Glen Hines Memorial Tournament draws top players, loyal following for nearly four decades

The recent Glen Hines Memorial Tennis Tournament got off to a rainy start, but for most of the event’s six days, a 36-year tradition of fun, great tennis, and camaraderie prevailed.

In this USTA-sanctioned tournament, held at the Arvada Tennis Center, 6430 Miller St., Arvada, CO, players are categorized by age only. That means they play against someone of the same age, but abilities aren’t necessarily comparable.

“There aren’t as many age-division tournaments now,” said Tennis Coordinator Michele Crouse. “Not everyone is comfortable with not knowing what ability they’ll be up against.” However, she said, players in the Glen Hines Memorial Tournament are truly committed to the game of tennis and ready to go with the flow, as long as it isn’t the flow of rain.

Many of the tournament players have competed for decades, Michele said, noting Martha Gulbankian, one of the players from May 17, was in her 30th year of attendance. It’s also an event that attracts accomplished tennis players; for example, the two top players in Colorado’s 60-64 age division competed in this year’s event. This year’s competitors also came from a wide variety of points on the Colorado map: Grand Junction, Greeley, Vail, Carbondale and more.

As a result of fewer age-division tournaments, the age range for the Glen Hines and other similar tournaments has shifted toward older players. In the event’s early days, ages were divided in 5-year increments from 25 to 70; now it’s 50 to 90, Michele said. “One thing hasn’t changed, however – everyone is happy and enthusiastic to play.”

That spirit of fun and enthusiasm had its genesis in the tournament’s namesake, Glen Hines. Glen’s widow, Phyllis, recently described her husband’s lifelong delight in the game, the friendships and the community. “A lot of Glen’s friends played in the tournament every year, so those six days in May were an absolutely special time for him.”

The tournament was created when Apex Park and Recreation District, then North Jeffco Park and Recreation District, celebrated its 25th anniversary. Glen Hines had worked as the district’s auditor for all those 25 years, and North Jeffco created the tournament that year to honor and recognize his service.

Glen was an avid tennis player since childhood, when he played at Berkeley Park in northwest Denver. He later attended the University of Denver and lettered in tennis all four years there. Phyllis and the couple’s five children also played tennis; Phyllis, now age 92, played until she was 85. “Glen loved all kinds of outdoor activities; when we met, I only liked ballroom dancing,” she said with a laugh.

It’s clear that Glen and Phyllis had a wonderful outdoor life together, with quite a bit of it happily spent at the Arvada Tennis Center. She and the tennis community are looking forward to the improvements coming to the center in the next year or so, following the successful bond election to build indoor courts and improve the outdoor courts.

In addition, people of all ages can reconnect with the sport of tennis—or try it for the first time—and learn about resources in the local tennis community. It’s all happening at the center’s free tennis carnival on Saturday, June 11, from 5 to 7 pm at 6430 Miller St.