By Matt Birch, special to USTA.com
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Members of the Intermountain sectional team have overcome personal obstacles and are now competing at the USTA Adult League 2.5 Mixed National Championships at the Hilton El Conquistador Resort.
The team is from Denver and competes at the Pine Hurst Country Club. Playing in doubles this weekend are mother and son pair Jane and Andrew Carlson.
Andrew is 19 years old and is partially deaf. He is in his first year of eligibility for this level of tennis and does not feel that his hearing impairment has an impact on how he plays.
"It’s not a difficulty at all," he said. "I learned to just watch the ball and hit it, but sometimes it can be hard to hear the scores."
Having his mother as his doubles partner is very beneficial, as they have a very close relationship and a good understanding of how to communicate with each other.
Jane grew up playing tennis and used to play doubles competitively with her husband Douglas until he got moved up to the 3.0 level. Jane is now enjoying competing with her son.
"It has been great fun," she said. "Andrew is very easygoing and keeps the humor in tennis. He is a great partner, and we both love to play."
Also on the Intermountain team is Chris Hartman, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer two years ago.
Hartman explained that he took up playing tennis after finding out that he had cancer. His energy was low, and he felt that he needed something to do to keep up his energy.
"Tennis was my way to keep active after radiation," he said.
Hartman said that the cancer is currently in remission, but he will not be declared cancer free for a few more years. He also visits his doctors every three months for checkups to make sure that the cancer does not come back.
Hartman has been married to his wife Wynne for almost 20 years, and the couple even played tennis together on their first date.
Wynne said that she never believed that Chris’ cancer would be critical. She stated that he was determined, fit and athletic and was excited that they were able to play tennis together after his diagnosis.
"You can’t let cancer impact your life," Chris said. "Thankfully, it was caught very early, and it didn’t get to be too bad. The hardest part was after my surgery but before radiation. I was very unsure of my situation."
Chris has lived in Colorado since he was eight years old and now is thankful that he has had the opportunity to fight cancer and represent Denver at the National Championships.