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2,200 miles later, Mayeda joins team at League State Champs

May 23, 2015 12:24 PM

Jonathon Braden
USTA South Carolina

AIKEN, S.C. – Mike Mayeda thought it would be silly.

Why would he, a new resident of Los Angeles, fly across the country just to play with old friends in a USTA South Carolina league state championship?

Yet Thursday, Mayeda boarded a plane at LAX and flew more than 2,200 miles. And today, he’s here playing in the USTA South Carolina 18 & Over 4.0-5.0 League State Championships.

“I’m just really looking forward to seeing what (state championships) are like,” Mayeda said earlier this week. “I think it will be pretty cool.”

A nice gesture from his 4.0 Lexington teammates also brought him back to South Carolina.

Months before the season ended, Mayeda’s teammates already knew he and his wife, Donna, would be moving to California in May for her work and to be closer to family.

Mayeda_photo
Mayeda might be our most dedicated player at this weekend's championships. (USTA SC photo.)


So weeks ago, the campaign for Mayeda to return for the state championships began.

“You gotta come back,” Mayeda remembers his team captain, Michael Slapnick, saying after a Lexington Area Tennis Association league match last month.

“That’s ridiculous,” Mayeda recalls saying.

Mayeda is a strong singles and doubles player. Earlier this year, he and a partner won an indoor tournament at the University of South Carolina.

So Slapnick apparently quickly upped the ante.

If you come back, Mayeda remembers Slapnick saying, “I’ll chip in $100 (for your flight) and if we win I’ll chip in $200!”

Slapnick apparently thought even more needed to be done, Mayeda said.

The team captain walked around to his players, asking them for $20 each. “Slapnick started going around, shaking everybody down for money essentially,” Mayeda said.

Call it what you want – a shakedown, a plea, a nice gesture – but it worked, for Mayeda and for the team. The team – and Mayeda’s doubles team – won their first match this morning against a group from Florence.

“We’re all chipping in money,” Slapnick said as he watched Mayeda.

They also might have to work out a future arrangement.

If the team wins their division this weekend, they can advance to the USTA League 18 & Over Southern Sectional Championships, which are scheduled for July 24-26 in Mobile, Alabama.

 

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