Education leaders seek more funding for Black community colleges

by Mark Richardson
Illinois News Connection
Chicago - Historical and predominantly Black community colleges often get overlooked when it comes to funding for higher education. However, leaders nationwide are seeking ways to improve support for these institutions.

Complete College of America and Lumina Foundation organized a webinar recently to discuss the needs of these colleges and their crucial role in promoting equal opportunities for Black students.

Brandon Nichols, senior vice president for academic affairs at Olive-Harvey College, a historically Black community college, emphasized the need for funding to provide wraparound services to under-resourced students.

"One of the things that we noticed was the food insecurities," he said. "So we actually have a pantry that is now on site for our students to have access to. And we know that our students come to school hungry, may not have had the resources or access to be able to go to the grocery store that impacts the level of success in the classroom."

Olive-Harvey College is part of the Chicago State University system, with more than 7,000 students enrolled in scientific, technical and liberal-arts courses. Nichols said because it is the only group of Historically Black Colleges in Illinois, they feel a special responsibility to offer support to their students.

Nichols pointed out that funding is crucial in supporting what he calls the school's "stranded workforce" - individuals striving for a degree but held back by financial obstacles or other responsibilities. He said a majority of students come from a low-income background, which makes college necessities such as books, laptops, child care and even food sometimes hard to afford.

"We want to make sure that we give our students the resources they need to be the most successful," he said. "Next aspect is that we want to make sure that our students and our community also reflect the faculty that we have that are teaching our courses. We're very intentional to ensure that we have faculty that reflect our students."

Advocates from other states also highlighted the essential resources that historically Black colleges offer to support first-generation students and emphasize the need for impactful research that reflects their community influence.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.

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Protect yourself and family from holiday season scams

Jonathan Hammond /Pixabay

Statepoint Media - In today’s hyper-connected digital universe, cyber criminals have more information than ever before, with the ability to reach you through unsecure public Wi-Fi, your email inbox, via text message, and more.

According to a Scam and Robocall Report from T-Mobile, Americans lost an estimated $39.5 billion to phone scams in 2022. Lucky for you, there are several ways to protect and safeguard your personal information to help prevent scammers from scammin’ this holiday season.

1. Avoid Public USB Ports: Traveling by plane this holiday season? The FCC warns that cyber criminals can download malware to public USB charging ports to gain access to your information. Prevent this by using an AC power outlet instead.

2. Beware of Charity Scams: It’s the season of giving, but the FCC warns many cyber criminals take advantage by creating fake charities staged as real nonprofit organizations to gain access to your payment information. Woof. To prevent this, don’t click on suspicious email or text links and verify the organization is registered at the National Association of State Charity Officials or Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance before donating this holiday season.

3. Screen Your Calls: Scammers are continuously upping their game, with total robocall attempts up 75% from 2021 to 2022. Detecting whether an incoming call is a potential scam isn’t always easy, but T-Mobile’s Scam Shield app makes it simple. Free to all T-Mobile customers, Scam Shield enhances your scam-blocking protections so you can say goodbye to scam calls. In 2022 alone, Scam Shield identified or blocked 41.5 billion scam calls in the T-Mobile network. That’s a whopping 1,317 calls identified or blocked every second. With Scam Shield, when the network detects a potential scam call, it is flagged and displayed as “Scam Likely” on your device. Customers who want even more protection can download the Scam Shield app or dial #662# from their T-Mobile smartphone to enable Scam Block, which automatically blocks any calls that match the database of scam calls. Take that, tricksters. To learn more, visit

4. Shop Smarter Online: According to Statista, 57% of holiday shoppers plan to use their smartphone to make holiday purchases this year, and scammers are onto them, ramping up activity during the two weeks before Christmas. To minimize any cyber Grinches trying to steal your personal info, monitor your financial accounts regularly for suspicious charges and sign up for your bank or credit card company’s text or email notifications to stay on top of fraudulent activity.

5. Use Secure Tools: Safeguard your online accounts with Multi-Factor Authentication, which requires users to enter two different kinds of information to log in, like a password and one-time PIN code. It’s like having a digital bouncer to make sure only you get into your accounts. Another protection is a password manager, giving you the ability to securely store passwords across multiple platforms and websites. The tool also provides an autofill password function and a new password generator.

