3.5 Senior Southern Men's Team
© Garrett Ellwood
By Tamara Ramos, USTA.com
Indian Wells, Calif. - The Southern Section Men’s 3.5 Senior team arrived at the USTA League National Championship with only six players, the minimum needed to compete; Captain Larry Cade is an optimistic man! He expressed, “We are blessed that our health and circumstances allow us to play tennis which is truly a game for life”. It was hard to tell if Larry was serious as he then listed the injuries that have impacted his team this season.
They’re down to only six players due to a ruptured plantar fasciitis, a bi-lateral knee replacement, two calf muscle tears and one cardiac stint. On a positive medical note, the Roswell Park team is dedicating this National Championship trip to team member, Jim Walker’s son. The 16 year old is recuperating from a recent and successful bone marrow transplant with his dad at his side.
Captain Larry acknowledged that “asking my senior team ‘How are you doing?’ is loaded question!” Larry jokes that since team members have spent so much on doctors recently, the Roswell medical community might want to sponsor their team.
There’s a traditional gift exchange between teams at the National Championships, usually a small token representative of their region or something unique to the team. The Roswell Park men had 60 ducks flown in, battery powered and sporting sunglasses, these are the famous AFLAC ducks.
It seems fitting that a Georgia team with so many physical issues would be gifting the mascot for a Georgia medical disability insurance company. Also known as the “Director of Duck-orum”, Co Captain, Dean Thompson, a marketing rep for AFLAC, also provided the ducks for the Roswell Park 2007 and 2008 National Champion teams. Clearly they’re good luck and this year’s team is hoping to bring another title home to Roswell Park.
Captain Larry said “I’ve asked my guys to get it done and they plan to deliver!” Win or lose, the entire team, even those on crutches, look forward to the tradition of being recognized by the Roswell City Council and receiving a proclamation from the mayor on their return.