INDEPENDENCE — David Glade hasn’t been playing tennis long, but he fell in love with it the moment he picked up a racket.
“I’ve played since spring of sophomore year with some friends just for fun,” said the senior from Central High School. “I always had a lot of fun playing, so I decided to go out for the team my junior year. A buddy of mine and I watched a tennis practice and decided to go to the vacant courts at Western Oregon University with some old rackets and tennis balls. It became an almost everyday thing for me.”
He’s drawn to the sport because of its levels of complexity.
“There’s a hidden complexity to it that involves much more strategy in shot selection than you would initially think,” he said.
Glade established himself as a committed player from day one, said head coach Patti Youngren.
“He got out every chance the weather would allow to hone his game pre-season,” she said.
His commitment to the game, and his leadership on the courts, and in the water during swim season, were some of the reasons why Youngren picked Glade as the I-O’s Athlete of the Year for tennis.
“While helping with swimming, I saw him as an active leader there and I was looking forward to working beside him during tennis season,” she said. “Pre-season, he helped me survey the boys who were coming back to help me order new shirts for their season. Unfortunately, none ever got to wear them in a challenge.”
During fall and winter — even during swim season — Glade was out on the tennis courts, practicing when weather would allow.
He held out hope that the initial two-week school closure would lift, and he could get back to playing with his team.
That didn’t happen, however.
“When I heard that school and sports would be completely canceled, I was so disappointed,” he said, “since I played nearly every day over the summer and as much as I could during the seasons prior to spring. I was excited to see all of my practice hopefully pay off, but instead I was left behind only to watch the days of the season I wanted the most pass me by.”
As soon as the courts open back up, he plans on getting back out there, Youngren said.
“I saw him the other day to retrieve his shirt and he said he is not giving up tennis,” she said. “Tennis is a lifetime sport, and I think David will continue to be a force to reckon with on the courts.”
Glade hopes tennis is in his future for the long-haul.
“I hope to play tennis for many years to come,” he said. “I dream of being able to play on a college team, or maybe even become a coach in order to help other young athletes achieve their goals in the sport.”
Even though he only played one season with the Panthers, Glade looks back on that season with good memories.
“Last year I had the opportunity to watch my teammate compete in state, and it was a great time warming up with him and watching his and the other high-level matches,” he said. “I will miss practicing with my good friends as well as watching them develop into better players. I will also miss competing, and playing matches against other players from different schools.”