If you travel down Corinth Road near Jacksonville High School regularly and have ever glanced over at the high school tennis courts, there's a strong possibility that you have spotted Chuck Roper.
Built more like a defensive end in football than a typical tennis player, the somewhat hulking gentleman with the reddish-blonde hair can usually be found hard at work on the courts as he shares his zealousness — by his own admission he is on the courts five nights a week — for tennis with the town's children and youth.
“Tennis is in my blood,” Roper said. “My kids (Christian and Hannah Roper) all play tennis and I have groups that I work with, plus teach private lessons as well.
“Tennis is a passion with me. Some people tell me it's an obsession because they always see me on the court.Tennis keeps me busy.”
It was because of Christian, a recent Jacksonville High graduate and a member of the 16-4A all-district team, and Hannah Roper that Chuck Roper's home away from home can be found on Corinth Road.
“I played tennis early in my youth, then I focused on some other things,” Chuck Roper explained. “Once my kids began to play, I got back into teaching tennis.”
Mr. Roper is a graduate of Jacksonville High School and the University of Texas-Tyler.
He is employed as a physical education teacher at Eastside Elementary and he also serves as assistant coach of Tribe tennis junior varsity and varsity squads.
Chuck Roper said that he feels lucky and blessed to be able to give something back to his home town and to his high school.
“Jacksonville has always been a hot bed of tennis and between coach (David) Hanna, Jonathan Becker and myself, we're all working to keep the youth tennis programs going strong in Jacksonville.”