Photo by Matt Stensland
Jack Burger, 16, of Steamboat Springs, serves the ball during a Friday match. All eight members of the Burger family are participating in this weekend's Steamboat Tennis Association Championships.
Steamboat Springs The hard part wasn't putting a smile on C.J. Burger's face.
No, the hard part came early Saturday morning at the Steamboat Tennis Association Championships when C.J. finished his match, walked into the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs and had to pick which family member to watch.
Not an easy proposition when including C.J. and his wife, Darby, all eight members of the Burger family were playing in the tournament.
"It's great to not have to run people around, but it's also great to have all your kids playing a sport you love," C.J. said. "It's amazing. Darby and I were talking about it (Friday) and you look at each other and go, 'Wow, this is pretty cool. Six of your kids enjoy the sport you enjoy so much.'"
All ages and abilities were on display with the Burger family, including 19-year-old Brian, 16-year-olds Jack and Keegan, 9-year-olds Tatum and Shae and 8-year-old Teague.
At one point Saturday, Darby, Jack, Keegan and Tatum were playing simultaneously on courts next to or near one another.
"It's the first tournament we've done with everybody playing," Jack said. "Now that my younger siblings are old enough to play. It's a lot of fun."
But it's nothing new for the Burger family. About as active as a family can get, other group activities include skiing, water skiing and wake boarding.
"We just added a new one," Darby said about tennis. "It's nice because everybody can do it."
Although each child couldn't remember exactly how they got into the game, they all could recall that it's been a part of the family since they can remember.
C.J. and Darby said they've been playing for most of their lives and that when Brian was first born, they started to play with him. When the next kids were born, they played with them, and when the next kids were born, they played with them.
"It's something you enjoy and you want to pass on," C.J. said. "It's a sport for life."
"I've been playing for a while now, but it's my first tournament," Shae said. "It's fun. It's fun because you get to watch everybody, and they watch you. It's just fun to have everybody playing."
Although the tournament was viewed as a fun activity for the family, it didn't mean the competition was lost.
Family bragging rights will be on the line today.
Jack plays C.J. in singles, before teaming up to play Keegan and Brian in doubles action.
Darby said she won't root for anyone, to stay out of trouble. C.J., however, said sons or not, he wants to win.
"I don't like losing to my sons," said C.J., who says his children have passed him in skiing and inevitably are going to do the same in tennis. "If we're on clay, I'll be diving. I don't want to lose to my sons. It's the only thing I've got left."
The STA Championships support local high school tennis teams and junior programs. The event also funds a scholarship program for young players who may not be able to afford the sport.
Along with the play, the event includes a silent auction at the Tennis Center and a live auction at 5 p.m. today.
Play continues at 8 a.m. today with consolation and championship matches.