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Hershey “Mutts” Keep it Together

Joe Joyce isn’t sure how to explain why he and his teammates on the Hershey, Pa. 3.5 men’s team have stayed together for so long.

“Maybe it’s the sarcasm,” he joked.

“Or all the backhanded compliments,” another player added.

DSC_3028Whatever it is, something is working for them in Hershey.

A group of self-described “mutts,” the team met years ago at Hershey Racquet Club, and eventually found their way onto a USTA League team. This past weekend, the group competed in the USTA League Section Championships in Middle States, playing at New Jersey’s Veterans Park.

When it first formed, the team was captained by Elizabeth Schenk, a local tennis advocate and player herself, who is consistently involved with various teams and community efforts in the area.

“After leading a bunch of us to the championship, she led us free to captain ourselves,” said Joyce, who added that the team was dedicating the season to their former captain. “She was great. We dedicated our season to her this year.”

Coming from a myriad of backgrounds, the team grew quickly and got along well, continuing to play more each year. It evolved into the perfect mix of players, from the perfect mix of backgrounds. The team has been 0-8, 8-0, and basically everything in between.

“We are as diversified as could be, but work incredibly well with each other,” Joyce said. “We have cops, sales people, bankers, a painter, insurance worker, quasi-government, self-employed, etc. We’ve got it all.”

“It’s such a fun group,” he added. “We have a good time, and we pull for each other. We pick each other up when needed and just go out there and play.”

DSC_2971

Captain Joe Joyce

As a first-year captain, Joyce said he enjoyed captaining the team, and he thought the season went well.

“He read the rules, and everything,” one player joked.

“Yeah, we tolerated him,” another added with a smile.

You can expect to see the Hershey squad back in the future, and there’s one thing you can count on when you see them: the team will be having plenty of fun.

For photos from Section Championships, click here. For more information on USTA League Tennis, click here.

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