With the changing of organizers comes a revamped Western Washington University Tennis Club. Under new guidance, the tennis club hopes to start the year off in the right direction.
“This season we have a lot of new leadership and a new approach,” junior and club President Cooper Anderson said.
Western’s Tennis Club is a group of students who not only play in matches, but also work to promote and share the game of tennis with the Western community. The club is full of both competitive and recreational players who come together to share their love of the game.
The competition team is made up of students who like to travel and are looking to improve their game. The recreational players are a group of students just looking to have some fun. Recreational attendance has been lacking in the past and the team is looking to improve participation this year and have people come out who want to learn how to play tennis, Anderson said.
“For the past couple of years, we normally get about a hundred people on the first day and it dwindles down to about 60 by week one or two and eventually it dwindles down to about 10,” senior club Vice President Tyler VanGrunsven said.
The team wants to increase the number of participants to as many people as possible. Right now they have about 35 people that show up consistently.
“My favorite part is building a team and developing relationships with a lot of new players and developing that relationships through a mutual interest in playing tennis,” Anderson said.
The team practices together every day and helps do community service in Bellingham, Wash. The players also do events together such as camping to foster newly formed friendships and make them closer as unit.
Going beyond the court
One of the clubs’ main goals this year is to increase its community service. Currently they are working with the Asia University America Program to not only complete some of their required service hours but to also give back to a program that has brought the Tennis Club students who love to play the game.
“We’ve been getting a lot of AUAP students throughout the years and to give back, we decided that we should volunteer and help them out,” VanGrunsven said. “I speak Japanese fluently so I understand how hard it is to learn a language.”
The team is working as classroom helpers for AUAP classes to help in small groups as conversation partners. A group of three or four members work with the students to help improve their English skills and help with classroom work.
A lot of times they’re used to lead group discussion and be human dictionaries, AUAP Curriculum Coordinator Kris Moore said. It’s great for them [AUAP students] to hear different types of English.
The team also volunteers at Bobbibrook Farms to help the farm develop by tossing mulch and picking weeds.
“One of my personal goals is to not only meet our 200 required volunteer hours but to surpass it significantly,” Anderson said. “I want to go above and beyond.”
The team hopes to double their required service hours and reach at least 400.
Western’s Tennis Club is the only team to go to nationals every year since the Tennis On Campus program was started 15 years ago. This spring, the club hopes to win another spot to play in the national tournament.
The club was founded in 1998 and this year is a major transition year for the club. Last season the only member who helped run the program and all the activities was club President Eric Guenther. This year the club is looking to become more organized.
“We’ve completely changed our structure,” VanGrunsven said. “This year we’re dividing up all the work and getting a lot more people involved.”
The team is working together to split up different tasks that they hope to complete. They are working to increase attendance and awareness, complete community service, fundraise money to make travel costs cheaper and do group activities to become closer as a unit.
“By the end of the season I hope to have 15 to 20 committed guys and girls who are committed to the team and its goals and improvements,” Anderson said.
The team traveled to Yakima, Wash., the weekend of Nov. 8-10, where the team finished in second place after they lost to the University of Washington in the final at Yakima Tennis Club.