Tennis trainer and participant change into buddies thru shared revel in of overcoming fight

VANCOUVER — Sanja used to be a kid in a warzone. Yugoslavia, 1991. Jim used to be a person with a loss of life sentence. Mind most cancers, 2015. As of late, they’re overcomers, and as of late, the sport of tennis unites them.

Born in Croatia to an actor and a pharmacist, Sanja Lemes used to be about nine years previous and dwelling in Yugoslavia when the Yugoslav Wars started. They might give solution to the splitting of a country in addition to the Bosnian Warfare and genocide.

Sanja Lemes (center) talks to her tennis class at the Vancouver Tennis Center. The group has been together for over 10 years. Photo by Jacob Granneman
Sanja Lemes (middle) talks to her tennis elegance on the Vancouver Tennis Heart. The gang has been in combination for over 10 years. Picture through Jacob Granneman

Her folks despatched her to Germany. Her grandmother used to be there. She can be protected. When she left, now in Bosnia, she took along with her just one factor: a tennis racket. 

“I feel the humorous factor in regards to the struggle is you get used to objects,” she stated. “The bombings, the no meals, you’ll be able to’t get, you already know, the latest Nikes. I feel you simply get used to that.” 

Jim Boyer settled in Vancouver many years in the past. He raised a circle of relatives, and fostered a neighborhood. His daughter presented him to tennis in 2005. He preferred the sport. It used to be stuffed with motion and buddies.

Jim joined a category of older tennis gamers at Vancouver Tennis Heart (VTC). The gang continues to be in combination after greater than 10 years; they’re trainer, a lady named Sanja Lemes. 

Jim Boyer (left) plays doubles tennis during a class night at the VTC. Boyer is one of 16 people in the U.S. to survive as a result of an experimental treatment for brain cancer. Photo by Jacob Granneman
Jim Boyer (left) performs doubles tennis all the way through a category evening on the VTC. Boyer is one among 16 folks within the U.S. to live to tell the tale because of an experimental remedy for mind most cancers. Picture through Jacob Granneman

On Aug. 21, 2015, Jim needed to put down his racket. He used to be advised, “You might have very competitive Glioblastoma.” Mind most cancers. He used to be given an extraordinary probability. Jim can be one among 16 folks, national, to obtain an experimental remedy.

Sadly, 15 folks in that crew, succumbed to their most cancers. One survived; Jim Boyer. He picked up his racket once more. He’s nonetheless maintaining it. Certain and grateful.  

“I’m the one person who had certain effects. Everyone else had long past on and, and I’ve been so blessed that that mine went away,” he stated. “Bit by bit, it went away and now my tumors long past, my most cancers is long past. You by no means know when lifestyles offers you a flip. Tennis has simply been an exquisite journey, to do workout and be motivated and be round folks and feature amusing with folks.”

Sanja began taking part in tennis after deciding she preferred the easy-going however nonetheless aggressive surroundings greater than gymnastics. As a gymnast, she used to be the remaining Yugoslavian Champion below 12.  

A few of her first recollections of the sport are taking part in in opposition to an outside wall close to the place she lived in Bosnia for 18 months after coming back from her grandmother’s in Germany.

“I had that wall and a tennis racket for my peace,” she stated.

“Once we got here to Germany, my uncle, he took me to a tennis membership, and he’s like, ‘She has ability, however we don’t have any way to offer for this recreation,’” she stated. “So there used to be a trainer, and I feel he used to be from Czech Republic, and he noticed me hit a couple of balls and he’s like, ‘Yeah, we’ll deal with her.’ I don’t know what made him do this, however I felt like they concept I had some ability.”

Images from the Yugoslav Wars of 1991 to 2001. Image from Wikipedia Commons
Pictures from the Yugoslav Wars of 1991 to 2001. Symbol from Wikipedia Commons

When her folks had been in a position to convey the circle of relatives to the US, they settled in Washington. Her father have been staring at “Sleepless in Seattle” simply earlier than his immigration interview. 

As soon as within the space, Sanja started taking part in tennis in earnest, as a part of a crew. Sooner than lengthy, she gained her full-ride scholarship to the College of Portland. She would cross directly to excel in this system and play on a qualified degree, attaining without equal identify of Nationwide Grownup Combined Champion. 

“That used to be superior, as a result of … tennis is more or less a person recreation, and I’m at all times a folks individual,” she stated. “I’m at all times arduous on myself, and, you already know, I feel that used to be a perfect revel in at UP that I used to be in a position to learn how to calm down a little bit bit and take the drive off myself a little bit bit being round a crew.” 

After beating his most cancers, Jim returned to the VTC and his circle of relatives of gamers coached through Sanja. Now, simply as earlier than, he’s the lifetime of the celebration. He has even introduced a number of buddies into the game during the elegance.

The category is a closed crew, and Sanja has lead them over the years, as soon as and some time including a brand new face. Many individuals, together with Jim, had been with the crowd for see you later, they’re recognized to joking say, “Anyone has to die to for a brand new individual to get on this elegance!” 

Sanja Lemes talks with her student, including Jim Boyer, during a night of practice at the VTC. Photo by Jacob Granneman
Sanja Lemes talks along with her pupil, together with Jim Boyer, all the way through an evening of apply on the VTC. Picture through Jacob Granneman

The friendship now shared through Sanja and Jim is one among distinctive views. Via every’s struggles, whether or not or not it’s struggle or sickness, they selected to stay certain and grateful. And so they nonetheless do. 

“Don’t let demanding situations take you down. Have a look at the certain facet,” Jim stated. “Regardless what occurs. I feel on occasion whilst you undergo turmoil like that, you have got a distinct view, and it’s to feel free and be certain and be grateful for the issues you have got.”

“Tennis has given me such a lot in lifestyles,” Sanja stated. “I don’t take into accounts my task being a task essentially, as a result of I am getting to, you already know, play with Jim … And I am getting to spend my time instructing children and adults and simply, it’s placing smiles on their faces as neatly, which is more or less a pleasing factor.”
Now the Head Professional at VTC, Sanja, at the side of Jim encourages everybody to come back out and check out tennis. “It’s a perfect exercise,” they are saying, “a recreation for plenty of personalities.” A recreation it’s, however for Sanja Lemes and Jim Boyer tennis will at all times be a lot more, as a result of with tennis got here their triumph. 

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