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Game, set and match

After traveling all around the world for tennis tournaments, Eric Huayi Court says he hopes to be part of the Paralympics

Eric Huayi Court playing tennis.

Eric Huayi Court, Laie community member and former concurrent student at BYU–Hawaii, said he has found joy through challenges by playing tennis in his wheelchair.

Court, originally from China, came to Hawaii about seven years ago when he was adopted by his parents Tom and Anna Court. Tom Court is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Education & Social Work. “Being [Eric's] parent has made me more appreciative of my privileged life and more motivated to try my best despite any difficult circumstances,” said Anna Court.

According to Court, he was introduced to sports by his mother when he first moved to America, as he didn’t get much exposure in China. Some of the sports Court learned included swimming, surfing, basketball, archery and tennis, he said. Tennis quickly became his main interest because it was the only COVID-19-friendly sport he could consistently play during the pandemic, said Court.

Achieving dreams

Court said he has traveled all around the world for tennis tournaments. Some of the places he has visited include France, the Netherlands, and around the United States.

While Court typically traveled with his mom, he explained how none of this would have been possible without the support and resources both of his parents gave him. “Tennis is a more self-promoting and personalized sport. [We] had to do everything ourselves, including paying for travel,” said Court.

Eventually, he was recognized by the National Federation for tennis and was recruited by the University of Arizona to play for the wheelchair tennis team. Court is grateful to his parents for helping him achieve his tennis dreams, he said. He shared, “My parents and brothers are not sports people. They have been [involved with] sports just because I wanted to be.”

In the future, Court hopes to be part of the Paralympics. “I would also like to raise more awareness to adaptive sports through my tennis,” said Court.

Sports as an outlet

Court explained how tennis has impacted his life in many ways. “Tennis is one of the biggest things in my life because it’s given me a lot. Sports have always been a stress reliever. So if I’m ever having a rough day, I just go play tennis and feel much better,” said Court.

He shared tennis is similar to playing chess. It requires mental strength and engagement, which is something he said he greatly enjoys. However, unlike chess, tennis allows Court to be physically active, Court said.

Stronger than your excuses

Court shared the story of Nick Taylor, an American tennis player who won three gold medals and one silver medal in the Paralympics. “Nick is a really good example of the possibilities for people in wheelchairs,” said Court.

Tom Court, Eric Court's father, shared, “[Eric is] very persistent when it comes to doing hard things, especially doing the ‘harder right’.”

One motto that Court lives by is, “You are stronger than your excuses.” He said this motto comes from the company that made his tennis wheelchair. Court encourages others in similar situations as him to try sports because they will never know until they try. Court said he believes if people live by this motto, they can show others what they can achieve if they put their minds to it.