Support Growing for Mumford Memorial Tournament
By John Packett, RTA Contributing Writer
Keith Mumford would be pleased. And very proud of all his friends in the Richmond community and beyond.
Since he passed away at the far-too-young age of 41 in 2009 from complications resulting from a massive heart attack, there has been a tournament in his memory at the Country Club of Virginia, where he was a member.
This year’s event, called the Keith Mumford Memorial Doubles Shootout Tournament, is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, starting with the Junior Kids’ Day on Friday and continuing on Saturday with the adult doubles tournament. It’s a fun-filled day for all concerned.
But the best part of the weekend is the money raised from the event goes to a tennis scholarship at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., where Keith made the team as a walk-on and helped make the Commodores a better unit because of his personality and abilities.
According to Lee Mumford, Keith’s father, the money collected from entry fees, combined with outside donations and matching gifts, has been enough to fund two scholarships at Vanderbilt, one athletic and one academic.
“It’s been absolutely heart-warming to see people step up and contribute to another [academic] scholarship,” said Lee Mumford.
Keith was not a championship-caliber player but he could hold his own with just about anyone. He enjoyed the competition, whether it was the club member-guest tournament, or the state and city tourneys, or the Anthem Club Challenge.
Win or lose, Keith was happy. Happy with how he had played and won, or happy for those he lost to in a competitive match.
It was rare to see Keith without a smile on his face because he enjoyed the game of tennis – and life — so much.
He also liked teaching the game, which he did for a while at Briarwood (now ACAC) and Salisbury Country Club, as well as the streets of New York City. Keith also worked for the Richmond Tennis Association, helping youngsters learn the game.
For the first time, the RTA is getting closely connected with the popular annual event.
“The RTA wants to be involved with the Mumford family, who have been longtime friends of the RTA, since both Keith and Chris [Mumford] were products of the junior program,” said Ginny Wortham, president of the RTA.
Following his death, the RTA named its sportsmanship awards at the Davenport City Championships in honor of Keith.
“I am excited about the future partnership of the RTA and the Mumford tournament,” said Wortham. “With over 130 players entered this year and a network of support for the event throughout the Richmond tennis community, I think the event is going to continue to grow drastically over the next few years.
“What a wonderful way to remember a great man and spend a day enjoying a sport we all love.”
It’s too late to register for the Mumford Memorial Doubles Shootout this year but certainly never too late to contribute to the scholarship. Contributions can be made by mailing a check (payable to RTA, with Mumford on memo line) to RTA, P.O. Box 17612, Richmond, Va., 23226.
The Junior Kids’ Day is Friday and juniors can register ($20) at CCV from 3:15 to 3:30 p.m. They will be separated by levels and play games with top area pros beginning at 3:30 and lasting until 4:45. All of the children are invited to stay for pizza and popsicles after the matches.
The real tournament gets underway Saturday morning at 8:30 and will feature some of the top doubles tandems in the area. This event is sanctioned by the USTA and Mid-Atlantic section, so points are awarded for advancing through the rounds.
In addition to the open divisions for men and women, there are age groups, ranging from 35, 45, 55 and 65. So there’s something for nearly everybody who enjoys swinging a racquet and getting some exercise on a fine spring day.
Keith will no doubt be looking down at the proceedings and smiling at everyone having a great time in his memory. He’ll be sorry he can’t join in but has probably arranged enough matches in heaven to keep him busy for a long time.