For many tennis long-timers, it seems as though Sonny McAdoo has always been at Bitsy Grant Tennis Center. He’s been a regular player, a “back-porch rail-bird” often found in Bitsy’s rocking chairs, and a dedicated Bitsy volunteer since 1956. Sonny grew up in Atlanta, and spent his entire professional career working and playing tennis in Atlanta on a regular basis.
His Bitsy playing time started during the early years of his professional career, as owner-manager of his Atlanta tire-store business, McAdoo Tire Company (located nearby on Northside Drive). He’d knock off every afternoon about 4:00 pm, and then immediately head to Bitsy for the day’s tennis.
As a player, he has been on numerous ALTA and similar teams. He and his tennis partner Ms. Tracey Foster, “Miss Excitement,” are past winners of the infamous Bitsy Grant Cholly Cup, a summer tennis tournament. To this day, he still organizes and plays in a weekly (and sometimes twice a week) doubles match with other Bitsy old-time regulars, like Bill “Wild Bill” Pierce, Dr. Jim Howard (our resident psychiatrist), Doug Gandy, and Ernie “Clean Ernie” Garrison.
As a volunteer, Sonny has served Bitsy for many years. He currently serves on the Friends of Bitsy Grant Tennis Board of Directors, where his vast experience and institutional knowledge make him an invaluable contributor and Board Member.
During his time on the Board, Sonny has been involved in many projects to improve the tennis center, including the 2011 renovation of the clubhouse. He helped with the recent effort to bring courtside shade to Bitsy players, through the installation of new pavilions and shade covers. He spearheaded the procurement and installation of the back porch rocking chairs, and helped with the re-numbering of the hard courts (to #14-23) to avoid player confusion. And, for the last seven years, he has led the efforts behind the excellent food, beverages, and decorations at the tennis center’s annual Board Meeting and Holiday Party.
On the back porch, courtesy, friendship and inclusiveness are Sonny’s watchwords. He is a true Southern gentleman, always with a friendly greeting, a warm smile, and an inclusive manner for the entire Bitsy community. For his many contributions and his years of dedicated volunteer service, Sonny was honored in December as “volunteer of the year” with the 2017 Porch Courtesy Award.
Next time you see Sonny at the Center, say “Hello!” Thank him for his many volunteer contributions, and also challenge him to a doubles match. But be sure to pick a good partner: his game is solid!
Thank you! to Mike Maxwell for writing this article.
About the Michael J. Maxwell Porch Courtesy award
Named in honor of Mike Maxwell, a dedicated porch regular, the annual award recognizes individuals who embody Mike’s best qualities: good sportsmanship on the courts, cheerful and consistent volunteer efforts for the good of the Tennis Center and, above all, the ability to extend “porch courtesy” to all players, visitors and railbirds, at all times.