Tennis team springs forward
BY MARTHA BENNETT ON MARCH 21, 2014
Spring has sprung and tennis has too, but with an unexpected turn of events. This past month, tennis coach Michael Walter suffered a mild heart attack. The shock factor of this news has startled students and staff as to how a healthy and young teacher could suffer something this dangerous.
“This was just a really unusual case because I have no risk factors,” Walter said. “So doctors are still not sure as to why this happened the way it did. Otherwise, I am one-hundred percent healthy, which is a really good thing.”
With Walter feeling satisfactory and keeping up the healthy habits he has always practiced, there should be no worries for his students or the tennis team.
“I was surprised because he looks like he’s in perfect health,” sophomore tennis player Andrew McKinnon said. “When you hear ‘heart attack,’ you automatically think of someone who doesn’t take care of themselves and is usually a lot older than someone like Walter.”
Even though Walter was not expecting for something like this to happen, he also didn’t expect the reaction he got from Rose students and the tennis team.
“I don’t know if this has been [necessarily] a good thing, but I have received a lot of texts, lots of visits, and just overall support from the team which has meant a lot,” Walter said. “I even had two of my players come visit me on their volunteer hours at the hospital, which I thought was really neat.”
With this minor health scare stepping out of the big picture, it is now time for the tennis team to focus on having a better season in a new conference. After being placed in a larger conference last season, Rose tennis is now participating in a conference that is more well-tailored to this spring semester team.
“I’m most excited for the new conference this season,” McKinnon said. “I feel like last year we were put on a tough schedule that didn’t reflect our ability and talent on our team, so I think this year will be better than the last.”
Coach Walter is also ready to get invested in this 2014 spring season.
“I’m just ready to really get into practicing and improving the team,” Walter said. “This is something I really enjoy doing so I’m excited to get back into it.”
Walter has coached the Rose tennis team for seven seasons now and plans to put down the racquet after this year.
“Walter’s so awesome, it’s just kinda weird thinking about what’s going to happen when we don’t have him with us,” McKinnon said.
Focusing on what is to become of this year’s season, players all around are feeling excited about Walter, the new conference and the chance to get back out on the courts; especially with the unusual winter weather creating practice conflicts in the early season.
With the warm weather lingering back to the Greenville area, the season continues to promise a fresh start with strong players and coaches.The team already had its first match on Feb. 26, and is continuing to play throughout March and into the beginning April.
“It’s super fun, duh!” McKinnon said when responding as to why he plays tennis. “Tennis is not the most popular sport at Rose, but it is one where you get to have a lot of fun and learn a lot.”