and we wish she was playing.”

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