Friday, February 2, 2024

Tennis at Hillary House with Gabriela Dabrowski & Robert Bedard

Last Saturday I arrived at Hillary House (July 18th, 2015) to watch Gabriela Dabrowski & Robert Bedard play tennis. At the entrance gate, I told him, “you should wear a hat, you are right in the heat.” The man with a colourful collection bucket replied, “I didn’t know they would put me here.” I offered him an umbrella but he declined. He said he would be fine. If it wasn’t for the beautiful tree canopies partially shading the tennis court prepared for the weekend Panamania, and shading the grounds at the Hillary House National Historic site, I think the friendly doubles tennis match would have been a really really hot one.

Perhaps the tennis match was hot in a different way. It included a special guest from Ottawa, Gabriela Dabrowski, a Canadian professional tennis player who recently won silver and gold medals during the Toronto Pan Am Games 2015; and Aurora Hall of Fame 2013 Inductee Robert Bedard, a former tennis champion and a longtime Aurora resident. Robert Bedard was the top-ranked Canadian singles player for most of the 1950s and early 1960s.

“Discipline and facing oneself are the integral components of success.” ~ Robert Bedard

I don’t know much about tennis. It was a good game to watch, both Gabriela Dabrowski and Robert Bedard played amazingly. However, I will refrain myself from writing more commentary on the game. I have a little confession to make, I used to be the one that blended in with the crowd, cheered when everyone cheered. I had to stop. People beside me started to ask questions. Now I take pictures.

Gabriela Dabrowski

I grew up in a small town. We had one tennis court that was part of the school. In the winter it was a skating rink. We didn’t play tennis in school, there were only a few tennis rackets available. Sometimes, we saw our physical education teachers play tennis. We watched from the school windows. Not fair.

Gabriela Dabrowski

But it wasn’t that bad. Badminton equipment was readily available and much cheaper to own. I remember those long summer days, when we drew our badminton courts on the streets, no nets, and our own rules. We used to play for hours, sometimes still going when the street lights went on. We used to have our own rules and we loved when our scores reached triple digits after four hours of swinging our rackets back and forth.

Gabriela Dabrowski

So I thought I’d share some of those great memories, along with some of the great moments captured last Saturday. Again, thank you to special guests Gabriela Dabrowski and Robert Bedard for playing a great game.

Anna Lozyk Romeo
Aurora, ON


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