There were serves, set points and lots of smiles at the Eagle Tennis Center during Reunion Weekend 2023.
From current varsity players to longtime alumni, the courts were jumping with tennis and pickleball matches alike. The annual event has been a reunion weekend mainstay since the courts were added to the CJ campus more than a decade ago.
“We always have a good mix of ages and graduation years,” CJ tennis coach Jim Brooks said. “Some of them played tennis in school, others picked it up after high school, but they all really enjoy hitting with our players.”
Tim Ivory, ’73, and Jim Hartke, ’64, were in it to win it when they were paired up with rising juniors Celeste Acuna and Mollie Juniewicz for a fun mixed doubles match. While neither grads played tennis for the Eagles, they were happy to team up with the Eagles players for a Saturday morning showdown.
“You can teach old dogs new tricks,” Ivory said with a smile.
One court over, Vera Mikula, wife of 1963 graduate John Mikula, was proof that age is just a number as the 80-year-old volleyed with CJ sophomore Evy Powers, 15. While 65 years separate them, their love of tennis was a common bond.
“Someone might look at these older players and think ‘how good can they be,’ but they are smart, and they are experienced and they can play the game,” Brooks said.
The tennis players weren’t the only ones getting in a weekend workout as Court 5 was all pickleball. Caroline Deters Garcia, ’98, – who played tennis for the Eagles as a freshman and sophomore – was happy to have the opportunity to try her hand at some doubles pickleball play.
“It’s only my second time playing pickleball, but I’ll definitely keep playing,” she said. “It’s fun, it’s intense and easier for me than tennis.”
Pickleball is a new addition at CJ which now has portable nets and four courts lined for the popular sport. And the inaugural CJ youth pickleball camp just wrapped up.
“I think pickleball was a good addition because we got some people who might not have come out otherwise,” Brooks said. “Everyone had a great time.”