By Matt Birch
Tucson, Ariz. - The men’s team representing Northern California at this weekend’s 2010 USTA League 3.5 Adult National Championships have drawn unique inspiration from last year’s blockbuster hit movie, Avatar.
Team member Rajendra Vedaraju explained that they all loved the movie. Some of the themes from the film that stood out to them were supporting and protecting your territory as well as spirit and dedication.
"We were looking for a team name, and I suggested ‘The Avatars,’" Vedaraju said. "Everyone agreed and felt that it was a good representation of our team."
Team captain Sashi Muthusamy also explained the uniqueness of the word "avatar" from its Hindu mythology origins.
"The avatar represents God taking different shapes and forms in different generations," he said. "He comes back in each generation to fight off evil, and help protect his people and territory."
The team feels that the Avatar theme represents them in defeating their opponents on the tennis court.
All of the members of the team live at the same apartment complex, Fair Oaks West in Sunnyvale, California. The apartment complex has four tennis courts, and it was at this complex where the team members met each other and learned to play tennis. The team loves this complex and displays its name on the back of their jerseys.
When these men originally met each other and began playing tennis at Fair Oaks, it was all just for fun. Eventually, they were introduced to the United States Tennis Association by the tennis director at their complex, and began to play competitively.
This team has previously made it to the National Championships in 2008 and 2009 while competing at the 3.0 level. This year they are back again, but at the 3.5 level.
Their success has turned Fair Oaks into a very successful tennis community as there are currently 11 different teams competing at various levels of the USTA from the complex.
Team member Ashish Bhoi explained that the members of The Avatars have grown from being neighbors, to becoming friends, to their own small family. Five different languages are spoken by the members of the team, but that has not stopped them from bonding together.
"Our team is like a family," he explained. "We all aspire to move on to the next level, and we all support each other, and had to make sacrifices to be here as a team. Regardless of how we do, we always have a team barbecue after every season to celebrate what we accomplished."
Just like in the movie, the Northern California men’s team have their own territory, in the Fair Oaks apartments, which they are very passionate about, and are representing it well with their success on the tennis court.