To learn more about the industry’s top fraud trends and how to stay protected from scammers year-round, check out T-Mobile’s Scam Shield Report found at

While cyber threats are on the rise, you can sleigh scams by staying vigilant and incorporating these best practices into your life this holiday season.

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Fighting Illini Women's 15K tournament schedule released

URBANA - Atkins Tennis Center announced the schedule for the Fighting Illini Women’s 15K Futures tennis tournament starting this Sunday. The event, which offers free admission to the general public, will run Sunday, November 5th through Saturday, November 11th.

The competition begins on Sunday at 10am with the qualifying draw of 32 women vying for a spot into the main draw, which will commence on Monday after the conclusion of the qualifying matches. In addition competing for WTA and ITF rating points, the top finishers share a total purse $15,000.

Last year's doubles champions, Megan Heuser and Kate Duong, are back looking to repeat finish. The field of competition will feature rising international players from the United States, Great Britain, Germany, China, and other countries around the globe.

The brackets for the qualifying round are expected to released on Saturday.

Tournament Schedule:

Sunday, November 5th: Qualifying draw of 32 players will begin at 10 a.m
Monday, November 6th: Qualifying draw finishes. Main draw matches to follow, 10 a.m. start
Tuesday, November 7th: Main draw match play will resume with a 10 a.m. start
Wednesday, November 8th: Main draw match play will resume with a 10 a.m. start
Thursday, November 9th: Doubles semi-finals and Singles quarter finals 10 a.m. start
Friday, November 10th: Doubles final and Singles semi-finals, 10 a.m. start
Saturday, November 11th: Singles final at 10 a.m.

Brem Foundation announces new breast cancer screening tool

Photo: Leeloo Thefirst/PEXELS
by Brett Peveto
Illinois News Connection

CHICAGO - October has been Breast Cancer Awareness Month and in the wake of a recent study showing an increase in the incidence of cancer at younger ages, the Brem Foundation has announced a new online resource to help women assess their cancer risk.

The study, published in August, found from 2010 to 2019 the incidence of early onset cancer increased in women mainly because of cancers of the uterus and breast. The Brem Foundation has released a new online tool called CheckMate, a quiz to help women assess their breast cancer risk and determine if they should seek additional screening.

Dr. Rachel Brem, co-founder and chief medical officer at the foundation, said many women may underestimate their risk for breast cancer.

We have many things in our tool chest that can find early curable breast cancer, like screening breast ultrasound, or MRI.

"We know that the average age of breast cancer is significantly decreasing," Brem pointed out. "So that we really have to get this interactive, easy, quick tool into the hands of everybody, including younger women, because the incidence of breast cancer is happening in younger and younger women."

In the past, the only tool for finding breast cancer early was X-ray mammograms. Brem noted in recent years, many advances in screening technology have taken place and now early detection is far better.

"We have many things in our tool chest that can find early curable breast cancer, like screening breast ultrasound, or MRI," Brem outlined. "The reason that's so important is because 95% of women with early breast cancer survive and thrive five years and more."

She added finding breast cancer early not only improves survival rates, but also allows for less difficult treatments.

While mammograms are a reliable screening tool for many women, some women in higher risk categories including those with dense breast tissue often need more advanced screening methods. Brem emphasized CheckMate was developed by a panel of national experts to help address different risk factors among varying racial and ethnic groups.

"Higher risk groups like black American women, like Ashkenazi Jewish women, where breast cancer does occur younger and more aggressively, CheckMate can be a lifesaving tool to find out if they have an increased risk of breast cancer and whether they need more screening to find early curable breast cancer," Brem stressed.

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In-Review: Hackney Diamonds, 12 tracks add to Rolling Stones goodness

by Jim Runyan
The new Rolling Stones album was released on October 20 th and it is truly a love letter to Stones fans everywhere. Hackney Diamonds is the 26th Rolling Stones album released in the United States and the first album of original material released by the band in 18 years.

A full-fledged marketing blitz ushered in the release. They really checked all the boxes on this one:

  1. Worldwide live album announcement with Jimmy Fallon (check);
  2. Star-studded musical collaborations (check);
  3. Two successful singles released in the weeks leading up to the release (check);
  4. Band members appearing on talk shows, Saturday Night Live, and making themselves available for multiple interviews (check);
  5. A myriad of special album colors and cover versions (check):
  6. Teaming up with Major League Baseball with special album art for each MLB team (check);
  7. Surprise gig at an intimate New York hotspot on the eve of the release (check).

