Tennis tournament honors Carl Chilton - Brownsville Herald: News

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Tennis tournament honors Carl Chilton

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Posted: Sunday, June 2, 2019 2:42 pm

Two decades ago Carl Chilton made a mistake that people from across the Rio Grande Valley enjoy every day.

“I was president when they organized the Brownsville Tennis Association about 25 years ago and I was just kind of sitting there listening and I made my first mistake. I got up and I said a few words and to my astonishment, I ended up as president and stayed in there. I don’t remember how long, but anyhow, I was very involved when we built this tennis center,” Chilton said, as he sat court-side at the Brownsville Tennis Center on steamy Saturday morning.

The Brownsville Tennis Association honored that legacy this weekend with its third Tennis for Life Carl Chilton Open.

Chilton, who is 96, doesn’t play tennis anymore, but was on-hand as tennis players of all ages gathered for the tournament.

As he sat court-side, he reflected on the effort it took to make the Brownsville Tennis Center a reality.

“The community supported us very nicely and we had a lot of people donate money to, uh, all of these courts have somebody’s name on it,” Chilton said. “That means that person donated money and we went to H-E-B who has a long history of supporting tennis and got a nice donation from them and so after a couple of years of work we ended up with this facility, which we are really proud of, and it’s added to the quality of life in Brownsville.”

Jaime Saenz, president of the Brownsville Tennis Association, said Chilton is a humble man who downplayed his instrumental role in the effort.

“He had the vision,” Saenz said.

The Brownsville Tennis Center has brought community members years of exercise and competition.

“The facility has been here since 2001 and it’s a great tennis facility and it really is the greatest tennis facility south of San Antonio,” Saenz said. “And it’s a beautiful place and our mission here is to just bring tennis to the entire community, to the young and old and everyone who plays tennis loves to come out here.”

And they don’t just come from Brownsville.

“So we get folks here from Harlingen, McAllen, you know, Willacy County, they come play here for league,” Saenz said.

The tournament continues today.

For more information on the Brownsville Tennis Center and the Brownsville Tennis Association, visit www.brownsvilletenniscenter.com.

 

mreagan@brownsvilleherald.com

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