Pardon me while my mind runneth over:
n All great runs eventually come to an end. And unless James Kent changes his mind between now and next year’s Charleston Public Courts tennis tournament, his run in the men’s open has come to a close.
Kent said after his two-set loss to Patrick Walker in the men’s open final on Saturday that it would be his last. He and Walker are tied for the most men’s open championships in tournament history at 10 each.
That milestone is not the only reason why Kent’s mark on Kanawha Valley tennis is so bold, but it’s a huge one. From 1997 until now, if Kent wasn’t winning a men’s open title, there’s a good chance he was at least playing for it. He and Walker own 20 of the last 23 championships in that category, a level of dominance that may never be duplicated.
Yet he also has been a great ambassador for the tournament and the sport to their younger generation. Kids know who he is and know what he’s accomplished. They got a kick out of hearing a congratulations or a couple words of advice from him when they were walking around the courts.
While his days in the men’s open draw may be over, his days as that ambassador are far from over. And when he talks, the younger players of the Kanawha Valley would do themselves a service to listen.
n Let’s go from the end of one run to the start of another.
Congratulations are necessary for Jon Elmore, who signed this week to play in Italy’s top pro basketball league. What a way for the hard work he has put in since childhood to pay off.
What Elmore means to Marshall basketball cannot be understated. The program was at a low point when he arrived, winning just 35 total games in the previous three seasons. With Elmore on the floor, Marshall never had a losing season, won at least 20 games for three straight seasons, won its first Conference USA title, made its first NCAA tournament in 31 years, won its first NCAA tournament game ever, then followed that up by winning the CollegeInsider.com tournament the next year.
Meanwhile, he found himself on a list of one — the only player in Division I history to end his career with at least 2,500 points and 750 assists. And now he becomes a representative of the Thundering Herd in one of the top basketball leagues in Europe. He has firmly entrenched himself among the pantheon of greatest Marshall basketball players of all time.
Returning to the subject of ambassadors, there are few who are more appropriate as an ambassador for Marshall than Jon Elmore.
n Finally, here’s a chance for folks who read this to help a group who needs it.
According to a GoFundMe page created July 7, the Dunbar Little League Baseball and Softball teams are trying to replace equipment and restock their concession stand after two separate incidents. One week, someone broke into the building that housed all the concession items and cleaned it out. The next week, most of the teams’ equipment was stolen and the building vandalized.
Youth sports are a great way for kids to exercise, build self-esteem and learn teamwork. For someone to prey upon a group trying to help promote those tenets is beyond awful. If you have a chance, head over to https://www.gofundme.com/f/dunbar-little-league-baseball-amp-softball and see if you can’t give them a hand.