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Southern women blend cultures into title-contending team

October 19, 2013 09:33 AM
Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus
They speak five languages and some immigrated to the U.S. from halfway across the world. Now united under the USTA Southern banner, the Adult 40 & Over 4.0 women’s team is bringing culture to the 2013 USTA League National Championships.
By J. Fred Sidhu, special to USTA.com
They learn from each other, they laugh together, they play together and they win together.  For the USTA Southern Section 40 & Over 4.0 women’s team, diversity is their strength.
The Memphis, Tenn.-based team, competing at this weekend's USTA League Adult 40 & Over 4.0 National Championships in Indian Wells, Calif., features Chinese, Korean, African-American and Jewish players as well as members of the team from the southern United States. Languages spoken among the players include Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Korean and English.
“What makes our team so unique is the diversity of the team. We have teammates of different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds,” said team captain Wang-Ying Glasgow. “We speak multiple languages. That’s what makes us beautiful and multicultural. Tennis has brought all of us, from different backgrounds, together.”
Tennis has long been a game that’s transcended barriers of language, as evidenced by the tremendous international player fields seen in professional and junior events. What USTA League accomplishes in emphasizing team play is uniting athletes who may not have otherwise interacted with one another to work toward a common goal.
“If it wasn’t for tennis, we wouldn’t be socializing and we would not have met this wonderful group of women,” said Glasgow. “We play a lot of tennis together, but off-court … there are a lot of funny stories because of the cultural differences. It makes the team have fun. We were trying to get some of the better players in the city to be on the team. Memphis is a city that is getting more and more diverse. It’s reflected on our tennis team.
“I am so blessed and happy to have this bunch of women. We all came together as a team and we all made it to Nationals. It was a great journey for us.”
Glasgow, a native of China who speaks with a hint of a Southern drawl, has loved each and every year since she immigrated to the United States in 1989. From a country with over one billion people in Asia to the “melting pot” that is U.S., it’s been a tremendous change -- for the better.
“I love diversity. People have different backgrounds, life experiences and different perspectives," she said. "We can learn from each other. It’s like a box of crayons. You have different colors and you can draw a colorful picture."
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