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WTA • Ladies Tennis • Visits Charleston, South Carolina • A City Rich In History

Photo by Brett Connors Photography



By Craig Cignarelli


The city of Charleston has history in every nook and cranny. Military forts, civil rights battles, plantation homes, and a proximity to Savannah which hosts ghost haunts. People here rarely discuss the past but you get the sense that if you aren’t from here, they treat you differently. They are kind and warm with professional smiles that suggest your dollars and compassion is welcome but don’t call yourself a Charlestonian unless you can trace your roots back a few centuries. The past is silent but important here.


Today I was listening to some coaches having strategic talks with their players. The coaches spoke of patterns and habits and tendencies. In response, the players spoke of unforced errors and missed opportunities. The perspectives were as if two separate matches were being played. The coaches insisted the athletes had to learn better observation techniques and to become aware of what had already transpired in the match.


Charleston’s past matters because it informs today’s society. There is an undercurrent of racial tension and an economic disparity in which certain segments of society cannot cross the tracks. There are tourists and locals and those “from heya.” When you wander around town, you can feel your social status almost as much as the humidity.


The coaches don’t want their players to dwell on their emotions. Letting past mistakes fade into oblivion and letting missed opportunities disappear like dawn’s stars are important mental strategies. But past points can provide information about proper patterns, successful strategies and tactical tempos. What has happened in a match is critical, even if it only gives you “a sense” that something is working. Perhaps they’ve hit three aces down the T, or always passed crosscourt, or twice-missed a backhand down the line off your angle.


Lesson: History is silent but filled with information and events, which give you the sensation that something important took place. That sensation informs the future. Be aware of it!

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