top of page
  • Writer's pictureNeal Hagberg

I Want To Be Like Them

I have a tendency in my life to hold on tight to what is “MINE”.  In fact, we have a woodprint in our

house that has two trolls wrestling over something inconsequential and both screaming “It’s mine, Mine, MINE!!!”  I walk past it every day and it is a reminder.  That I should be ruler of the universe.  Oh, wait, no, that I have those instincts in me, too.

What is the cure for me?  Putting in front of me the people I want to be like.  Last week, “Sarah”, an adult camper who has been an inspiration to us at camp, had to cancel.  Circumstances beyond her control made it not possible in her life this summer.  She is sad about it and said she would be back next summer.  And then she asked that her refund be given to a child who could not otherwise afford camp.

I want to be like Sarah.

Last summer, “John” was moved by his experience at camp.  As he left the last morning reflection of the camp, he slipped me a check.   I thought it was for $500.  It was for $5,000.   So kids could experience this, too.  He is not rich.  Really.  At least in money.  But he is rich in ways I want to be.

I want to be like John.

This fall, David Sommer approached me about him and his sisters, Wanda and Diana Davies, giving something to honor the spirit of their late father.  They endowed a $25,000 scholarship so two kids can come to camp every summer long after we are all gone.

David Sommer at TLC, 2015

David Sommer at TLC, 2015

I want to be like David and Wanda and Diana, and the other Tennis & Life friends who have donated endowed scholarships.

But what I have discovered is that people who give money are also usually giving of themselves in so many other ways.  Which is why you have to see this video (below).  David Sommer just won the National USTA Senior Service Award, one of the top honors in tennis, for the time and love he has given to the game.  What is really fun to me is, almost every single person interviewed is a TLC adult camper.

I want to be like them.

Each time someone gives, it opens up my own heart a little more.  My heart has some pretty rusty hinges.  But I’m getting there.  As the Tin Man said, “Oil can!  Oil can…”

Next fall, we will be unveiling a program that makes my heart almost explode with anticipation in what it will do for the future of TLC.  But for now, thank you to all who have made me stop and re-examine my own life.

You help me go from “It’s mine, Mine, MINE!!!!” to “It’s yours, Yours, YOURS!!!”

If you are inclined to help TLC financially in the ways described above at any point, you can always do so at our website by clicking here, or emailing your questions to us at  We are over 2/3 of the way to our goal of fundraising over 150 winter retreat and summer scholarships, and would love to let you know that we have reached our goal this summer.

And please watch David Sommer’s video below. What an incredible guy!


bottom of page