You can almost hear Mick Jagger in a marketing meeting asking, “What else can we do?”

Ok, so what? Is the music any good? Yes, it is. It is exceptionally good in fact.

The Stones have been around so long that their catalog of music includes many genres of music. There’s Rock and Roll, of course, but you will also find blues, gospel, reggae, psychedelic, punk, country, pop, R&B, and yes, even disco.

A great Rolling Stones album typically has a mix of several of these elements and this one does not disappoint. There are happy love songs and angry love songs, soaring gospel voices, punk-tinged rock and rollers, classic blues, harmonicas, horns, and more.

You know Keith Richards is going to sing a song with his raspy and gravelly voice. He does, and it’s wonderful.

You know Ronnie Wood is going to add some Steel Guitar twang to at least one song. He does, and it’s wonderful.

You know Mick Jagger will sing his heart out. He does, and it’s wonderful.

In conjunction with Mick, Keith, and Ronnie, there is some serious talent on this album. Paul McCartney rips one of the coolest (albeit short) bass solos you will ever hear and Stevie Wonder and Lady Gaga lend their talents to the instant gospel classic, Sweet Sounds of Heaven. Elton John tickles the ivories on Live by The Sword - does that make three knights on this album?.

Ex-band member Bill Wyman lends some bass and even the beloved Charlie Watts adds drums, may he rest in peace.

All that being said, I’m coming back to Ronnie and Keith. The Rolling Stones have always had great guitar tracks and this album is full of them. Ronnie and Keith really deliver here and their guitar weaving and riffs are superb. From the opening chords of Angry to the closing blues of Rolling Stone Blues, guitar fans will be happy and satisfied.

Hackney Diamonds track list:

1. Angry
2. Get Close
3. Depending on You
4. Bite My Head Off
5. Whole Wide World
6. Dreamy Skies
7. Mess It Up
8. Live by the Sword
9. Driving Me Too Hard
10. Tell Me Straight
11. Sweet Sounds of Heaven
12. Rolling Stone Blues (Muddy Waters Cover)

This all adds up to approximately 48 minutes of Rolling Stones goodness.

If you’re looking for something new and fresh from a band that’s been around for over sixty years, go ahead and give this one a spin, preferably with headphones on to really soak it all in. There’s a lot going on here and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Jim Runyan is an avid tennis player, BBQ enthusiast and dart player. He enjoys craft beers and writing fiction and is the author of Ravage the Moon and Other Short Stories available on Amazon.

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Heart disease is a risk for women transitioning through menopause

by The American Heart Association

DALLAS — Medical experts note that hormone and body composition changes during the transition to menopause can increase the risk of developing heart disease after menopause.[1] The American Heart Association, a global force for healthier lives for all, offers tips to support women’s heart health during this transition.

“More women in the U.S. are living longer, and a significant portion of them will spend up to 40% of their lives postmenopausal,” said Brooke Aggarwal, Ed.D., M.S., F.A.H.A., assistant professor of medical sciences in Cardiology at Columbia University Medical Center and a volunteer for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women™ movement.

As women grow and change so does their risk for cardiovascular disease. Go Red for Women, the Association’s premier women’s movement, addresses awareness and clinical care gaps of women’s greatest health threat, and is a trusted source for health and well-being at every age, stage and season.

“Navigating through menopause isn’t one-size-fits-all, and neither is the journey to good heart health,” she added. “This makes it even more important to focus on heart and brain health at all stages of life.”

