Last night I was at the Good Scout Dinner when I looked at my phone and saw the name Josh Parker. I knew why he was calling and I was elated. I answered and he confirmed to me that Cougar Tennis had defeated the mighty Wildcats of Oak Ridge to remain undefeated.
Though the Cougars had already had a dominant spring on the courts I was worried that Oak Ridge could be a bridge to far for them. This is not a shot at the athletes it is a simple fact the Oak Ridge rarely loses at almost every sport they participate in. But the Cougars were not intimidated or deterred by this fact and in the end defeated the Wildcats 5-4. They came home from the Secret City with a record of 7-0. With this win the Cougars are a shoe in for the regular season district championship.
This is a remarkable accomplishment as Cougar Tennis has universally been one of the least respected teams at CCHS in the past. This is not to say that there have not been some great players to swing a racket as a Cougar. But Cougar Tennis is the only team that does not have a home facility. They are forced to practice at woefully inadequate city, county, and state courts scattered about the county. They can not have a home match as there are no more than three courts adjacent to one another. The state has not released funds to repair their courts in many years. The court at Lonas Young park was clearly approved by someone who is completely ignorant about tennis. They city of LaFollette courts are often frequented by the shambling downtown denizens that at the very least make life uncomfortable. I have a friend who gives tennis lessons that has had people wander out on the courts or just start riding bicycles on them.
Cougar football, deservedly so, is getting an incredible facility upgrade. Cougar Softball Coach Rebecca Mongar Collette worked tirelessly to improve Arlis Chapman Field. Brown-Archer Field has long been one of the best baseball facilities in the region. When Renee and Travis Wormsley took over the volleyball program they immediately began working on improving things for their team. The John R.W. Brown Gymnasium has seen so many upgrades over the years. Soccer, the newest sport, received a field thanks to their great booster and local support.
Cougar Tennis deserves their own on campus facility. With in kind work donations and local business sponsorships money could be raised and the board of education could shore up the rest. It worked for football. It can work for tennis. These kids deserve this.
Josh Parker also deserves much credit. He has assembled a dream team of athletes. He has also inspired them to come out and play their hearts out. Some were tennis players to begin with. Some were athletes in other sports. All have played their best. If Josh Parker is not coach of the year it is one of the biggest travesties of justice in local and regional sports. Josh will tell you it is not abut about him that it is about the athletes. This is even more the reason he deserves the recognition.
Gentle readers I encourage you to seek out the tennis team and congratulate them on a job well done. I also encourage you to lean on your local business and political leaders to get this team the facilities they deserve.