It’s been many, many decades since I’ve felt jealous of a girl gang. But there it is. I’m going on 45, and I’m admitting to the world that I’m jealous. Not of their gorgeous smiles, tennis skills, ADORBS uniforms or legs a mile long. But of their bond. One that I rarely see with women in their forties and beyond. One that is even MORE obvious when they talk about how special their teammates are through tears of emotion. “The Slice Girls”, one of the 3.0 USTA team who compete for the Saratoga Regional YMCA, have something special. And they know it.
From Curiosity To Competition
In 2019, a small group of ladies would routinely meet up for league and lessons at the SRYMCA. Their drive to improve, in combination with the arrival of the Y’s new tennis director, Jed Murray, was the impetus for the team’s creation. After each week of practice, they would meet on Saturdays or Sundays to compete. And each week, their attachment to the game AND their teammates grew.
After quick progress for many at the 2.5 level, the team headed to sectionals in Schenectady to compete against other USTA Northeast teams. The Slice Girls won, and went onto Nationals in Las Vegas. They would again make it to sectionals in 2021, but this time competing at the 3.0 level. In an effort to be accepting of teammates playing at every level, they give everyone the opportunity to play. Even if it means playing slightly less competitively.
There For Each Other Through It All
Now it’s been a few years since the birth of the Slice Girls, but LOTS has happened. Even more than this beast of a pandemic we’re navigating. But one thing that’s apparent with these ladies: Give them adversity, and they’ll join forces to overcome what comes their way. The Slice Girls were the lifeline for one teammate who was diagnosed with cancer and went through months of chemo. From the organization of meal trains to weekly visits, Angela shares that the support she got from teammates “literally saved my life”. From family accidents and tragedies to celebratory milestone birthdays, these ladies have each other’s back through it ALL. Their group text string includes social arrangements, practice invites, and a whole lot of banter. And is the continuous reminder that there is an abundance of love and support, just a keypad away.
Who ARE The Slice Girls?
Spanning a wide range of professions and personalities, each Slice contributes to the whole. And although I have the pleasure of knowing a few of the ladies personally, I got a chance to meet ALL of the teammates, and learn what each one brings to the court.
NOT PICTURED, LUCILLE MASTRIANNI: Loving, caring, and nonjudgmental. The “mom” of the team. “The glue that holds us all together.”
I shared with the ladies that this was one of my very favorite SCOOPS yet. Seeing how grown women can meet at a later phase in life and form such strong bonds was so inspiring. I actually inquired about taking tennis lessons in a lame attempt to try to nudge my way onto the team.
They then shared that I could meet them any time at King’s Tavern for a post-practice beer. Which sounded even better to me. And without all the sweat. Maybe they’ll even let me try on the uniform.