The best defense against menopause-related changes is working with your doctor to make sure your key health numbers are in a healthy range, and understanding which healthy habits you can fine tune to boost your heart health. These tips can help:

  1. Health by the numbers: Blood pressure, blood sugar and body mass index should be monitored yearly. More often if your numbers are out of range. Cholesterol level is also important, and healthy numbers are more individualized based on your other risk factors. Your doctor can help you figure this one out.
  2. The best way to eat: No single food is a miracle-worker for health. Instead, look at your overall pattern of eating. Experts at the American Heart Association rated 10 popular eating patterns and the DASH-style and Mediterranean-style way of eating rose to the top as having the most heart-healthy elements: high in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, healthy fat and lean protein; and low in salt, sugar, alcohol and processed foods.
  3. Exercise that does double-duty: Strength and resistance training is one of the four types of exercise in a general workout routine along with endurance, balance and flexibility. Strength and resistance have the added benefit of increasing bone strength and muscle mass. As women enter menopause, bone density may take a hit and body composition tends to shift to lower muscle mass. Strength training at least twice a week can help your bones and muscles maintain strength and density.
  4. Protect your sleep time: Healthy sleep is part of the 8 essential elements of heart health called Life’s Essential 8, but the transition to menopause comes with myriad interruptions to a good night’s rest – nightly restroom trips, night sweats, insomnia. Do whatever it takes to get your Z’s because better sleep has great health benefits: stronger immune system, better mood, more energy, clearer thinking and lower risk of chronic diseases. A few habit changes can improve sleep, like setting a notification or alarm to remind you it’s time to wind down, then shutting down electronic devices at that time. For stubborn sleep problems your doctor may be able to help.

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Illini women crush Truman State at home, 121-60

Illinois' Adalia McKenzie fires a shot above Truman State's Emma Bulman. McKenzie finished the team's only exhibition game of the season with nine points and was 3-for-3 from the free throw line on October 30.
Photo: University of Illinois Athletics/Eleanor Guinan

CHAMPAIGN - Every player on the Illinois women's basketball team saw at least two minutes of playing time in the Illini's opening exhibition match against Truman State. Eight players finished the night in double figures for the #23 ranked that rolled over the visiting Bulldogs 121-60 on Monday.

Genesis Bryant led the Illini's offensive effort with a team-high 18 points. Jada Peebles entered the game to drop 15 points on TSU, while Kendall Bostic, who hauled down ten rebounds, contributed another 14 points.

"Overall, it was a good outing. Obviously, we shot the ball really well, but on defense, we need to be sharper," said second-year Illinois head coach Shauna Green. "We need to be able to string more possessions together. That's a work in progress. We will continue to get better, but there were too many times where we got beat off the bounce way too easily."

The Illini snagged 11 steals and made 21 out of 27 free throws.

From beyond the arc, Illinois drained 54% of their shots, making 14 out of 26 attempts. Eight of 14 3-pointers found their way through the net in the first quarter.

"It makes us really hard to guard when everyone is shooting threes and knocking them down," Bryant said. "If we could shoot like that all the time, we would be very hard to beat. It's just fun, especially when teammates are knocking them down."

Truman State was paced by freshman Molly Joyce, who came off the bench to score 18 in her college debut. Teammate Lexie White kicked in another 14 points, and Madison Niemeier, a 6-2 junior, added another seven to round out the top scorers for the Bulldogs.

St. Joseph-Ogden product Ella Armstrong saw eight and a half minutes of playing time under the dome against the Illini. The Truman State sophomore hit a field goal against the Big Ten host.

Upcoming Illinios Womens Basketball Schedule
Home games listed in bold


Saturday Nov. 11
at Marquette Milwaukee, Wis. (Al McGuire Center) 2 PM


Saturday Nov. 18
vs. Notre Dame # Washington, D.C.



Dodds Tennis Center offers tennis workouts throughout the week

Champaign - Like the flocks of geese that fly south for the winter and Snowbirds that trek to Florida for the winter months, it is time for tennis players to migrate from outdoor courts to the more comfortable environment provided by indoor tennis facilities.

Whether you are a seasoned competitor or an avid recreational player, Dodds Tennis Center, located at 2802 Farber Dr, Champaign, offers several drop-in workout sessions to help keep your level of play in top form during the winter months.

Ian Wang playing mixed-doubles
Ian Wang hits the ball back over the net while playing mixed-doubles this past summer back in late August. Now that temperatures have dipped below 50º recently, most tennis players have started playing indoors to enjoy the sport.
Photo: PhotoNews Media

Workouts and additional drop-in programs are available for everyone, from beginners to competitive weekend warriors.

For more information and program placement, contact Yuri Sohn at or at (217)819-3993.

