Karl Behr

Tennis Players Love Forged On “The Titanic”

Karl Behr was one of the best tennis players in the United States – a member of the 1907 U.S. Davis Cup team and a Wimbledon doubles finalist that year. In 1912, he was madly in love with Helen Newsom. However, Newsom’s mother, Sally Beckwith, did not approve of their relationship and whisked her daughter away on a European adventure in an attempt to break up the couple. Behr concocted a European business trip to chase after the love of his life. Both had return trips to America on the famed and fated ship TITANIC.

The love story of Behr and Newsom, as well as the incredible story of survival and triumph of another TITANIC survivor and future U.S. singles champion Dick Williams, are featured in the book TITANIC: THE TENNIS STORY by Lindsay Gibbs ($12.95, New Chapter Press, available for order on Amazon.com here: http://m1e.net/c?96585803-6OBSTdj9z6JKs%407231931-gXuzNVNsCWbmw

TITANIC: THE TENNIS STORY narrates the extraordinary stories of tennis players Behr and Williams, who survived the sinking of the famous ship 100 years ago this coming April 15 and met on the deck of the rescue ship Carpathia. Behr and Williams eventually became teammates on the U.S. Davis Cup team and faced each other in the quarterfinals of the 1914 U.S. Nationals in Newport, R.I. – the tournament that is now the US Open.

The historical novel is published by New Chapter Press of New York City.

Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press (www.NewChapterMedia.com) is also the publisher of  “The Greatest Tenni Matches of All Time” by Steve Flink, “Macci Magic” by Rick Macci, “Roger Federer: Quest for Perfection” by Rene Stauffer, “The Bud Collins History of Tennis” by Bud Collins, “The Education of a Tennis Player” by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, “The Wimbledon Final That Never Was” by Sidney Wood, “Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion’s Toughest Match” by Cliff Richey and Hilaire Richey Kallendorf, “Jan Kodes: A Journey To Glory From Behind The Iron Curtain” by Jan Kodes with Peter Kolar, “Tennis Made Easy” by Kelly Gunterman, “On This Day In Tennis History” by Randy Walker (www.TennisHistoryApp.com), “A Player’s Guide To USTA League Tennis” by Tony Serksnis, “Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games” by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli (www.Boycott1980.com), “The Lennon Prophecy” by Joe Niezgoda  (www.TheLennonProphecy.com), “Bone Appetit, Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog” by Susan Anson, “How To Sell Your Screenplay” by Carl Sautter, “The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According To Hoyle” by Stewart Wolpin, “People’s Choice Guide Cancun” by Eric Rabinowitz, “Lessons from the Wild” by Shayamal Vallabhjee among others.

“Titanic” Survivors’ Fascinating US Open Match

It was 98 years ago, on August 28, 1914, that one of the most fascinating confrontations in the history of the U.S. Championships took place.

Two men – Dick Williams and Karl Behr – who both survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, the most famous sea disaster in history, incredibly met in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Championships at the Newport Casino in Rhode Island. The two tennis standouts met for the first time on board the rescue ship Carpathia, Williams nearly having his legs amputated after surviving the night in an overturned life-boat while Behr was lucky to escape on the second life boat launched, before the major panic set in. Two years later, the two face each other in the country’s national championship after having been teammates on the U.S. Davis Cup team earlier in the summer.

On this day, Williams emerged victorious by a 6-1, 6-2, 7-5 margin and went on to incredible win the championship defeating top-ranked Maurice McLoughlin of the United States 6-3, 8-6, 10-8 in the championship match in one of the biggest upsets in tennis history at the time.

The following is the narrative of the pre-match scene between Williams and Behr in Newport 98 years ago as told by author Lindsay Gibbs in her book TITANIC: THE TENNIS STORY, an historical adaptation of this story that can be described as the most incredible in the history of tennis. The book is available where ever books are sold, here via Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Titanic-Tennis-Story-Lindsay-Gibbs/dp/1937559041/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1346068847&sr=8-1&keywords=Titanic+Tennis+Story or directly via publisher New Chapter Press at www.NewChapterMedia.com. The book can also be downloaded on Amazon.com’s Kindle at here: http://www.amazon.com/Titanic-The-Tennis-Story-ebook/dp/B0087GZGTO/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1346068847&sr=8-1

 

The locker room at the Newport Casino was silent. Dick hated silence.

This had not always been the case. He used to love the quiet, he used to seek it out, crave it. His favorite moments growing up had been when he found time to himself in the Swiss countryside, just watching the world and enjoying the silence. A chance to think.

But now silence was his worst enemy. Now when things were silent his mind filled the void with echoes of cries. With­out diversion, his mind had a harder time warding off the de­tailed memories of the ship. The archways, the marble stair­case, the carvings in the wood.

In the last couple of years, he had become an expert at small talk. He had mastered his father’s act of talking to strangers. Once the shy athletic star, he now had in-depth conversations about the weather, fashion, politics. He would start a conver­sation about anything, with absolutely anyone. Because when things were this silent, this still, he felt the ground moving underneath him, as though rocking on a wave. He saw the smokestack falling. He felt the water.

A locker slamming aggressively shut came as a welcome distraction. The horror disappeared and his head instinctive­ly turned in the direction of the sound. There he was, in the greatest of ironies. Karl Behr. The only person in the world he didn’t dare engage in small talk with. The only person in the world who didn’t provide a distraction from the thoughts.

The only person who made it worse. Unfortunately, he was the only other person in the locker room right now. They were about to face off in the quarterfinals of the lawn tennis championships of the United States.

He quickly jerked his head back around and resumed tying his shoes. Had Karl been looking at him? Did he seem angry? Did he look like he was about to speak? What if he tried to talk first? What if Helen came by to wish him luck? He wished tying his shoes was a more complicated activity so he could shut out these thoughts. He had promised himself he wasn’t going to do this. He had promised himself that this was just another match. He would not fall apart now, not when he had come so far.

Sweat poured down his face and he was unsure whether it was the Rhode Island late August heat, the stuffiness of the musty locker room this late in the tournament, or his over­active nerves that was causing such a reaction. He was sure that this was not the way to be feeling right before such a big match, no matter who the opponent was. He had to get himself together.

This was the quarterfinals of the U.S. Nationals, for God’s sake. This was his year. Two years ago he’d taken Maurice McLoughlin to five sets, and last year he’d lost to Mac again, but in the final. Now he was the defending finalist and this was the year he was finally going to do it. He was going to lift that trophy he had been hearing about since he was a youngster. He’d held so many tennis trophies; would this one feel differ­ent? He wouldn’t ever find out if he didn’t get himself together here. He checked the tension of his racket strings. It was of course just perfect. He always made sure it was perfect. Tight, but not “board tight.”

The only thing that mattered was winning this match. Win this match. Win two more. Win the trophy. That was it. Simple. He had the talent. He had the shots, the fitness, the de­sire…He had it all. He just had to stay focused and to not let anything or anyone get in the way. The door opened and a portly tournament official broke the silence with his expected announcement: “Mr. Behr, Mr. Williams, it is time to take the court.”

Neither man said a word. Dick still didn’t look up, unwill­ing to risk a moment of conversation until a net was between them. He sensed Karl picking up his racket bag and when he heard the footsteps pass him, he followed, looking down at his shoes the whole time. He felt again for his rackets and towels to make sure everything was in place. He took a deep breath and jumped up and down a bit as he walked to get his blood flowing. Jumped up and down on healthy legs. His healthy legs that he wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for…

The chatter, and then cheers, of the Newport crowd came just in time to stop the train of thought.

Just another opponent.

Just win this one match.

Just don’t think.