Aluko: A special birthday, celebrated in Tennis

By Editor on 03/09/2016

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Segun and Lola

To many, it is a bug. Once it hits, its sensation quickly seeps deep beyond the marrows, and like the secretion of a poisonous serpent, spreads fast down the bottom of the spine, up to the brain – and stays. However, unlike the poison of a rattlesnake or the venomous spider or jellyfish or any other killers around, this particular poison does not kill. In fact, it is not only a life saver, it is both a life enhancer and even life itself.

That is the game of tennis. Those, who have discovered it, savour the taste, like the insect does the nectar of a flower. Forget what the doctors say about the benefit of exercise to the psychological and physical well-being of humans. Tennis does all these and more. Its effect is magical and can only be explained by getting involved.

That was the testament of Segun Aluko, the Captain of the Tennis Section of the Lagos Country Club (LCC), arguably one of the most prestigious family clubs in Nigeria today. Saturday, August 27, 2016, exactly a week ago, he decided to give the testimony in a special way, on a day that is special to him – his birthday.


That afternoon, more than 20 players filed out in total celebration of the game, on the four clay court surfaces, one of the exclusive features of the club, which is the only one that owns and maintains that number or the rare facility in Nigeria, for a hard-hitting, sweat-soaking and crunchy encounter.

“This is a special day for me. I was thinking what to do to celebrate it and I thought tennis has given me one of the biggest pleasures in my life and I thought I should devote the day to celebrating it. I’m glad I took that decision, because you can see how successful it has become and how happy I am,” he told on the raison d’etre for the event.  

Incidentally, Aluko ended up losing at the final lap of the all-doubles men’s event in a tension-soaked game against the duo of Adewumi Adisa and Femi George, who eventually sang the victory song.

George (receiving the winning prize), Evangelist Aluko, Lola and Okwosa

Soon the echoes of the din from the cheering crowd at every stage of the match, gave way to the booming of music, as the players, spectators, friends and well-wishers got down to the dance floor to dig it out.

On hand was a selection of quite sensational tunes, ranging from the old locals such as King Sunny Ade’s celebrated birthday song (Congratulations) and the unforgettable bests of Ebenezer Obey, the old school greatest and evergreen beats of the 1980s and 1990s, from the stables of Kool and The Gang, Shalamar, Dynasty, New Edition and the likes to today’s new sensations of Olamide, Phyno, Davido and Wizkid.

Aluko, flanked by former Vice President of LCC, Telesfore Trumby and wife, Anthonia

Incidentally, it was Evangelist Sarah Aluko, the mother of the celebrant that was on hand to open the dancing after throwing the audience into hilarious laughter when she confessed that she still saw the son as young enough to be breastfed.

It was a quite picturesque, mother and son digging it out on the dance floor, trying to outdo each other, one which many of the cheering spectators, would give their right arms to experience.

Arinze Onubogu, Chairman of the section, was all full of praises for Aluko’s gesture, saying it reflected one of the main essences of the family, found not only in the love for the game on the court, but off it, in terms of enhancing the spirit of conviviality and togetherness.

Onubuogu, Aluko, Chief Johnson Olorunsola, Ayo Oladuni and Deji Oshikoya

“This captures the spirit of what we are doing here. It is all about developing the spirit of friendship and oneness. This is a family. We play on court and enjoy ourselves outside the court as brothers and sisters. There are many places Segun could have celebrated and equally enjoyed his birthday. But, he chose to bring it here. It not only shows his love for the game of tennis, but for all of us here who are members of this section. We must keep the spirit going,” he said.

Echoing the same sentiments, Dan Okwosa, while praying for longer life, continued love for tennis, the section and its members, as well as more successes all his endeavours, urged many more to copy the gesture in order to promote the essence of the section.

Deji Oshikoya, Ayo Oladuni, Aluko, Akin Akirimisi (Social Secretary, LCC and former Captain, Tennis Section), and Dr. Tunde Olujobi

Also speaking, after receiving his championship trophy, Adisa, former Membership Secretary of the club, particularly emphasised the current influx of youthful members like Aluko into the section, saying it was something that called for cheers.

“I’m happy that they are not only joining the section, but actually taking up responsibilities and promoting the spirit which brought all of us here. Like most of us, who have served this club in various capacities, we will find it quite saddening if at the end of the day, nobody is replacing us. But, gladly, that is not the case. We are now having these young men not only developing interest and joining the club, but actually taking leadership positions. Very soon, many of us will no longer be active. These are the people who would replace us and continue where we will stop, so that future generations can enjoy what we enjoyed.

Mrs. Lola Aluko, the delectable wife of the captain, was no less enthusiastic, as she praised her husband for the decision, which she said she readily accepted, being a tennis lover and player too.

On the witty side, she tickled the audience, when she said that she was quietly praying against her husband winning his last game, because it would be quite odd for him to emerge the champion in his own tournament. “I was praying that he would be beaten. I don’t know how it would have looked for him to be receiving the first prize for his own tournament and on his birthday. So, I’m glad he lost, because it has saved me from that awkward situation,” she said.

Herself, a terrific tennis player, with some club trophies in her kitty, Lola, who had opened the day with a daintily-crafted eulogy, on social media to introduce the day, in a voice dripping with emotions, painted a picture of a family bound in unspeakable love and affection.

Of course, the beautiful cake depicting the symbols of a tennis ball and racquet, which she presented, appeared to have captured everything about the bond between husband and wife for each other and their shared passion.

Beyond that was equally the sumptuous food and drinks, which together adumbrated the entire essence of the event in more ways than one.

When Aluko eventually told the audience that the event was the happiest birthday he was celebrating in his lifetime, few were in doubt as to why – the bug of tennis.






Posted on September, 3 2016

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