The park district also announced that Discounted Court Rates promotion will be back again for the Christmas Holiday season, starting Sunday, December 17, through Sunday, December 31. Bring family, friends, or guests in town for a little holiday fun at Dodds Tennis Center. Random court time rentals are just $21 per hour.

Winter Workout Schedule
Monday Lunch Club Workout 12-1:30pm
Level: Players 3.5 & Up
Member Fee: $13/visit
Guest Fee: $16/visit

Wednesday Ladies Day 9:30-11am
All Levels
Member Fee: $13/visit
Guest Fee: $16/visit

Thursday Intermediate Workout 5:30-7pm
Level: Players 2.5 & Up
Member Fee: $13/visit
Guest Fee: $16/visit

Thursday Late Night Workout 7-9pm
Level: Players 3.5 & Up
Member Fee: $17/visit
Guest Fee: $20/visit

Saturday Morning Workout 9-11am
Level: Players 3.0 & Up
Member Fee: $17/visit
Guest Fee: $20/visit

Sunday Morning Workout 9-11am
Level: Players 3.0 & Up
Member Fee: $17/visit
Guest Fee: $20/visit

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Fighting Illini Open women's tennis tournament starts November 6
Atkins Tennis Center, located on the University of Illinois campus, will host the area's final women's professional tennis tournament of the year on November 6-13. The Fighting Illini Open will be a unique opportunity for central Illinois tennis players and fans to see rising stars on the ladies' side of the sport and top players from all over the world. Thirty-two singles players and 16 double pairs will compete for a $15,000 purse during the first full week of November.

Guest Commentary | Some people try to forgive, but they never forget

by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

Some people try to forgive but they never forget.

The people of Israel will never forget the October 7th massacre by Hamas which barbarically took the lives of over 1400 people. The goal of Israel now is to eliminate Hamas by whatever means it takes.

In the process of Israel now avenging their rage, innocent civilian Palestinians are being killed by Israel’s aggression. Thousands are being killed. What is this doing to the minds of the Palestinians? Palestinians who survive Israel’s aggression will forever have an internal malice and hate toward Israel that will never be forgotten. Most likely many if not all of the Palestinians already hated Israel. If there were any Palestinians who had any love for Israel, they don’t have it any longer.

For years and ages to come there will be Palestinians who will hate Israel more than ever before. How many of these will act out their hate in terroristic ways? Israel will never forget, nor will the Palestinians. This is a lousy way for neighbors to get along with each other. The goal of Israel is to eliminate Hamas. Their goal is not to kill the Palestinians. Unfortunately, thousands of Palestinians are being killed.

Have you ever been to Pearl Harbor? Take the tour out to the USS Arizona where 1171 of our soldiers are buried there in a watery grave. Around Pearl Harbor there are other sunken ships and the remains of buried Americans. Even today it will invoke serious feelings of ill will toward the Japanese and what they did to us on December 7, 1941. We will never forget. Can you imagine how the Japanese feel about Americans? We obliterated Hiroshima and Nagasaki killing as many as 226,000 innocent civilians with our two atomic bombs on August 6 and 9, 1945. Do you think they will ever forget? Never. Our country and Japan have made great strides in international relations. However, nobody has forgotten what took place on both sides of the Pacific.

I often see shirt tags that say made in Vietnam. I have a hard time using anything made in Vietnam because of the thousands of American lives that were wasted in that country. It’s in the past but how do ever forget such a senseless war?

How do they people of Afghanistan and Iraq feel about America? They hate us Regardless of any good that we might have done they see us as a bunch of murderous thugs who don’t mind our own business.

Ukraine will forever hate Russia. Do you think Jewish people have feelings of love for the Germans and what happened to them during the holocaust?

We live in a world of an eye for eye and a tooth for a tooth and it isn’t changing or going anywhere. You can talk about forgiveness and loving your enemies until you are blue in the face but the world doesn’t operate this way. It’s wonderful if you have truly forgiven someone who has wronged or hurt you. When you allow that deep internal malice to dominate your mind it’s only eroding your well-being and life. Hate doesn’t hurt the other person unless you allow that hate to manifest itself in a violent way toward that person.

Hamas has demonstrated their hatred for Jewish people.

The Palestinians will hate Israel for ages to come. Israel cannot coexist with unrelenting evil whose mission is to torture and kill Jewish people. The result is an ongoing mess that will never go away.

