Howard: 1,000th column is special milestone
Over 19 years have passed since the first "My Point" column was written and today marks the 1,000th time I've had the pleasure to saddle up to the typewriter (in the beginning) and now computer to make some type of tennis statement that has tried to hold your interest in 700-plus words or so.
In 1993 Sports Editor Dan Beeson gave me the chance to see if I could put a sentence, paragraph and weekly column together with a tennis basis that locals might enjoy.
Most of you know that I'm a tennis professional, not a college graduated journalist, so thank goodness for spell-check and editors to make sure what's been written is readable.
My early thoughts and columns were about my personal tennis experiences and lots of local tennis players' names and tennis events that were taking place in Northern Arizona.
It took more than a few years to realize that you had to be careful in stating your views, people you might be insulting, poking fun at, and sometimes even being a bit cruel with.
Spoken words hurt, but are slowly forgotten, whereas the written word is always there to refer to.
Each sports editor since Dan has pushed me to expand my thought and imagination in making this column more than local results and to base better developed ideas in and of a wide range of related tennis subjects, which has been most of the time been very enjoyable.
This position has given the opportunity to interview most of the top players in the world, present and past.
What tennis enthusiast wouldn't want to get to do a Q&A with almost every top tennis player, organizer, and icon in the world of tennis for the past 50 years?
That part has been surreal and continues as such.
But what used to have to be done in person or snail-mail is with today's Facebook net-work, and email so much swifter. Not to mention the information highway of every avenue of history and news to refer to via the internet, which is obtained in moments.
Getting to know, work and play with the people and the tennis players in the Prescott and Southwest area has been a real pleasure.
How do you describe the likes of a George Reynolds, Stan Preston, Ted and Millie Ryan, Edna Moglewer, the Polks, Mary Widen and so many others - who have in the past and present - made this game of tennis in our area special and unique?
Our small islands of tennis facilities: Roughrider, the Armory, PHS, the Prescott Racquet Club and many subdivisions of four or fewer courts, have given us the outlets to meet one another, play and laugh our guts out, sweat and compete, while nurturing our athleticism at each age and level in singles and doubles.
From the humble beginnings of Major Wingfield patenting the game of tennis in 1874 in England, with no knowledge or thoughts that 138 years later this silly yet interesting and intense rectangular exercise in smacking a ball back and forth over a net could still be going so strong, not only in Prescott but around the world, is quite amazing.
It seems that tennis takes the place of the "hunt." It's combat without anyone really getting injured. It's physical and mental. It doesn't cost much in time or money. There are no class barriers, men and women can play together. Kids play with adults, adults with seniors, rich, middle class and the poor, and race and language don't seem to matter.
The privilege of getting to write about the sport of tennis, the game I've loved and cottoned to since the age of 12 has and will continue to be one of the items in my life that will stand out in a manner that I'm very proud to have been a part of. I plan to continue to write this column until the Courier says my time is up, or I run out of things to write about. So, count on being tortured another 19-or-so-years!