Tennis and Life Camps

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The Making of Champions

I love to win. Let’s just put that out there. Who doesn’t? But what makes a champion? I witnessed history last week. The scoreboard says that the Edina high school girls tennis team, for the first time in twenty years – let that sink in, twenty years – will not be state AA champions. That’s […]

When The Competition Heats Up, Do We Have To?

We’re in the girls’ high school tourney season in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Which makes me pause. And wonder. When the competition heats up, do we have to, too, in order to win? I will answer this with a story from a coach, a mom, and me. The coach wrote me about two TLC campers in […]

It’s Our Turn

The first summer he came to TLC, he did not smile.  Once.  He left and I remember wondering how he would navigate this world. Russell was a camper on scholarship when TLC first became a non-profit in 2011. When he returned on scholarship the following summer, there was a powerful difference.  His smile was wide, beautiful, […]

A Different Take on Choking

When our daughter was five years old, we left her with Elsabet, our 13 year old neighbor/babysitter.  It was hard to get my wife, Leandra, out for dates.  She didn’t want to leave her with just anyone.  But one night we finally went out to dinner with friends.  In the middle of the meal, we […]


Shhhhhhh…. We are finishing our 40th Summer of Tennis & Life Camps. And we are going to release some news publicly in October of what we plan to do to ensure that the next 40 years are even better. Stay tuned. Shhhhhhh… The other day, we received a $1,000 donation to TLC scholarships from a […]

What’s Going To Make You Smile?

Smile! Isn’t that what every photographer says? But what if you don’t want to smile?  What if you’re doing something with your life that no longer brings you joy?  What’s going to make you smile again? And what if you’ve worked so hard to get to where you are at and you no longer have […]

The Right Piece of the Puzzle

Sometimes puzzle pieces don’t fit.  I try to jam them in where they don’t belong.  And they refuse to go.  Or they break.  Which means they refuse to go forever. Sometimes we need to step back and look a bit before we jam the piece where it doesn’t belong.  Maybe learning the patience to find […]

The Next Right Thing

One of our camper’s opponents drove a tough shot into the corner, and the camper went for an ill-advised winner.  He tried to do too much.  He missed.  He hit his shoe with his racket.  Then he hit it again.  And again. I happened to be walking past at the moment.  Lucky him. I called […]


For almost 40 years we have been putting smiley faces on rackets.  Let me correct myself.  Steve has been putting smiley faces on rackets.  When he took control of the ink stencil pen, no one could wrest the thing out of his hands.  When he had to miss a day due to illness or another […]

What’s The Score?

What’s the score?  We hear that phrase all the time on the court and in life.   It is the measure of success in the eyes of many in this world.  How many games did we win in a match, how many A’s did we get in school, how many sales did we rack up for […]