Tennis community celebrates late friend and teammate
The Brent Lail Memorial Tennis Challenge was held October 24-25 in Castle Pines Village to honor a dear friend, family man and teammate. Lail passed away unexpectedly in May. He is pictured here with his dear sons, Garrett, Brandon, and Evan who are now 13, 15 and 18 respectively.
By Elean Gersack; courtesy photos
The tennis community in Castle Pines Village (CPV) came together for a beautiful blue-sky weekend in late October to play the sport they love in honor of a great man, dear friend and exceptional teammate – Brent Lail.
Lail was just 53 when he passed away unexpectedly in May. He leaves behind his wife Carol, their three sons Evan, Brandon and Garrett, and his daughter Brooke. Since Brent’s passing, the community has rallied around Carol and her children to help with meals, laundry, mulching, mowing, and everything in between – thanks in large part to Carol’s dear friend Mayme McDonald.
The Lails have been very involved in the CPV tennis community, helping to inspire others to take part in the life-long sport they came to love. Brent’s six-foot-six stature always caused initial worry for those opposite him at the net, but his boyish and gentle nature quickly gave him away. All who knew Brent would say unequivocally that he was the nicest man they had ever met.
By September, it became clear that the best way to celebrate Brent was with the sport he loved, so the Brent Lail Memorial Tennis Challenge planning got underway. More than 60 players came out for ladies, mens and mixed doubles play and even more came to the celebration at the tournament-end barbecue. “I’d like to think that Brent had a little something to do with the beautiful weather that weekend,” said Carol.
Some of the tournament pairings included Carol and her son Brandon (who plays for Rock Canyon High School) in mixed doubles, and Brandon and his tennis coach Manuel Gonzales in mens doubles. It was a very meaningful way to celebrate a dear husband and father.
“I knew immediately that he was a good person. Brent was always there to pick you up and make you feel better,” said Brian McDonald, teammate, friend and one of the organizers of the event. “This is the best thing I’ve done all year,” he added.
Weaving in some heart-felt humor to the celebration, friend and teammate Eamon Twomey recalled Brent on the court: “Brent clearly defied the laws of physics at the net. It was amazing how with being so tall, he could still hit the ball in the net.”
Donations made during the tournament will support a permanent memorial for Brent near the tennis courts and help with the Lail boys’ college funds. The event would not have been possible if not for the CPV tennis committee (Brian and Mayme McDonald, Chuck Skinner, Eamon Twomey, Vic Pluto, Jerry Eddy, Ryan Haith, Ben Wolfe and Carol Lail) and countless friends and neighbors.
“Thank you to everyone for the outpouring of support. It has been amazing and we are really appreciative,” shared an emotional Carol.