Monday, December 22, 2008

A Harvard Tennis Thanksgiving - An Update from Cambridge

Team members get their picture taken with Scott Mead

The last month has been a is Assistant Coach Andrew Rueb's summary of the events leading up to the Thanksgiving break. We have so much to be thankful for, despite the troubling financial picture that most of us face. DF

A Harvard Tennis Thanksgiving - An Update from Cambridge

Scott Mead '76 Endowment Party

The celebration for Scott Mead was a grand affair hosted in the Hall of History at the Murr Center on Friday night, November 21. Scott Mead '76, a former squash player under the tutelage of a young coach Fish, recently endowed the Men's Tennis Head Coaching Position at Harvard. The scene was buzzing Friday evening with luminaries in attendance including Jack Reardon, Dean Fitzsimmons, current athletic director Bob Scalise, as well as a bevy of former squash and tennis players from that era. LCD screens were cycling through photos from Scott's era including some choice photos of Dave with lamb chop side burns, tight shorts and long hair. The appetizers were sensational and drinks were flowing from the bar, in that hallowed setting that honors the greats of Harvard athletics. Guests included tennis and squash alums as well as most of the Friends of Harvard Tennis Board members who were in town for their annual meeting including Bruce Price, Dan Waldman, Dinny Adams, Alex Seaver, Debbie Goldfine, Gina Majmudar, Dan Kleinman, John Ingard, Jay Stack and others. Claire Roth in Las Vegas and Peter Stovell in San Francisco, Robin Dorman from Providence and Kristin Fusco in Boston were in on the conference call long distance. In addition to the board members, the cast of characters in attendance was quite long, including Dave Benjamin, Rick Devereux, Michel Scheinmann. Scott Mead was joined by his family, wife Su Ling, daughter Betsy (junior at Kirkland House), daughter Amanda and son, Alex and the twins, Isabel and Emma to share in this occasion.

While Scott played squash for Coach Fish between '74-'77, his ability as a lacrosse player kept him from also playing tennis in the spring. He has since "seen the light" and is now an avid and enthusiastic player in London. In choosing to donate the tennis head coaching position, Scott expressed his deep appreciation to Dave's mentorship and what his time on the squash courts meant to him - stressing the importance of his education outside the classroom. The overarching motif of the evening was a celebration of the close bonds between player and coach forged in the battles at Hemingway gym on that small square box called a squash court. In turn, Coach Fish honored Scott and challenged the rest of the Harvard Tennis family to live up to this gift by finding ways of contributing in our lives. In a thank you speech, Dave told the story of John Wooden, who when asked by reporters at the beginning of the season how his team would fare, would always reply, "I'll let you know in 20 years." And over twenty years later, it was clear that Scott had accomplished a great deal and learned to incorporate the lessons of court and exercise them into his life. During his time at Harvard, Scott was know for being unfailingly well tempered, soft spoken and kind. It was a strong affirmation to the power of college athletics and reminds us coaches what are the lessons that remain long after the last points have been played.

After the ceremony, a small few gathered for a catered dinner in the Beren Tennis Center lounge on the second floor. After some wine and social niceties, some stars emerged as the sun went down. Dan Waldman held court at table three with his stories of tennis at the Senate, Camp David and the White House. Dave Benjamin, at table two, showed his true witty colors and told tales of his adventures in Nice during his summers in college. Scott Mead's adorable young twin girls, Isabel and , age 8, were the main attraction wherever they roamed that evening.

Harvard-Yale: The 125th Anniversary of the Game

While the wind cut through the athletic fields and tailgate parties early on a frigid Saturday morning, the tennis alums were relaxing in the comfort of the Beren Center Lounge sipping mimosas and eating bagels and lox. From atop our perch in Beren, we could look down on the masses of frozen alums while refreshing our glasses and returning to the buffet line for some pancakes. The Tennis Tailgate was a popular destination as many alums stopped by before The Game. Most recent alums like Ashwin Kumar, Jason Beren, Jordan Bohnen, and Gareth Doran joined the fun as well as 90's stars like Dave Ament, Kunj (and Gina) Majmudar, Rich Lee, Todd Meringoff, Adam Meister(brau), David Ament and his wife Christine Gabrielle Hriska were also enjoying the pre-game festivities. Jen Callen Beveridge (former women's assistant coach) came with her husband and two children. The next generation of alums including Dan Waldman, Alex Seaver (joined by his sons Brendan and Jack), Dan Kleinman and wife Jeannie, Dinny Adams, John Ingard, Jay Stack, Bruce Price and others. It was a great day for Harvard (we won the game 10-0 and a share of the Ivy Title) and was a great excuse to rekindle old friendships.

Tenacity: A Day in the Life

Freshman Liinus Hieteniemi from Helsinki and sophomore Will Guzick getting some tutoring help from the Tenacity kids!

After the celebrations from Scott Mead and Harvard/Yale had subsided, we got down to business as the team spent the day with the Tenacity program. During frenzied fall season, we had little time to get to know the other players sharing our courts since September - the Tenacity Team. On Monday, with the help of Tenacity supervisors, our team members helped with journal entries, shared snacks, worked on homework and reading assignments as well as joining in the fun on the courts. I spent the day following the 6th graders around from the moment they were dropped off the bus from the two area middle schools to the last ball picked up on the courts. Coach Fish was stationed on homework detail throughout the day and threw himself into the reading assignments. The photos below do a better job than my narrative of chronicling our day pounding the books and the striking balls. It was quite an experience being thrust back into middle schools and we were amazed at how quickly they welcomed us into their lives. While we might have been doing some "teaching" that day, we certainly learned a lot about what amazing lengths Tenacity goes in fostering a sense of opportunity, support, and accomplishment for these young students.

Andrew Y. Rueb
Assistant Coach of Men's Tennis


katty said...

I love the thanksgiving!! i like when my husband and i have a good time together specially when we are with all the family celebrating the thanksgiving. Is sure this year we´ll be happy all of us together and enjoying. But i am thankful because my husband buy viagra and he has more self-steem.I am really happy.

jimmy jam said...

LCD screens were cycling through photos from Scott's era including some choice photos of Dave with lamb chop side burns, tight shorts and long hair. resource for players