This is not working for our planet. A world that is able to take care of billions of people is going to be destroyed. Our only hope is to put away our bombs and live in peace and love. As long as there is evil in this world then unfortunately for us all, it’s not going to happen.


He is the author of 13 books including UncommSense, the Spiritual Chocolate series, Grandpa's Store, Minister's Guidebook insights from a fellow minister. His column is published weekly in over 600 publications in all 50 states. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily representative of any other group or organization. We welcome comments and views from our readers. Submit your letters to the editor or commentary on a current event 24/7 to


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Your guide to playing outdoor tennis in the Midwest this winter

The simplest approach to winterizing your gear for playing outdoors in cooler temperatures is changing to a different string and playing with lower string tension.
Photo: Chino Rocha/Unsplash

Urbana - This winter, climatologists predicted an El Niño weather pattern for the Midwest. Usually means above-average temperatures and dryer, below-normal precipitation. The weather the last four days in Champaign-Urbana has turned cooler, wetter, and even windier than anticipated. Fortunately, daytime highs are supposed to return to the 50s and low 60s by this weekend, which is good news for many tennis players in Champaign-Urbana.

According to weather experts, winter shouldn't look this in Champaign-Urbana this season.
Photo: Jonas Vandermeiren/Unsplash

Reserving indoor court time at Atkins Tennis Center or the park district's Dodds Tennis Center after work or a day of classes can be nearly impossible some evenings and on the weekends. A milder winter season means tennis players can play outdoors and avoid the hassle of scheduling indoor court time and the associated costs.

Playing tennis when the temperatures dip below the 50º mark is nearly as bad as you might think. Once you start focusing on hitting the ball and winning points, and your body temperature rises from the exercise it loves, you will forget about being cold.

Here are a few tips for playing cold-weather tennis:

1. Level up to playing outdoors by layering up.

A long-sleeve dry-fit top, a t-shirt, and medium weight sweatshirt will probably keep the upper part of your body sufficiently warm when the air temperature is in the mid to upper 40s while playing. You can add or remove layers as suit your personal comfort needs. Shorts, coupled with either running pants or traditional sweatpants, should keep you warm enough for singles play. Add another layer by wearing Dry-Fit leggings under sweats or joggers.

Don't forget to wear a hat. We lose 50% of our body heat from our head and neck region. Neck gaitors can be pretty effective in keeping your body feeling warm on a chilly day, too.

2. Adjust your grip

When the temperature dips below the mid-40s (and for some of us below the mid-50s), you'll probably want to wear gloves. If you plan to play outdoors regularly in cooler temperatures, consider buying a second or third racquet and set it up - more on that later - exclusively for outdoor use. Depending on the gloves' thickness, consider removing the overgrip and/or grip so you can feel edge of the bevels on your racquet's handle. This will also keep you from having to grip the racquet tighter in order to maintain control of it.

Between points and on changeovers, keep your hands warm by sticking your hands in your pockets. Tennis tends to be just as much a social activity as competitive. Warm up those fingers while chatting up you opponent or doubles partner.

Another hack, this one borrowed from the NFL players who play in extremely-cold temperatures, is to rub hands and exposed skin with vaseline or a product called Warm Skin.

"The idea [is] that it closes the pores a little bit and gives you a little bit more protection from the elements," is what Dr. Samuel Taylor, sports medicine surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery and associate team physician for the New York Giants, told AccuWeather reporter Ashley Williams.

3. String it up right

Ambient temperatures affects the rubber in balls, racquet stiffness, and the way strings feel when hitting the ball. As the temperature drops, the rubber on the tennis balls and plastic strings become stiffer, resulting in a boardy feel on impact. Playing with old balls and polyester strings with tensions in 50s or higher in 40º temperatures might feel more like baseball or cricket.

For a competitive outdoor match, start with a can of new balls for a better bounce. Extra heavy duty balls are an absolute must below 50º or so, regardless of the court surface, if your rely on kick serves to start your points.

Depending on the frame and its composition, your racquet feedback - the way the ball feels and the shock transmitted on impact with the ball - may feel almost foriegn. The loss in flexibility may translate to a loss of power and pace with some strokes. Players who need more power from their sticks can add more mass in the form of lead tape, starting conservatively at first, to increase the depth and penetration on their shots.

