Thursday, July 16, 2020

Summer COVID-19 Update for Panther Tennis and Outlook on the Fall

We hope this update finds our Middlebury Tennis Family navigating the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic as smoothly as possible. We our keeping our fingers crossed that everyone has been able to stay safe during these uncertain times.

One of the many ways in which this summer has been different is that we have expanded our team communication during the summer, as using videoconferencing tools such as Zoom has become a new normal. For us coaches, there is no better day than those we get to see the faces of our current group of young men as we stay connected and gradually learn more of what to expect in the coming months. In this blog update, we will share the latest announcement about fall sports at Middlebury, provide a link to a team highlight video created by our own team and was led by rising senior captain Throne Gregory ’21, and then discuss a social cause dear to the heart of one of our rising sophomores Andrew Mueller ’23.

Middlebury College Statement on Fall Athletics
First, we want to express our gratitude and enthusiasm for the prospect that we will have our team back together on campus this Fall. After having last spring abruptly cut short, we have been deprived of the magic that happens when we are able to be together in person and working towards our collective goals. That being said, life at Middlebury College academically, athletically, and socially will be far from business as usual. The college has taken tremendous efforts to detail a return to campus that will prioritize the safety of our students, faculty, and staff (click here to read more).

Recently, the NESCAC conference announced that we will not have formal NESCAC competition during the Fall. However, as each member school of the NESCAC still makes independent choices, Middlebury has continued to take the approach that we will remain open to the possibility of limited competition in the Fall if it is deemed to be safe. We expect that the majority of our Fall season will emphasize tennis practice as well as physical and mental skills training. We will look to be as creative and adaptable as possible to maximize the athletic experience of our players! You can read the most recent announcement about fall athletics at Middlebury by clicking here.

Team Hype Video (group effort led by rising captain Thorne Gregory ’21)
One really fun summer project we tasked each of our current players with is creating a highlight video of their own play that they can use both as motivation and as a tool for visualizing the style of tennis that sets their game up for success. It was a treat to see how our guys could use our PlaySight technology and their own creativity to result in a really cool outcome. Leading the charge and helping his teammates navigate the process, Adam Guo ’21 had a lot of fun blending practice and match highlights (click here to check it out).

For the larger team project, Thorne Gregory ’21 integrated the work of many of our team members and took the lead to create our version of a Middlebury Men's Tennis hype video! No doubt it gets us fired up every time! Click here to enjoy the result!

Such a fun project creating highlight videos led by our players!

Opportunity to Support Cause Inspired by Our Own Andrew Mueller '23
As coaches, we feel one of our most important aims is to empower the passion that our young men demonstrate both inside and outside the confines of a tennis court. Rising sophomore Andrew Mueller ’23, inspired by his circuitous travels back to his home country of Guatemala, is championing a great cause and created a GoFundMe page aimed at helping Guatemalans who have been particularly hard hit by the current pandemic. The nonprofit organization is called From Houses to Homes and is building houses for the less fortunate, creating a free community school, and opening a small medical clinic that serves the low-income, rural, and indigenous people of Guatemala. We invite you to directly support his efforts at the link below or to help us spread the word by sharing the link with others.

Here is a summary of Andrew’s story, that he has written:

“After an endless quarantine in the United States, I finally made the long 36-hour journey home to Antigua, Guatemala. With the airport shut down, I was forced to cross the border by foot from Mexico to Guatemala to make it in time for a 6pm curfew. As I made my way through the country, I was disheartened by families waving white flags as symbols of utter surrender. For the many Guatemalans who already struggle to buy food every day, unemployment due to the virus is making feeding one’s family much more difficult, if not impossible. The virus has halted the country and left families with no other choice than hoping that their white flag will get them their next meal.

I was presented with the opportunity support a local nonprofit Houses to Homes. Due to the pandemic, the organization is now launching a fundraiser for both a new COVID-19 relief grocery delivery program and direct support for their school, escuela Kemna-Oj. The school is continuing learning remotely through distributed worksheets and books.

Any donation is incredibly impactful to many families and I thank you in advance for your generosity. Feel free to share this GoFundMe to any other friends or family who may be passionate about this cause. Feel free to reach out to me personally if you have any question.”

Stay safe and take care! Go Midd!

The Middlebury Men’s Tennis Coaching Staff

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