Saturday, September 26, 2020
Sept. 26, 2020

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Martinez: Trappers stay in shape for hopefully best tennis season, by Farr

High school sports

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published:

For Corey Farr, the tennis program at Fort Vancouver has been a building process.

“The year before I took over the boys team, I think they finished with just four players,” said Farr, who has been Fort’s boys tennis coach since 2015 and girls coach since 2018. “But we’ve been slowly moving up the standings. We went from last (in league) to second-to-last to third this past year. That doesn’t sound like a big deal, but for us, from going from just four kids, it’s a big step.”

The girls team has seen its number of participants nearly triple to 50, and Farr saw Fort’s robust summer practice schedule as a way to keep the Trappers’ momentum going to perhaps their best year in 2020-21.

But the pandemic put a halt to those plans, and Farr needed to find something else to promote summer engagement for his players.

So he turned to an idea his father followed with his friends several years ago.

“My dad and a big group of his friends decided they were going to do the 15/15 challenge where they were going to do 15,000 situps and 15,000 pushups,” Farr said. “I think they put in like $50 each, and the first one to complete the challenge got the money or something stupid like that. Then I was seeing people (on social media) doing the 100 pushups in 100 days challenge. Between that and remembering my dad doing it, that’s where I got the motivation to try it with our tennis players.”

The challenge this summer for the Trappers was 10,000 pushups or situps. And Farr encouraged his players to video themselves doing pushups and situps and sharing those video on social media. Farr has even gotten in on the act, by posting his own videos.

The idea was if his players couldn’t see each other during practices, they could see each other online to motivate and support each other.

“At first, it was really cool,” Farr said. “We had about 15 boys do the pushups and about 20-25 girls start doing situps. It kind of petered off a little bit. I think we’ll probably end up with four or five boys complete 10,000, and we’ll have seven or eight girls reach 10,000 (situps) there.

“But between all the athletes putting in at least 1,000 of each, we’ve probably had about 25-30 kids reach that goal, which is kind of cool.”

The best part of the engagement, Farr said, was how senior leaders like Sam Crawford and Gillian Snyder set the pace.

“My best tennis players are all seniors, and they’re the ones who bought into it right away,” Farr said. “They’re the ones who pushed the numbers. Sam Crawford, what a dude that guy is, from passing the AP test to playing multiple sports. And being a tennis player, he knows more about it than I do. He’s almost a better coach than I am. For him to buy into stuff like that, and Gillian Snyder on the girls side, it’s really awesome to watch some of the older kids needing something to get that senior season going.”

But when that senior season will get started is anyone’s guess. Right now, the boys tennis season remains a possibility this fall. However, District 4 athletic directors will meet later this week to discuss if boys tennis should be pushed into the spring, like other fall sports have already done.

“I don’t know for sure, because no one does, but I can’t imagine if we are going to be digitally learning that we are going to be playing sports this fall,” Farr said. “So I think that is hampering some of the excitement of my end about some of the things we’re doing right.”

As a teacher of social studies and AVID at Fort, Farr knows the value sports can have on student engagement in their studies, and that becomes especially important in a remote learning atmosphere.

But playing sports while learning remotely has its drawbacks as well.

“The first day of school, I’m out in the hallways with a racket, literally yelling at kids,” he said. “I’ll put a racket in their hands, see if it fits and try to get them to come out for tennis. Not being able to do that will be really hard, because we’re not getting that face-to-face time. Some kids need the interaction to encourage them to try a new sport, especially the younger ones.”

Whether the season comes in the fall or next spring, Farr just wants his Trapper boys to show how good they can be, from their bevy of talented and experienced players to moving to the 2A Greater St. Helens League.

“From a selfish competitive standpoint, if we don’t get to play a boys season, I’m going to be really disappointed,” Farr said. “I don’t think we can get better than what we could be this year. This is what we’ve been building for. We feel like we can give (Columbia) River a run for their money.”

That goes for on the tennis court, and doing pushups.

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