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A Special Tennis Team


My daughter Emily is head coach of the Shenandoah High School girls' tennis team this spring.

And I'm helping her as a volunteer assistant coach.



Although we have some good players, this team is not special because they are particularly talented on the court.

It is special because several of these girls are special to me!

Of our 5 seniors, 3 I have known since they were knee-high to a grasshopper. And I love all 3 of them!



I met Reina (far left) when she was a toddler in our church nursery, coming with her grandmother Jane. She was adorable in her unique and beautiful dresses that her other grandmother in China would send her. Reina came regularly to church as a young child, until her grandmother Jane moved away. I lost track of her for a few years, but got to know her again last year when I started helping with the tennis team. 

Abby is second from the right. What a special girl she is! I've known her Momma Leann since she was a little girl herself, watched Leann grow up and marry, and now enjoying being a part of their family's life. Abby's Dad CJ is the pastor of our church and my boss, as I work as the office administrator there. Such a beautiful person, both inside and out...God certainly has great things in store for her life!

And on the right end, next to Abby, is Hannah. For about 3 years when Hannah and her younger sister were just babes, I babysat for them once a week while their Momma Lee Ann went to Bible Study Fellowship. I came to love these precious girls and have stayed close to them throughout the years as their family is part of our church family. Very tragically, Hannah lost her mom during heart transplant surgery 4 1/2 years ago, when Hannah was just in 8th grade. What a devastating loss for everyone but especially those two girls! I've been so proud of Hannah (and I know Lee Ann would be too!) as she's leaned upon her strong faith and grown up into a strong, amazing young woman. I'm excited to see the plans God has for her.



And then, on the other end of the high school age spectrum, there are some very special freshmen who are also part of our church family.

Anna (far left) is Abby's younger sister. Her family has been part of my life for 35 years. Second from the right is Audree, who is new to our church family and to me, but I've already come to love her joy and energy. And then on the right end is Lydia, another amazing young lady I've watched grow up in our church family.



I've gotten to know the other girls too, not as well, but have still become very fond of them and enjoy watching them play.

So far this year, we've tallied up more losses than wins on the tennis court, but that doesn't matter to me nearly as much as seeing them develop as wonderful young ladies.

I'm blessed to get to spend time with such a...

...special tennis team.



Emily Whaley

We are all blessed to have you as an assistant coach! Thank you mom for helping me and creating lasting relationships which are just as important as the game. Love you!

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