PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Friends of a Cleveland High School and University of Oregon tennis player who died in May gathered at the Berkeley Park tennis courts Sunday.
They’re raising money to improve the courts and, in the process, remember Alex Rovello. Rovello died after a jump from a cliff above Tamolitch Falls on the McKenzie River east of Eugene, Ore.
For Rovello’s parents, Jim and Geri, this is about more than just sprucing up tennis courts.
“This is giving them some hope,” said tennis coach Derin Hibbs. “It’s giving them a dream — Jim actually calls this the ‘Court of Dreams’ and it’s giving them a reason to press forward.”
Rovello was 2-years-old when he started hitting the tennis ball on the Berkeley Park tennis courts with his dad Jim. Since his death in May, Alex’s family and friends have wondered how best to pay tribute to a great friend and tennis player.
The answer was to turn the Berkeley Park tennis courts — the courts of Alex’s formative years — into a “Court of Dreams” honoring Alex.
“I want people to leave here and say ‘I’m going to do my part and figure out a way to give Jim and Geri this proper place where they can remember their son,'” Hibbs said Sunday. “Long after we’re all gone, it’ll still be the Alex Rovello Memorial” tennis courts — or whatever name the courts take on.
Organizers of the tennis-court improvements are about a third of their way toward meeting their goal of $175,000 for the court’s renovation. Contributions can be made at any Wells Fargo bank branch.
“All of his tennis stuff is already acknowledged and his prowess on the court is known in the community,” Hibbs said, “but what I’m most proud of when it came to Alex is the man he became.”
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