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Elon Tennis: More than just a team 


Neal Port is a redshirt sophomore on the Elon Men’s Tennis team.

As a student-athlete, Port says balancing his time between the classroom and the tennis court is a challenge.

“We practice three or four hours a day,” said Port. “I go to class in the morning and weights and all this extra other stuff that we do, but you’ve got to be able to squeeze in school.”

Port holds a special title. He is the first member of his family to go to college. Port says his mother helped make that a reality, and taught him a few things along the way.

“She has helped me with good work ethic,” said Port. “That’s something that will definitely help me in the future.”

In late December 2014, tragedy struck. Port lost his mother to Lymphoma. He immediately turned to his team for support.

“The team has helped me not only get over this very hard thing, but they have helped me transition,” Port said. “They made the process a lot easier.”

The players turned from teammates, to family.

“They were very comforting,” said Port. “Their support has been really something I never could have imagined.”

For Port, with heartbreak comes lessons. “It has taught me the value of life and joy every day,” said Port. “And to always have a smile on my face. Always.”

While Port’s mother helped move him into Elon, she never got to see him play college tennis. But Port knows she’s watching now.

“My mom is looking down on me and is very happy to see what I have.”

The story of an Elon Tennis star, giving “Love all,” a second meaning.

About the author: Gary Grumbach

Gary Grumbach is a senior Broadcast Journalism major from Readington, New Jersey, and is News Director of Elon Local News. He has interned at NBC Nightly News, WFMZ-TV in Allentown, PA and the New Jersey Governor's Office of Communications. Follow him on twitter @GaryGrumbach.

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