It was a tennis date that got Kim and Jack Bastable together.
By CHARLES REDFIELD
Special to The Star
And now over three years later, the Leawood couple captured the Regional Family Tournament in late July at the Plaza Tennis Center. They have advanced to the National Family Tennis Championship Aug. 23-26 in New York City. The event is held around the U.S. Open, which will be Aug. 26-Sept. 9.
The couple married in February of 2010, but their first date was tennis-related.
“In November of 2009, a very good friend set us up on a blind date, which was to play tennis,” Jack said. “The date went well from the start, and we soon discussed playing some doubles together.”
The couple decided to play mixed doubles at the Fiesta Bowl Championships in December of 2009.
“The training for that event, along with the courtship of our relationship and, as destiny would have it, we got engaged that weekend and won the tournament,” Jack said.
Both have backgrounds in sports.
Kim was an NCAA All-American and SEC champion tennis player at Florida. Her maiden name was Kim Clingan.
“I played some satellite professional events and then became a USPTA certified teaching professional,” she said. “I was the women’s assistant coach at Kansas in 1988-89.”
Jack was a football and baseball player at Missouri. He was a running back, wide receiver, punter and one of the last straight-ahead kickers.
“I played professional baseball with the A’s and Phillies organizations for six years, making it to Triple-A,” he said. “I played in the winter months in the Venezuela and Mexico leagues.”
Jack moved to Leawood when the couple got married.
“My wife lived there and since she had a tennis court in her backyard, I gave in and agreed to move there,” Jack said.
Why did they decide to enter the Regional Tournament?
“We love to play tennis, we love to compete, we love to compete together, we love each other and since it was being held in Kansas City, we decided to enter,” Jack said. “We always compete together as a family, and because family is central to our lives, we liked the concept.”
The couple has played in several United States Tennis Association (USTA) national husband and wife championships. They have finished as high as fourth several times.
Tennis has always been a big part of Kim’s life.
“I started playing at the age of six at the club behind my house on the courts of Mission Hills Country Club,” she said. “I really couldn’t get enough of it, and it became my primary sport very quickly.
“I value how awesome it is that I can still play and that Jack and I can enjoy playing together. That has enhanced my life in so many ways, through the people I have met and the good health and well-being I have because of it.”
The competition will be tough at the National Family Tennis Championships. The couple will be competing with two other regional championship teams and one wild card in a round-robin format.
“We’ll get to enjoy tennis and see the U.S. Open,” Jack said.
Kim added, “Since tennis, watching and playing is something we really like to do together, winning this trip is a great bonus and a tribute to our hard work.”
And who is the better tennis player?
“In mixed doubles, you are only as good as the female player,” he said. “And lucky me, I have a darn good one.”
And maybe they will return to Kansas City as national champions.