Illustration by Charly Gutmann/Pixabay
The simplest approach to winterizing your gear is changing to a different string and lower tensions.

Depending your style and level of play, you will want to have your stringer drop your string tension. Soft strings like natural gut, synthetic gut, and multifilament string don't require a huge drop in tension, maybe three to six pounds. Gut and multis strings are not as sensitive to temperature as their poly cousins.

Because of their inherit stiffness, drop polyester and co-poly string tensions by 10% as a starting point to maintain a somewhat familiar level of performance as a starting point for outdoor play when the thermometer dips below 60º or so, and go another 5% for every 10º below that. Individual mileage will vary depending on the string you are using. Ultimately, you will have to find a tension that works well with your style of play when playing in colder temperatures.

One caveat: Poly strings go "dead" - lose their elasticity - faster in colder temperatures, which sucks because most recreational players use poly for durability. Playing with stiffer balls and a firmer string bed can possibly lead to injury. Plan to string more often, maybe after every 10-15 hours of play to avoid wrist, elbow, or shoulder issues.

Otherwise, until temperatures migrate back toward the mid-60s, skip using polys for a few months so you can enjoy the game outdoor. For a softer, more responsive string bed, switch to a multifilament string like Tru Pro Triump, Wilson Sensation, or Technifiber's TGV. There are dozens of low-cost multis on the market that won't hurt your wallet or your arm.

4. Stay hydrated

A common misconception is you don't need to drink much water when it is cold out. That is further from the truth. Because cooler air is dryer, you won't notice the sweat as much and may not think you need to drink water. In reality, thanks to faster evaporation, additional layers of clothing, and increased water loss from breathing, you still need to plenty of fluids and electrolytes.

Playing tennis in colder temperatures can help improve your overall game by giving you the opportunity to improve your game by playing tougher shots like drop shots and low-bouncing balls that skid across the court when it is colder. Winter tennis is a great way to improve footwork and anticipation skills for the next warm-weather season.
Image by Lars/Pixabay

Chapped lips, lower endurance when playing long points, and mental fatigue are sure signs you need a sip or two of water during changeovers.

Better yet, take one out of the NFL playbook and bring a thermos of warm chicken broth or hot chocolate for hydration and warming up the body.

Veteran tip: If you are playing when the air temperature is at or below freezing, bring a wide-mouthed bottle to the court with you and set it upside down so ice will form at the bottom of the bottle and allow you to flip it over and drink. The insulated water bottles and jugs you used all summer will work well, too.

5. Change up your style of play

A lot of tennis players don't like cold-weather tennis because it is more physically challenging. Toward the end of October in central Illinois, the sun is lower on the south horizon, and there is always a light to steady breeze out of the northwest, making it more challenging to serve and track the ball during rallies.

The cooler ambient air drops the air pressure inside balls and makes the rubber under the fuzz harder, making the ball bounce lower than usual. Strong players capable of grinding from the baseline for seemingly hours and use heavy topspin to push opponents back tend not to enjoy chasing low balls and skidders inside the service line.

Net play coupled with drop shots, slices, and flat serves are the key to playing winning cold-weather tennis.

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Here's a look at area teams playing second-round IHSA football games this week

Unity quarterback Dane Eisenmenger looks for an open receiver during his team home game against St. Joseph-Ogden. The sophomore signal caller aired out the pigskin completing 15 of his 26 passing attempts for 197 yards and scored twice on three and 20-yards strikes. Eisenmenger and the Rockets will host undefeated DuQuoin (10-0) on Saturday at 2pm. The last time the two programs squared off was in a second-round game in the fall of 2009. Unity, then 10-0, defeated the 9-1 Indians, 47-7.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

URBANA - Just five area or area conference football teams remain in this year's IHSA football playoff. Kickoff times and location are listed below.

#7 Catlin Salt Fork (8-2) at #2 Sesser Valier (10-0), Saturday, 2 p.m.

#6 Farmington (9-1) at #3 Central Catholic (10-0), Saturday, 1 p.m.

