Tennis coach brings sunshine to the court

Emily Fenn, senior, profiles Greg Rouse, her tennis coach.

Even+in+the+simplest+moments%2C+Coach+Rouse+makes+people+smile.
Even in the simplest moments, Coach Rouse makes people smile.

Even in the simplest moments, Coach Rouse makes people smile.

Even in the simplest moments, Coach Rouse makes people smile.

Emily Fenn, Staff Writer

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Greg Rouse, the boys and girls varsity tennis coach as well as special education teacher, is undeniably a funny, kind, and sympathetic person. He has taught his fellow coaches and players valuable lessons.

What the tennis players will probably remember most about him is how he calls everyone ‘sunshine.’ Stephanie Dortch, a senior in high school and varsity girls tennis team player, has said that whenever Rouse calls someone sunshine, no one knows whom he is talking to. Everyone looks at each other and asks Rouse, “which sunshine?” “It happens every practice!” Dortch said. Many other players have said the same thing with a smile on their face.

Rouse said that he doesn’t remember when he started calling people sunshine, but he “started doing it to change the mood.” “When girls come to practice upset, I tell them ‘it’s ok, sunshine,” he said.

Rouse said that his goal is to “try to be more positive.” During matches, when a player makes a bad shot, he doesn’t want to scold them. Instead, he said that he tells them “it’s unlucky.”

Rouse said that as a special ed teacher, he often deals with challenging situations. “When I coach tennis, I get the best of those kids,” he said.

Seeing players struggle, however, made Rouse realize that “they have struggles like everyone else.”

Coach Harris, who coaches JV girls tennis, said that Rouse “makes everyone feel comfortable.” Harris has known Rouse for 16 years and said that his best memories with him involve practices. Harris described practices as “entertaining” and a “relaxed atmosphere, but players still learned.”

“He taught me to keep things light,” Harris said. When Harris did not know how to deal with certain players, he would watch Rouse and see how how he interacted with them.

 Jen Siciliano, the girl’s freshman tennis coach, said that Rouse “is the same person off the court.” She has known Rouse for eight years. “He’s very laid back,” she said.

“He makes sure it not only is fun, but that everyone feels welcome,” she continued.

Rouse taught her “not to sweat the small stuff,” even when she felt like players wouldn’t listen to her. “He taught me that you can’t control the things you have no control over,” Siciliano said. “He has a ‘we’ll just go with it’ attitude.”

Additionally, Rouse’s favorite memories of being a coach are “the guys who come back after they’re gone.” He said that it makes him realize he made an impact on their lives.

“I’d describe myself as the person who is continuously learning and trying to get better,” Rouse said. He is retiring at the end of the year, but he said “there is still a lot of life left ahead,” and hopes to be playing music and hanging out with his grandkids more once he retires. Even though Rouse has been playing tennis for 40 years, he still wants to play tennis and stay in shape.

 

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