On March 16, 2016, the Tennis World lost one of its biggest supporters, Sol Schwartz. He was 46 years old. He was a husband, a father of two, a son, a brother, an uncle, a coach, a mentor, and a friend.
Lisa Stone, creator of the ParentingAces website and radio show, had a short-lived but very meaningful friendship with Schwartz and published her tribute to him almost immediately after hearing of his passing. Her piece went viral, eventually making its way onto Huffington Post.
Stone wrote, “I first ‘met’ Sol in the way I ‘meet’ so many people these days: via Facebook. He and I were both members of a tennis-themed group and both posted regularly, I about tennis parenting and he about college tennis. I guess it was our passion for the sport that first drew us toward each other.”
But it was Schwartz’s commitment to improving the junior tennis tournament experience through the Holabird-adidas All-In Junior Tennis Challenge that provided the first opportunity for Stone to meet him in person. “ . . . when he picked us up at our hotel to take my son for a practice hit, it was like being picked up by an old friend. There was no awkwardness, no moment of hesitation, simply a connection that was already established because of our extensive phone calls and Facebook interactions. This man was genuine and good-hearted and took us into his city and into his home and made us an immediate part of his family,” explains Stone.
When she started thinking about the best way to honor the memory of her friend, Stone came up with the idea of creating a junior tournament in the spirit of Schwartz’s 2012 Holabird event. She reached out to Sol’s friends and family and pulled together a hard-working committee consisting of Holabird owner David Schwartz, college tennis coach Robert Hubbard, tennis parent Melanie Rubin, and Randy Jenks of Universal Tennis Ratings. In addition to presenting sponsor Holabird Sports, the committee has secured sponsorships from Wilson Tennis, 10sBalls.com, Kassimir Physical Therapy, as well as several of Schwartz’s friends and family members.
The Sol Schwartz #SaveCollegeTennis All-In Tournament presented by Holabird Sports, affectionately known as #TheSol, will be held August 20-21, 2016 at The Suburban Club in Pikesville, Maryland, a suburb of Schwartz’s hometown of Baltimore. It is open to all junior players – boys and girls - age 18 and under. Players will be able to receive coaching at the changeovers and will be guaranteed 4 matches under the format created by Universal Tennis. Unlike most junior tournaments where the winners receive a plastic trophy, winners of #TheSol will receive an incredible equipment and clothing prize package provided by Wilson Tennis. Click here to go to the tournament website for more details and to register to play.
According to Stone, “The goal of #TheSol is to continue the good work that Sol committed his life to: preserving college tennis and making junior tennis accessible to all. We would like to create a non-profit over the next few months that can be used to provide grants to college teams in danger of being cut. I hope we can see this event grow into a series of tournaments held on college campuses across the US. For juniors to have the chance to play at collegiate facilities is such a gift, one that can feed the desire to become college – and, hopefully, life-long - players themselves. With the help of our sponsors and amazing committee members, we are well on our way toward reaching that goal.”