The town of Great Neck will spend the morning of Saturday, October 30 “rallying” around a beloved member of the community and volunteer coach of the Great Neck North Girls Varsity Tennis team.
“Play it Forward” for MS, a mixed doubles tournament for Great Neck kids and family members, was established by two players on the tennis team, as a way to show support for Mindy Alpert –the assistant coach, who has been plagued with MS for 25 years.
Tennis has been a part of Mindy Alpert’s life for decades. The North High graduate was taught to play by her father and she excelled at an early age. She was a ranked player in high school and college and a fixture at tournaments along the east coast in her teens.
When Alpert was diagnosed with MS, her world came crashing down. She was forced to leave a successful career at Smith Barney, and spent much of her time drained of energy and in discomfort…and some days unable to get out of bed. Alpert decided to use as much of her newly-free time as possible teaching students to succeed in the sport she loves. Former Great Neck North Athletic Director, Peter Hugo, offered Alpert a volunteer coaching job with the girls tennis team 15 years ago and she’s been an asset to the team ever since. She even added badminton and basketball to her coaching repertoire.
“I’ve always enjoyed coaching,” Alpert said. “Coaching is better than any medication I could take for MS.” Alpert makes it a priority to be at as many practices and games as her body will allow, but sometimes MS interferes with her ability to coach, so she speaks to the team about her limitations at the beginning of each season.
There is no cure for MS, so any diagnosis is a life sentence. Alpert’s resilience and positive attitude has been an inspiration to the whole team. “The fact that Mindy is suffering with symptoms of MS every day but still makes it a priority to come and coach us is amazing, “ said Alana Shapiro, a junior on the Great Neck North Varsity tennis team and co-organizer of the event. “Mindy is always positive and encouraging and we are so lucky to have her as part of our team,” said Sophie Frenkel, also a junior and the other co-organizer of the event.
“The girls on the team provide me way more that I could ever give them,” says Alpert. “Their spirit, eagerness to learn and grow as players gives me life.”
Entrance fees and proceeds from a raffle (prizes contributed by more than a dozen local merchants) and bake sale will be donated to the National MS Society.