There was a time, years ago, when Celesta Smith would travel all over to watch her mom compete in tennis tournaments throughout the Middle States area. She quickly developed a liking for the game and made her mother, Bernadette, very aware of it.
"One day she looked up at me and said, ‘Mom, I want to play on a team with you one day," said Bernadette Smith. "Honestly I really wasn’t sure it would ever really happen."
Just this past weekend at League Section Championships, the duo took the court as doubles partners for the Delaware-based 4.5 women’s team during Middle States’ Adult League Championships.
"We have a good time with it," Bernadette said after their final match on Sunday afternoon. "It’s a lot of fun."
The two say they're good teammates. But how would Celesta, now 18, do in a singles match against the woman who first introduced her to the game?
"Well, there was a while there that she couldn’t beat me, but she kicks my butt now," Bernadette said, laughing. "I have mixed feelings about losing to her."
Luckily for Bernadette, she doesn’t have too much to be ashamed of when it comes to losing to her daughter. Celesta, one of the top recruits in Delaware, will travel to LaSalle University this week, where she earned a tennis scholarship. Celesta will be a freshman this year.
"I really just like the campus and what it has to offer for my major," she said. "I’m definitely excited for my first year."
Being so close, the family will always have a chance to take the short trip north to watch Celesta’s tennis matches, which begin Sept. 15 at Philadelphia University. And there’s no doubt the mother-daughter combo will be back for another chance at section championships next year.
"We got close this year," Bernadette said, "but next year I think we’ll be even better."