Happy to Compete
© Juan Ocampo/USTA
Red Hot on the Court
© Juan Ocampo/USTA
By Carrie Rupp
A diehard Philadelphia Phillies fan, Bob Hite couldn’t be more excited about the team’s first World Series Championship in 28 years.
“The Phillies really came out of nowhere,” Hite said. “I was disappointed that no one gave them a chance. Everyone said the Brewers were going to beat them, the Dodgers would beat them; but they didn’t. It feels really good to be on top.”
Although Hite wasn’t able to be in the City of Brotherly Love for the Championship Parade down Broad Street, the captain of the men’s 3.0 Senior team from Delaware, a part of the USTA Middle States Section, wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Playing in the National Championship is a dream come true,” Hite said. “It’s just been terrific.”
For Hite and his teammates, it was a dream that was two-weeks shy of not coming true.
The team, which plays its home contests at Christiana High School in Christiana, Del., participated in the USTA Middle States Senior Section Championship in September. One of just two teams competing in the men’s 3.0 Senior division, Delaware fell to a team from Lancaster County, Pa., by a hair.
Four weeks later and just two weeks before the start of the 2008 USTA League presented by Chrysler 3.0 Senior National Championship, Hite’s son Robert Hite, Jr., delivered some exciting news.
“My computer had crashed and my son had been checking my e-mail for me,” Hite said. “I was driving, and he called me and said, ‘Are you sitting down?’ I said yes, and he told me I had received an email from Sally Baird, the Director of Adult Competition for Middle States. She said we had a chance to go to Las Vegas. I just couldn’t believe it!”
The Lancaster County men’s team was unable to attend the National Championship because two team members suffered last minute injuries and the team didn’t have enough players to compete. The unfortunate event for Lancaster County gave the Delaware men the opportunity to fulfill their dream.
“I called my team to find out who would be able to go at the last minute,” Hite said. “Including me, we had four who committed right away, two that said ‘no,’ and four who were undecided. Finally, on Columbus Day, we got final commitments from two of the men. That was it! We were definitely going!”
And how has Hite and his team enjoyed their time in Sin City?
“The whole experience has been mind-boggling, I still can’t believe I’m here,” Hite said. “The tournament went off without a hitch, it was flawless. The scenery is unbelievable, surrounded by these mountains. The facility is amazing, the weather – the fresh air, the heat, the lack of humidity. It’s just been great.”
Although the men did not finish on top of the standings, they’ve certainly made the best out of their opportunity to visit Las Vegas and compete at the National Championship.
“We didn’t fare too well as a team, but we definitely feel like winners,” Hite said. “We’re proud to be here, it really has been a dream come true.”
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