The Capital Tennis Association takes center court this week in the ongoing Washington Blade series about rookies and veterans who make up the LGBT sports teams in the Washington metro area.
Capital Tennis is in the beginning weeks of its summer league and this fall players will host the annual Capital Classic XXIII, a stop on the Gay & Lesbian Tennis Alliance world tour.
Two of their female players who are both gay have served as social chair of the organization over the past few years and have had great success in boosting the numbers of members at their social tennis activities.
“We are continuing our efforts to recruit new members from underrepresented groups such as women, young players and minorities,” says Jeff Sturman, Capital Tennis president. “In addition, we are promoting competitive and safe tennis for LGBT players and people of all backgrounds.”
Sue Rego grew up in Massachusetts and played a few sports such as track & field but spent much of her time on the sidelines watching her siblings taking tennis and sailing lessons. Rego was in a back brace to correct her scoliosis.
Rego stayed in the D.C. area after graduating from American University and now works as the chief operating officer of Deep Learning Analytics. Last year a friend referred her to Capital Tennis and she began playing doubles in the beginner’s league.
“I figured it would be best to start where I didn’t have full responsibility for the court,” Rego says. “Playing against more experienced players can be intimidating, but I just had a blast.”
Rego went on to play singles and doubles in her first tournament at the Capital Classic last fall.
“For the mixed doubles they paired me with a guy from Pittsburgh who was a much better player than I am,” Rego says. “It was so nice that he had my back.”
Rego, who took over the social chair position on the board from fellow female player Aspen Lagman, says the veteran players have been helpful in providing tips on getting better.
“When I first joined, Aspen took me to all the social events and the veterans were all so welcoming,” Rego says. “There is such a community spirit among the players.”
Aspen Lagman makes her living in the sports community as part of the marketing team at 106.7 the Fan sports radio and as a spinning instructor.
Growing up in Alexandria, she was an athletic kid and focused on softball, track & field, tennis and cheerleading. While attending George Mason University and playing intramural softball, she broke a finger sliding into third base and subsequently turned her attention to tennis.
She attended the Team D.C. SportsFest in 2011, discovered Capital Tennis and signed up for a league.
“I have always had good hand-eye coordination but found the drill clinics offered by Capital Tennis to be very helpful,” Lagman says. “I played in my first Capital Classic that fall and felt very welcome as a female athlete.”
Lagman recruited Rego as a rookie player and then passed off her position as social chair on the board to her. Lagman enjoyed sharing with Rego the ins and outs of the tennis community.
“The bottom line is that I love watching tennis and I love playing it.” Lagman says. “Tennis is a great cardio workout and just works as a good exercise for me.”
Lagman is hoping to step out of the safety of playing in her local community soon.
“I really want to play in the Atlantic Cup but it scares me a little because it is not in my hometown,” Lagman says. “I need to get outside my comfort zone.”