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Dr. Verlynne and Suzanne Volin Family

In 1951 the V.V. Volin family moved into a big home across the street from McKennan Park in Sioux Falls – not far from the tennis court complex that would greatly impact their lives and that of the entire community and state of South Dakota.

It was the hope of Verlynne, a longtime family practice physician, that all eight children would play and enjoy the lifetime sport of tennis. He started them with tennis racquet rattles when they were newborns and was their first on court teacher as youngsters. Himself a competitive tennis player (often partnering with Dr. Warren Opheim), he often hit "forehands" from both sides because he was ambidextrous.

Mother Suzanne was "always president of her kids tennis booster club," giving up most of her summer to drive all over the country to tennis tournaments – from the Northwest Section of the USTA to national meets in Florida and Texas. Suzanne was always a leader organizing the traditional picnic open to all the players of the SD Open – as well as hosting area players during the tournaments – buying extra cots to handle up to a dozen players at one time.

All the Volin children played the game – competing for O’Gorman High School, and some at South Dakota State University and St. John’s University. Mignonne was the first official girl’s South Dakota High School singles champion, beating Carol Sandvig of Lincoln High in 1969. She once reached the round of 16 at a Florida national tournament, losing in three sets to the eventual champion.

Michelle won several high school flight titles at O’Gorman and Rick’s memories include "just hanging around the McKennan Courts – 7 or 8 hours a day enjoying playing and taking park lessons." He’d often hear his mother say, "now keep those wrists firm, watch the ball and concentrate."

Virginia’s favorite memories include family doubles while vacationing in the Black Hills and playing "Sno-cone" sets (bought by the loser at the McKennan Park concession stand.) Jamie went on after college play at St. John’s to start a tennis equipment supply business on the side in his basement – which evolved today to the business at Park Ridge called Volin’s Racquet and Soccer," owned by Mignonne. Jamie also served nine years on the Board of Directors of the Northwestern Tennis Association.

Playing a singles final, Mignonne remembers her father watching nervously while chewing on the green grass of McKennan Park, when the call came to deliver a baby. He hustled to McKennan Hospital for one of his hundreds of deliveries – then hurried back to the park to see the conclusion of Mignonne’s match.

Verlynne and Suzanne attribute the game of tennis to helping instill in their children the competitive fire of "never giving up." That’s a lesson carried on by the Volin children – Suzanne "Princie", Jamie, Virginia "Ginnie," Mignonne, Andrée, Rick, Michelle and John.