Where Is He Now?
Several years ago, when I first started writing on Tar Heel Talk, I ran a series of trivia questions. One of the questions I asked was "What former UNC basketball player has won the Wimbledon Men's Singles Tennis Championship? No one was able to answer the question correctly and for good reason. If one is not old enough to know this fact from personal experience, they would have a tough time ferreting it out of the record books because E. Victor Seixas is not listed as having lettered in basketball at UNC. He was on the team, however, because I saw him on the bench during several games soon after World War 11. It's sort of like Jack Palance and football at UNC. Unless he played for the Heels under another name ( a la Vince Olen), Jack Palance did not letter in football at Carolina. I know he played on the UNC football team because one of his teammates, All American Paul Severin, told me so.
Back to Vic Seixas. There was an Associated Press story about Seixas several months ago that brought us up to date on his status as of that time.
Seixas is now 76 ( maybe 77 now ) and lives in a one room apartment in California He supports himself with two part-time bartender jobs. He sold some of his trophies when the price of silver was so high, but still has others from the 50 he won. He was a stockbroker for 18 years and has not been successful at marriage, having to pay 3/4 of his earnings to two ex-wives. In addition, he is now paying college expenses for a daughter. The highest payment he ever got for playing tennis was $2000 and he estimates if he played today instead of when he did, his earnings would be in the millions.
He has not gained weight and can still swing the racquet but says his legs won't let him move like he did and he thinks eventually he will have to have a knee replacement. He does not appear to feel sorry for himself and he says he knows other former tennis greats who are in worse shape than he is. Apparently, the sport of tennis has done nothing for former stars as have some of the other sports.
I don't know whether the Vic Seixas story is sad or not but it sure sounds sad. I have always had a liking for Seixas, but one bad decision I made in the summer of 1953 still haunts me. I was in London at the time Wimbledon was being played and I seriously considered going to see a fellow Tar Heel play. I convinced myself, however, that Seixas didn't stand much of a chance at winning what is probably the nearest thing tennis has to a world's championship, so I didn't go. Probably did something real important like drink beer while the matches were being played. Ah, youth. As someone once said, Why does it have to be wasted on young people?
I may try to contact Seixas to see how he's doing. I'm not always successful at locating UNC sports names from the past. Several weeks ago, I tried to find Norman Sper, Carolina's head cheer leader during the Justice years but, to date, I have not been successful. I might even try to see if I can find "Nose Jones.