9th Annual Winter Chill

Abilities Tennis of NC, serving athletes with intellectual disabilities, recently hosted its 9th Annual Winter Chill tournament at NC State University. Over 70 athletes from around the state traveled to participate in this event on Saturday, December 3rd at the J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center.

The Winter Chill tournament featured full court and short court doubles play for the athletes as well as a clinic, and player interaction with the NC State women’s tennis team. Lou Welch, Abilities Tennis Executive Director, stated just how important this event is to everyone involved.

Winter Chill gives our athletes the opportunity to compete in an exciting venue where they can come together and socialize, exercise, and show off the tennis skills they have been honing all year long,” Welch said.  “Having the NC State women’s tennis team acting as referees, instructing them and then playing with them, is a big drawing card for this event.  It is certainly one of our highlight events of the year.

The NC State women’s tennis team has been involved with this event since the inaugural Winter Chill tournament in 2007. Anna Rogers (Center), a freshman on the team, said she was honored to give back to the community and be a part of this event.

“When my coach told us about this event, I got so excited because I love helping out…We’re having so much fun, there’s so much energy, there is Christmas music, I just love it,” Rogers said. “This event is important because we need to make people aware of organizations like [Abilities Tennis], because not everybody knows about it or not everybody gets involved. But when people come out to these events, they really love it and they embrace it. I feel like everyone would be happy making these kids happy.”

When asked about her favorite part of the event, Rogers didn’t hesitate. “I like reffing a lot! You get to cheer [the athletes] on, and say good try or good shot. Then when they smile, it just makes me happy”.

In addition to the NC State women’s tennis team, over 60 volunteers from local High Schools and other organizations, along with those who show up yearly, came to assist with activities throughout the day.

Each year we have many of the same volunteers showing up because they know the heartwarming affect it has on all who attend,” Welch said. “There is a growing community surrounding these athletes, cheering for them on the court and off.  We, the supporters, leave the event each year feeling a sense of peace and a renewal of focus on what is truly important.”

Abilities Tennis holds tournaments and clinics throughout the year. For more information about this organization and its efforts, please visit www.atanc.org.


Article courtesy of USTA North Carolina.  You can read the complete article and see additional photographs by clicking here.

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Footprints Still Happening!

Good Morning,

Well, we had held out hope that the rain would wait until tomorrow!  Since it didn’t, we will have a blast as the party will go on!

Rain Schedule

6:00pm ~ Registration Begins, Dinner and Ticketed
Beverages Available, Silent Auction Opens
7:00pm ~ Cash Bar Available
7:30pm ~ Why We’re Here and 40 Love Begins to Play
9:10pm ~ Last Call for Auction Bidding
9:15pm ~ Live auction/Silent Auction Closes
9:45pm ~ Pay for and Pick Up Auction Items
10:30 – 11:00 ~ Drive Safely!

Thank you all for supporting Abilities Tennis of North Carolina!  We could not do it without your support.

See you soon!


Lou Welch

Executive Director Abilities Tennis of NC






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Winter Chill 2015

December 5th – Registration is now open!

All Courts, All Levels.

Come play in the last event of the year! Whatever your level, you will have a really fun time, especially playing with the NC State Women’s team! Participation is free of charge.

Eventbrite - Winter Chill Tournament 2015
Eventbrite - Winter Chill - Volunteers

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Abilities Tennis Night at Cary Championships

Register to play at Cary Tennis Park during the new ATP50 Cary Tennis Championships! Volunteers and players, get more info and register here…

Eventbrite - Abilities Night at Cary Tennis Championships

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SPUD, Belton, SC


One of the highlights of my summer was attending the SPUD tennis tournament in Belton, SC.  On July 9th, my daughter and I headed south for 2 days of fun tennis and fellowship.    The small town of Belton is the ideal spot for this tournament with 3 locations for matches and the SC Tennis Hall of Fame across the street from the courts was the logical spot for our meals.  Many of the players were from SC and Georgia, with two athletes from NC, Kevin Olin and Justin Hunsucker.

The tournament was fashioned after USTA league matches with 4 teams playing each other throughout the weekend.  We played two matches on Friday and one Saturday morning with the awards banquet following at the Belton Tennis Center.  Each team had a colored t-shirt to identify them.  We had volunteers from all over SC, GA and NC playing as unified partners with the athletes.  Though it was toasty warm, everyone held up well and fun was had by all.

Also, this summer, Play Days are in action with the first one at Aston Park in Asheville.  It was nothing short of a miracle that we were able to play…it was the only dry hour and a half the entire day!  One of our participants had never played tennis and she was reticent to say the least!  I just received an email from her that she has the tennis bug and she has not missed a day of tennis since the Play Day!  Love it!  Our next Play Day will be in Wilmington on August 14th and then we will move to Johnston County and then Greensboro.

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