Wednesday

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:
Jake,
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)

2 comments:

jinty said...

I'm Harry Drummond's sister. Harry died of multiple myeloma in June 1992 and Alan Liddel had his 57th birthday on 5 May 2009 with a doubles marathon to raise funds for cancer charities after surviving chemo and surgery in 2003. I wondered where Douglas went.

dougladinho said...

Hi there Jinty. I don't remember you well but Jake told me that you'd made a comment here. I spent a lot of time with Harry in my Craighelen days and as I wrote in Jake's blog he was a huge influence on me. I'm sorry to hear about Alan's health but he seems to have got over it from what you say. I haven't been in contact with him for many years. If you speak to him please pass on my best wishes. I don't know if you knew my mother but sadly she died two years ago from a cancer not too dissimilar to that of Harry's. She adored Harry and treated him like a son. My e-mail address is douglascuba@yahoo.com if you'd like to contact me directly. Where are you now?

All the very best,

Douglas