Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Recap of the First Leg of the Ned Weld Spring Trip South

Recap of the First Leg of the Ned Weld Spring Trip South 
We've really been on the run, with lots to report.  I'm going to send out several summaries, beginning with this one, recounting the roller coaster we've been on for the last couple of weeks.
Here is Andrew's recap of the first part of our spring trip…
After the last two homes matches before the spring break, we left for Atlanta.  The first Sunday in Atlanta, our team practiced and volunteered at Washington Square Park, a historic black tennis center that has hosted the likes of Arthur Ashe and Althea Gibson.   The Crimson played with their middle-school program in a big doubles tournament and pizza party.   Please check out the video of our giant "haka," or pre-game basketball like chant and dance, done with all the campers.  It was a great day of connecting with kids and tennis lovers from all over the country.   The site was recently taken over by Universal Tennis Academy when the city of Atlanta could no longer afford to run the site.  Coaches Dobsha and Jenkins were on site to help us run the afternoon of great tennis and fun.   Many thanks as well to David Stolle, a director and partner at Universal Tennis, as well as a former New England tennis star whom Dave recruited a few years back!
Upon arrival in Montgomery, the team visited the Civil Rights Memorial, now run by the Southern Poverty Law Center.  The struggles of the '60's were well-chronicled.  The film in particular, as well as the beautiful memorial fountain designed by Maya Lin, also the architect of the Vietnam Memorial in DC, contributed to a deeply moving experience for us all.  We recommend a visit to anyone traveling through the area to visit.  The team was re-introduced to the stories of Rosa Parks, Medgar Evers, Emmett Till and a host of others who gave their life in the struggle.  Befitting the tradition of southern hospitality, we were greeted by the Richard Cohen (a Columbia graduate), and now President of the Center, as well as former Dunster House resident, Monique Nong '05, who is serving a two-year fellowship at the Center.  It was a day that helped remind us of the larger and more important issue of social justice that plagued this country in the 60's and how the struggle still continues today.  Please visit their website to see what important work is being done.  The memorial:
After visiting the museum, we went to lunch at a cafeteria next door in a municipal building only to be greeted by the Board of Tourism for Montgomery and given hats saying, "Sweet Home Alabama," on the brim.  We had only been in Montgomery 2 hours and already made a host of new friends!  Needless to say, once we arrived at our host families' homes with our new caps, we were warmly welcomed!
Next recap…The Blue Gray Tournament, one of the oldest college tournaments in the country…

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