While the circumstances may look different, tennis is alive and well on Taylor’s campus.
After facing the disappointing reality that tennis was no longer going to be offered as a varsity sport, former tennis athletes took it into their own hands to ensure that tennis did not die for the Taylor community.
Now, almost seven months later, Taylor University’s tennis club is thriving, as players from all stages of experience take advantage of the opportunity to stay active and play the sport they love.
The club was started by club president senior Julianna Hotmire, vice president sophomore Nathaniel Boer and head coach Taylor alumnus Jonathan Forte along with secretary sophomore Will Wiet and treasurer junior Seth Graves. Currently, there are 20 participants in the club. Both men and women practice together, which has created much-needed unity and support as they navigate this new territory together.
March 10 was a day of anger, frustration, despair and not much hope, Boer reflected. However, like all Taylor students, the tennis community grew stronger and closer amidst the uncertainty. From that day on, they knew that tennis would never look the same, but that does not mean it could not still be a great experience for them and others interested in the sport.
“It was really hard for all of us,” Hotmire said.
Hotmire reminisced how she misses the competitive spirit of a varsity sport, but she is all in with this new endeavor to make the most of a tough situation and represent God in this way.
While spring competition will look different, the club is excited about the opportunities they have to still compete in doubles tournaments and against local teams at Indiana Wesleyan, Indiana State and Ball State.
Being a club sport opens the door for a new and different mission and approach of community above competition. Their priority is fostering growth in participants as people and athletes, especially focusing on welcoming those who have not played before.
The club is whole-heartedly accepting anyone who has a desire to learn and play. Currently, there are two members who have never played before, and if the club continues to increase numbers and passion for sport, they believe they have successfully completed their goal.
“Taylor Together” has proven to ring true throughout the tennis community, as each member has come around to support each other.
“I was a little intimidated by how much we would have to overcome coming in, and my expectations have been blown away by how much support we’ve gotten,” Boer said.