OXFORD, Ga.– Oxford College and their tennis clubs are to host an open tennis tournament and community gathering that will honor the legacy of Mary Louise Fowler on August 26.
“Basically this is a fundraiser for our athletic department and we’ve done a few of these tournaments in the past,” said Oxford Operations and Recreation Assistant Director Andy Spruell. “Essentially we open the courts up to the community. We like for all people that enjoy playing tennis to come out and participate and to just see the campus and our facilities and just have a good time.”
The school’s court will be open to all skill levels for men’s doubles and women’s doubles. During the event, community members and supporters will get to know about the school and the tennis clubs that have nine national championships between both the men’s and women’s teams.
One of Oxford’s main points of the event is to educate people on who Fowler is.
Fowler, a native Covington and Newton County resident, was an accomplished tennis player who was inducted posthumously into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1983. She won over 200 trophies in singes, doubles and mixed doubles competitions from 1936-1961. The tennis pioneer founded the Fowler Tennis Club, where she taught hundreds of youth the sport of tennis. Fowler also left an endowment for the Oxford tennis club that promotes standards of competition.
“Just from talking to people, one of the things that she loved was seeing the tennis court full and people participating,” said Spruell. “So one of the things that we’re trying to do is open the courts up to the community, so people can come in to play. And then they get a chance to see how she gave back to the community and to see what the Oxford tennis teams are doing as well.”
Since all skill levels are invited, Oxford plans to create a carefree environment while keeping a healthy competition. There will be trophies for winners and runner-ups.
“Really what we try to do is normally you have a few competitive teams,” said Spruell. “Myself, I’ve played in the past, and I played in it just to enjoy the game. I’m not a competitive player but I do enjoy the game every now and then. So it’s really an open format in its finest. Partly the goal of the tournament is to share the love of tennis and the passion of tennis.”
Spruell has helped to put this tournament together for four years.
In the past, great numbers have come to support the cause with up to 10 teams competing. This year, six teams have already signed up. The school is expecting a bigger turnout this year.
“You’ll have pairs that will have been playing together for a while,” said Spruell. “You’ll also have pairs that just decide to try it out. So there’s a mix of competition level. You’ll get some teams that have played many tournaments and you’ll get some teams that’ll just give it a shot.”
The event will cost $30 per person with online registration on Oxford’s athletic page. There will also be lunch provided.
“It is a really good time,” said Spruell. “It is (supportive) and its a fun environment. If you enjoy playing tennis come out and have a good time.”