Inside Tennis Team kicked off its season against Sharon Skylor and her crew, with ITT winning two of the three matches.
Skylor and her partner, Larry Smith, won 4-0 against Tim Thompson and N. Young.
In two games where the net got tall, the victory came down to the deciding clutch point. Mark Jordan and Paul Alleyne managed to pull it out after a volley, defeating Smith, partnered with Jennifer, at 4-3. In the other nail-biter, ITT’s Orlando Harris and Terry Slaughter defeated Smith and Jennifer, 4-3.
Skylor has been coming to play tennis in San Quentin for three to four years and just acquired her “Beige Card,” which allows her to bring in approved guests to partner with. To get her beige card, she had to go to a four- to five-hour training session and learn “every rule under the sun.” Nevertheless, she says it was worth it.
“I really enjoy giving inmates a sense of normalcy. I think it’s important to give inmates the opportunity to talk to someone who’s not in prison,” says Skylor. “Guys in here behave better than people on the outside.”
“I’m glad the guests are back. I love talking to people who live normal lives. I like to ask about the latest tech,” said Allyene.
“It’s fun. I love teaching and seeing somebody who wants to learn. Try teaching your kids,” said Smith. He has been playing tennis since he was 7. He taught top-ranked juniors in Southern California and also a boys and girls team.
Smith learned about playing tennis inside San Quentin against inmates from a movie with the Bryan brothers. He thought it was cool and wanted in. Now he loves it.
“It’s always the most fun, most interesting group of guys, much more fun than playing snotty club dudes,” said Smith. “These are a group of individuals with life stories, not just a bunch of trust-funders.”