EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - An Evansville high school tennis team commemorates their coach after his unexpected death earlier this month.
When Harrison High School tennis coach Skip Trapp suddenly died last week, some players wondered whether their season would continue. The matches are still moving forward, and now with even more meaning.
The team has suffered through quite a few challenges. COVID-19 canceled Harrison’s tennis season in 2020.
This year, the squad is dealing with loss. Because of the recent passing, one player tells 14 News they are closer now than ever before.
Previously being the head coach at more than three dozen high school tennis teams, Ray Trapp, Skip’s father, has taken on the title once again.
“Do three things: play hard, play smart and have fun,” Ray Trapp advised. “Maybe the ‘have fun’ is the most important. Maybe that should’ve been listed first.”
Just as Harrison’s season was getting started, there was a pause.
“For a couple days, we didn’t know if we would finish out the season,” senior Carlie Henton recalled.
Skip unexpectedly died at the age of 50. The father of two played tennis at Memorial, Murray State University and the University of Southern Indiana. He spent more than two decades in Chicago as a tennis professional.
“It was very hard,” Carlie’s twin Lucie shared.
This was when Ray, who was the assistant coach, stepped up to fill his son’s position.
“We’ve got a lot of matches to make up,” Ray said. “We’ll be playing about four nights a week.”
The Hinton twins, in their final season, say the matches now have more meaning.
“In all my four years of tennis, I’ve never felt this close to my team,” Carlie added.
Ray, who is in his 70s, still plays the game he loves a few times a week.
The most important lessons he is sharing with the players will serve them well as they are carried beyond the court.
“Similar to life, you have to stand up for yourself,” Ray explained. “Be confident and not let the opponent take advantage of you. Just like in real life, you can’t let people take advantage of you.”
Coach Trapp was a huge fan of Chicago sports, especially the Cubs.
Ray says plans after cremation were to have his ashes spread at Wrigley Field.