Wheelchair Athlete Harlon Matthews is Passionate About Playing Tennis and Helping Others

Editor’s Note: After a major accident, illness or life-changing catastrophe, we have to find out who we are, who we are going to become and how we will get through life differently than originally planned. A wise person asks these questions and diligently searches for the answers to them. Some find the answers quickly, but for others, the answer takes longer. However, the answer is always there for those who seek it. Part 1 of a 5 part series.

Harlon Matthews ready to serve some aces on the tennis court.

Harlon Matthews ready to serve some aces on the tennis court.

45-year-old Harlon Matthews of Locust Grove, Georgia remembers the first tennis match he ever played in Hilton Head, South Carolina in 2001. “I lost the first match, but I continued to compete and won the consolation finals,” Matthews explained. “After winning that consolation round, I really developed a zeal for playing tennis, and that’s been driving me ever since. I was playing in the C division with 32 players. After this victory, I was told that this was a tremendous accomplishment since it was my first tournament. I learned that often tennis players required a couple of years to become that proficient in tennis. I felt very enabled after that win.

“Then later, I went back to Hilton Head, played in the A division and actually won that tournament. When I received that trophy for winning the A division, a wave of emotion swept over me. It was unreal.” Matthews had begun his competitive career at Hilton Head, in one of the lowest divisions of tennis, and then returned, competed and won the highest division, creating a passion for all things tennis.”

After the first tournament in 2001, Matthews became a tennis instructor by the PTR (Professional Tennis Registry) in 2004. In 2008, he went back to Hilton Head for 7 weeks at the Van Der Mer Academy and became the first instructor in a wheelchair to do a 7-week apprenticeship for tennis instruction. “It’s almost unbelievable, how many life-changing events have happened for me in Hilton Head,” Matthews mentions. Matthews found tennis to be very liberating and learned that it enabled him to play and teach physically challenged people. Matthews is quick to say, “I can teach tennis and play with anyone – whether they have a disability or not.”

Harlon Matthews believes that he can play tennis with anyone- disability or not.

Harlon Matthews believes that he can play tennis with anyone- disability or not – and he teaches this philosophy to kids on the court.

Matthews’ athletic journey started in high school where he played every sport as an able-bodied athlete. Then in 1982, when he was 15, he caught a cold. Unlike the colds other students at his school had at that time, this cold changed his life forever.

Next: Harlon Matthews’ Shocking Discovery About The Impact of His Cold

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com

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