- Last Updated on 07:56 AM 08/07/13
- BY Special to the Gazette
Bob Cage, an internationally known artist and champion tennis player, has truly left his mark on the Stratford Tennis Club of Danville with a gift that stands 25 feet tall and weighs some 1,400 pounds, counting its underground support.
You have to see it to believe it.
It’s a multi-colored sculpture of a tennis racquet complete with a yellow ball right in the sweet spot.
The South Boston sculptor and painter is renowned for his outdoor sculptures which he makes with recycled farm machinery, tools, scrap metals and other abandoned objects.
Over the decades, Cage has created close to 100 sculptures. Their current homes range from Cage’s sculpture farm at the intersection of Shanti Road and Cage Trail in Halifax County to locations across South Boston, Danville, Richmond, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Maysville, Ky., and Raleigh, N.C.
“There’s not another one like it anywhere in this country,” Cage noted when his new racquet sculpture was secured with great care in its place on the grounds of Stratford Tennis Club.
Cage should know.
This 89-year-old artist and World Champion Tobacco Auctioneer has played and won many tournaments at tennis centers all over the world.
And his trademark, created of scrap steel, now will always stand tall at Stratford, of which Cage is a founding shareholder. The installation of the sculpture was coordinated with the help of members of the tennis club and is Stratford’s most notable new development, capping off a major renovation of the clubhouse last year and three successful seasons of QuickStart junior tennis programs for local youth. Cage, who still plays tennis regularly, said Stratford has the best environment for the sport of any place he has ever played.
“As president of the club, I can speak for all of our members and say that we are happy and excited to have one of Bob’s sculptures prominently displayed behind Court 1,” said Neda Haymore, Stratford Tennis Club president.
“It was fun to watch him work alongside his team to make sure the sculpture was properly placed for viewing.
Bob is our oldest founding member, and he is an excellent example of how one can stay fit and healthy through tennis.
Even today, he always takes the court with pep in his step. It is obvious that he has a true love of the game.
“We’re proud that his gift will be a visible symbol of his long tennis legacy and will serve as an inspiration for future generations of players here at Stratford.”
The tennis club will sponsor the first annual Bob Cage Tennis Classic tournament Oct. 4-6 for adults and juniors.
The finals of all divisions will be held Sunday, Oct. 6, followed by a tennis exhibition between Bob Cage and local dignitaries, an auction to benefit the junior tennis program, a barbecue dinner and a 90th birthday party for Cage. The community is invited. Finals are slated to begin at 3 p.m. on Oct. 6.