Oct. 1, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – When University of Notre Dame men’s tennis head coach Ryan Sachire took over the Fighting Irish program in 2013, developing a focused and unique approach to community service was a top priority.
Sachire wanted the Irish to take on projects with personal meaning to the team, particularly if it meant devoting time to a cause that no other Irish teams were yet working for.
The Irish eventually landed on multiple sclerosis awareness as the program’s community service initiative, a cause close to several members of the program, including former student-athlete Matt Dooley, whose mother suffers from the disease. The team held its first SmashMS Tennis Clinic in September 2013, and will once again hold the event on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Eck Tennis Pavilion.
Sachire said that providing a tennis clinic provides a vehicle for the team to help distribute information on the fight against multiple sclerosis, with the help of representatives from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Multiple sclerosis is a neurological disorder that affects approximately 400,000 people in the United States and 2.5 million people worldwide.
“I think (it helps us be able to distribute) facts about MS in terms of how many people it affects in the United States and, ultimately, the impact it has on our society,” Sachire said. “If we’re able to (help) find a way to cure it or prevent it, then we’re going to be doing great things because it does affect a lot of people. That’s a big part of why we’re doing this and coordinating this clinic around such a cause.”
The clinic is open to anyone who would like to participate, and members of the Irish tennis squad will be on hand to teach beginners, run drills and hit balls with participants. Rackets will be available for those who need them, and lunch will be provided following the event. Participants will also receive a free T shirt.
Donations will be accepted on site.
For more information on the fight against multiple sclerosis, or to donate to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, visit nationalmssociety.org.
Joanne Norell, Athletics Communications Assistant