Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Mon, Feb. 24

What can we do to advance the sport we love?

Every now and then I believe we all go a little deeper than our day-to-day existence, trials and tribulations.

When we leave this world, will it be a better place, and if so … why? What can we possibly do to take the things we are good at and that are good for others and make things better in that arena while we're here and later when we're not?

Naturally I relate this to tennis, and those of you who read this column might have some similar thoughts.

Last week Ken Jackson, a USPTA Tennis Professional, ran a tennis program through the YMCA and about 30 kids were involved for a week. He asked local tennis players to help him and about 7 to 10 different people came out and under his direction made that particular week of tennis a real success. (Congrats to tournament winners Mark Huskins and Merritt Moore, Katie Hosler, Jonathan Argyle and Levi Meredith.)

Roger Kneisl runs a singles ladder and weekly tennis league for players at the Roughrider Tennis Center. He certainly doesn't have to, but he's seen a need and filled it.

George Reynolds and partner in crime Dave Justice have done the same with court repair at Yavapai College and the building of the new tennis shed at the Prescott High School courts. Not to mention all of the people who helped volunteer their time to help in these projects.

We have had a drop-in-tennis program at Roughrider for over 10 years on Tuesdays and Thursdays currently from 8:30-10:30 a.m. where you only have to bring a can of tennis balls to participate.

Our Prescott Area Tennis Association has annual mixers, runs the Yavapai County Tennis Tournament, Christmas parties and promotes tennis in other various ways through the volunteers who serve on the board and committees.

Paul Poyner has been key in keeping tennis going with groups he's put together on a weekly basis for years now.

Bernie Adam, Mike Garber and Binki Thalheimer, local tennis professionals, have recently taken over the PHS courts to run public tennis programs for adults and juniors.

Past PATA and Yavapai Tennis Association Presidents have taken leadership roles that have kept the ball bouncing throughout the last three decades.

People like Barbara Polk, Stan Preston, Myron Snow, John Sears, Brad Newman, Jerry Greene, Edna Moglewer, Ellen Shaw, Mary Widen, Faye Matsumoto, Julie Williams, Orlo Jantz, Bob McGrath, Rod Moss, Dick McGaw, Jim and Sharon Dale, Irene Regan, coaches Rick Bothell, Esther Brown, Dave Humphrey, Joe Morales, Cody Williams, Don Jones, Dan Marioni, Jenny Cobb and there are so many more that should be named and honored.

It's too bad we don't have any wealthy tennis patrons that would do what Mr. Acker did for music, parks and kids … an endowment for a new public tennis facility would be just the total shot in the arm that Prescott and Northern Arizona needs to run many of the tennis functions that are currently in the Phoenix and Tucson areas.

The City of Prescott and Yavapai County have promised to keep land available at Pioneer Park to build a new tennis facility in the near future.

Wouldn't it be nice to see them match funds for such a venture similar to what is being done for the new skate park?

If it's just teaching our kids, grandkids, family and friends … making sure they have a decent opportunity to take up the game, on safe courts, with on-running tennis programs and facilities, knowing it is going to continue, then we will have done our job and set a great example for them to learn by.

Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 30 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 445-1331 or 4541choward@earthlink.net.

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