#6 Montini (7-3) at #14 Prairie Central (6-4), Saturday, 2 p.m.
#1 DuQuoin (10-0) at #9 Unity (8-2), Saturday, 2 p.m.
#6 St. Joseph-Ogden (8-2) at #3 Roxana (10-0), Saturday, 3 p.m.

Caleb Dwyer lets out a celebratory scream as he heads to the bleachers to join teammates in singing the school song after St. Joseph-Ogden's 26-19 win over Prairie Central at Dick Duval Field. The Illini Prairie Conference runner-up travels to Roxana on Saturday for their second-round game. Meanwhile, the Hawks (5-4), who are still playing postseason football, will have home field advantage starting at 2pm against Montini Catholic School on Saturday.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Photo Gallery | St. Joseph-Ogden 38 - Carlinville 15

James Barron (18) and Ryker Lockhart (7) celebrate in the end zone with after Tim Blackburn-Kelley's 83-yard TD in the first quarter of their home football playoff game against Carlinville. Blackburn-Kelly, a sophomore, finished the game with 89 receiving yards and 54 rushing on six carries. The Spartans went on to eliminate the Cavaliers from the IHSA playoffs, 38-15. SJO advances to face Roxana on the road this Saturday at 3pm.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Logan Smith rolls out looking for an open receiver during first half action. The senior signal caller was 11-for-15 passing, tossing 204 yards and two touchdowns. Smith also tallied 70 rushing and ran the into the end zone on a 33-yard gallop 56 seconds in the second quarter against Carlinville. See more awesome photos from the SJO - Carlinville football game here ...
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

A member from the Maroon Platoon, St. Joseph-Ogden's student cheering section, gives a high-five to school resource officer Shawn Hallet during a timeout. In addition to serving and protecting, Hallet also added a little time for cheering, eliciting smiles and laughter from fans and students, in his duties while supporting SJO at Saturday's home playoff game.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

A perfect day for football, Spartan fans enjoy an overcast fall day in the stands.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

An SJO fan cheers for the team during the second quarter.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Spartans Jared Altenbaumer, Braxton Waller and Nolan Earley bring down Cavaliers' Jack Rouse during second quarter action.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

SJO band in costumes

Musicians in the SJO Marching Band perform in Halloween costumes while putting on a show for spectators during halftime.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

SJO marching band

SJO trumpet player keeps in step and on time while performing at halftime with the SJO Marching Band. Click here to see more photos of the marching band at this game.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Spartan Flag Girl

The SJO Marching Band performed its competition routine during halftime. Here, a flag girl performs for one the largest crowds this season at Dick Duval Field on Saturday.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Justice Wertz

Spartan Justice Wertz weaves his way through Carlinville defenders Weston Kuykendall and Triston Thompson. Wertz finished the playoff game with 119 yards rushing and another four on a pass play. The senior delivered one of three touchdowns for St. Joseph-Ogden in the third quarter.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Ray Gutierrez celebrates

SJO's Ray Gutierrez celebrates a stop near the goal line. The Spartan defense held the visiting Cavaliers to just 161 yards rushing and gave up just one touchdown on the ground on a 9-yard run in the second quarter.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Maroon Platoon members capture School Resource Officer Shawn Hallett making his music debut playing Roto-toms during a timeout on the field.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Fans on the SJO stands watch the game in during third quarter action. Check out more photos of fans in stands from the SJO side of the bleachers here.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

SJO Linebacker

A Spartan linebacker Nolan Earley flows with the play as he watches Cavalier quarterback Rex Reels rollout desparately looking for an open receiver. Reels threw just one TD, a 17-yard 4th quarter pass to Mason Gilpin. After the two-point conversion, Carlinville trailed 38-15 with two and half minutes left in the game.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Spartan football team celebrating

The St. Joseph-Ogden football team and students fans sing the school fight song after the game. The weather forecast for this Saturday's second-round contest says fans will enjoy a warm November day with temperatures around 68º under partially cloudy skys at game time.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

More 2023 SJO football galleries:

St. Joseph-Ogden vs Carlinville
October 28, 2023 ... 183 photos

St. Joseph-Ogden vs Paxton-Buckley-Loda
October 19, 2023 ... 183 photos

St. Joseph-Ogden vs Unity
September 1, 2023 ... 197 photos

St. Joseph-Ogden vs Monticello
August 24, 2023 ... 183 photos

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