Dana Eddy will try to play two roles at this year’s Charleston Public Courts tennis tournament. You’ll find him in the office as the tournament’s director. You’ll also find him behind the net as a participant.
It is not an easy balancing act, Eddy said, but it is one that he enjoys.
Since Eddy moved the Charleston and started playing tennis in the area in 1990, he has missed just two tournaments as a player. He enters his fourth year as tournament director, and it was last year that was one of the tournaments in which he did not play.
He doesn’t want to make it two in a row, and will try to play at least one event in the tournament, which will be held this year from July 14-22 at the Ivor F. Boiarsky Tennis Center at Coonskin Park. While he does that, he always remembers his responsibilities as tournament director. Among them is to never abuse his position. So there won’t be any easy draws, and any frustrations shown on the court are kept at a minimum.
“I try to bottle it,” Eddy said. “I’m keenly aware that I’m being observed.”
Then comes the times where he has to wear both hats at once. Those instances can, at times, be unavoidable. And Eddy refuses to relinquish his duties as director, even in the middle of competition.
“It’s extremely difficult,” he said. “Even as I’m playing and trying to focus on the game, if I hear something on another court, I’m conditioned to immediately pay attention to what’s going on. There was one match that happened, and I turned and got hit upside the head with a ball.”
In-game distractions are never fun. The combined hours of playing and running the tournament can become long and sap him of his energy. Yet Eddy enjoys both, especially at the end of it all, at the tournament’s banquet, when he can reflect on the tournament’s high points.
“The tournament becomes part of you,” he said. “Probably the most gratifying time for me is when the scholarships are awarded at the banquet. The nine days of heat and sore feet and losses in the first round disappear and a good feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction replaces it, and that gives you the energy to possibly do it the next year.
Those wanting to participate can register using a form that will appear periodically in the Gazette-Mail sports section or by going to www.usta.com and using the tournament ID 850131617. All entries must be received by Friday, July 7. Entry fees are $22 per player per event and $44 for a doubles team. All net proceeds go to Public Courts Scholarships.