Mike Gasser surfaces after 30 years

Mike Gasser today
Former Frank Brennan Tennis Camp Assistant Head Counselor Mike Gasser(1978-82) surfaced this week after his kids did a Google search and found the old camp photos on the the flickr site.

Mike wrote "God Jake it brings back some great times..Good for you still playing and ranked..I just hit once in a while,like an animal,hit harder now than I did at camp. I still look thru my old album and show my friends and family..tell some stories.. Like the time Roger and I ( I think you were there) went into the Field hockey dorm in the middle of the night with water balloons."

There you have it, the secret is out. Gasser, Dickinson and I waterballooned the hockey camp but never got caught. Mr. B. launched an investigation but it didnt get far. He probably found out about our raid in heaven...I hope he's not mad at us!


For all those former counselors and campers that want to write Mike his email address is:
Photo on the flickr site:

Counselor News

Counselors Douglas Hamilton and Bevin Engman, Ford Hall, Mercersburg Academy June 1977

Former Counselor Douglas Hamilton Alive and Well in Madrid
Boise--As I have said many times, this blog has a life of its own. Douglas Hamilton was a counselor with us in Mercersburg during the '77 season and happened upon the blog. Its great to hear from Douglas, Mr. B was very found of the Scotsman and he was a great player at the camp...I can't remember him losing a match...he was just as good as Eric Riley but you would have an argument with Douglas, he was always very modest. Heres the email he sent me and some photos he dug up.

Douglas Hamilton on the Mercersburg Courts July 1977
Douglas's email:
I was idly surfing the net other day, thinking about my past, and started to put some keywords into Google and came across your blog. For the past couple of days I've been totally thrown by your detailed diary from the summer of 1977 in Mercersburg. Memories have been flooding back to me, making me realise what a great time we had. Over 30 years ago now and yet some of the experiences still seem so clear, though others I have to say far less so. I remember you fairly well, if only because you were and still are the only person I've known from Idaho. I remember joking about how we spoke the same language but couldn’t understand each other (especially when Eric and I spoke to each other) and thinking you were a bit innocent, and that's exactly how your diary reads at times. And I mean that it in positive sense.

Douglas Hamilton now teaches english in Madrid
Just to remind you I'm the other Scotsman who was there that summer - Doug Hamilton. When I look at the names of the other coaches I remember some but others not. For example, and this is bad, I can't remember who I roomed with! I don't think I had too much in common with him so he's probably been deleted from my memory. I do remember you however, Bobby Dickinson and his Borg-like play, Marc Solomon (who I went to stay with in NYC for a few days after the camp), Pat Rowntree, John Day, Becky Craft and Chris Russell-Vick but I haven’t been in touch with any of them. Of course I remember Eric Riley well but I'm sorry to say that I haven't been in touch with him either for at least 20 years. I also remember Rick Fanning if only because I managed to beat him in a challenge. I remember thinking that it was very important that a coach didn’t lose to one of the kids however good he was.

Looking at your blog I recognise some of the photos. They seem very familiar as if I actually took them (the one at the quarry for example). I’ll need to look through some old files to check if I still have them. Did I send them to you? I don’t think so. So, how did you get them? Eric?

Douglas puts the campers to bed, 2nd floor Fowle Hall, Mercersburg, July 1977
I played a lot during my university years (I never once beat Eric in I don’t now how many competitive matches) but I played for one of the top Glasgow sides and was part of the university team that won the Scottish University Championships (we even beat Eric’s university team!). Sadly I’ve hardly picked up a tennis racket since. I lived in Ireland for 16 years and now live in Madrid, Spain. Given the tennis scene here, especially the phenomenal success of Rafa Nadal, I’m often tempted to start up again but have done nothing. What is especially amazing about discovering your blog is that the recent success of Andy Murray at the US Open made me think just last week long, hard and with some emotion about what it’s like for a Scottish player to do so well. When I was his age, i.e. at Mercersburg with you and others, I never dreamt for a second about reaching the final of a Grand Slam. Nor I’m sure did those much better than me like Eric and others. Incidentally, Andy Murray’s mother, Judy, was the No. 1 Under-18 girl player in Scotland the same year as Eric was the top boy. I knew her and played against her a few times in mixed events (I never liked her!) as did Eric of course. It’s a small world as they say and very strange seeing her sitting in the stands watching her son.
Douglas says he still follows the game but hasn't picked up a racquet in decades
As for my life I’ve been living in Spain for the past five years working as an English teacher. Previously I worked as an economist in Scotland, England and Ireland. I don’t have any children but live with my Argentinean partner.

In your blog you mention Alan Liddell. I remember that he was the person (another Scot) who got me the job with Frank Brennan. In some of the comments another Scot is mentioned – Harry Drummond. I knew him well because, although a few years older, he played at the same club as me in Scotland. I think he must have worked with Frank Brennan a few years before. Harry went on to get a tennis scholarship in Texas and then played American football as a kicker. He was wonderfully talented both at tennis and football (soccer). I remember he was going to sign for a top Scottish football team but failed the medical due to his asthma. He was a truly wonderful person and a huge influence on my early sporting life.

I hope this gets to you and you reply. It’s been amazing for me to go down memory lane and all thanks to your diary. If I can find any photos I’ll send them on. Many, many thanks once again.

All the very, very best,

Douglas (Hamilton)


Frank X. Brennan

Boise--This photo now hangs in my Den as a reminder of the good ole days at camp. During Wimbledon Mr. Brennan would invite me in and we religiously watched all the matches on WHAG-TV Haggerstown...if something really good was going on he would pull me off the court in the afternoon...usually the last Friday of the fortnight and we would watch the semi finals. We saw BJK in her last singles appearance in 78 and he was choked up, sorry to see her go. She had such a good run...

Coleen Brennan sent me this photo of FXB, I had to post it...this is how we remember the man. Coleen was a pro and pretty much ran the adult week all five years I was at camp...she's a chip off the ole block and still serves as my coach. She is unmatched in matchplay advice!


Charlie Fenske

Skip sent this great photo of Charlie Fenske...the photo was taken circa 1975. Charlie not only served as a counsellor at the camp but later became the assistant Basketball coach of ISU, Oklahoma State, TCU and Lamar.

August 28, 1977

Classes have started at ISU. I checked in with the new coach a guy by the name of Marty Holly and while he was open and welcoming he said that I would have to play my way back on the team. I met some of the guys and they're all very good including the number 2 guy, Chip Webber. He's from Redondo Beach and played two years at El Camino Jr. College. I played him and while I was in the match he was too much winning nearly all the ad points. Hes tall, serves and volleys and always holds serve, I cant get around him. I got points off my lob but it was hopeless, I lost 2 and 3 with Holly watching. That might have sealed my fate.

Practice starts on Monday and I have 6 guys to beat, this is going to be rough. I have moved into an apartment off campus. The Halls had a room open and I had the cash so I paid rent for the semester and moved in, its very comfortable and my best friend lives upstairs so its great.
Jim Hall and I played this afternoon at the Reed Gym courts. I won but the guy got good over the summer. Holly was there and said Jim should go out and we could play doubles. Jim is considering it but he's more interested in Journalism and Film school.

I got a letter from FXB and Ill write him about getting back on next summer, I want to come back and I know just about everyone on staff wants to come back, FXB said a few guys wont be back, namely Bobby and Tom. So it goes.