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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
3:25 PM Mon, Nov. 12th

My Point column: Why honoring people, giving recognition is important

On Oct. 2, the Prescott Area Tennis Association will be holding its second annual Tennis Park of Fame Clinic and Induction Ceremony.  Some people probably won’t think too much about it, but in reality it’s not only a fun event, with much of the tennis community involved, from most all the tennis professionals in the area to many of the people who love the game of tennis.

Each of the pros taking part in teaching the clinic on six of the courts at Yavapai College will be donating their time to help the cause of creating a nice new park on the land just out side the front gate of Court 7, which is called the Stadium Court.  It’s known by that name because it has a very nice area for people to sit on with bleachers placed there to watch special events, tournaments, and good match play.

This park area will have new sidewalks made of a combination of 12x12-inch bricks that state special names of people who have done great things in the world of tennis - locally, statewide and nationally, as volunteers, players, contributors in various ways that our committee has and will continue to praise with annual inductions. 

People who want to honor someone in their family, put their business name and information out to see, or just make a statement of some kind can purchase a brick to be laid at this site as well to help create what will be phase one through three in this special endeavor at the back entrance to Yavapai College.

Phase one will be getting the area graded properly with the main sidewalks etched with crushed granite.  Phase two will be the landscaping and picnic areas, and phase three is to include two small ramadas and other sidewalk seating. 

There is the possibility of holding some small satellite tournaments in the future and this enhanced area has taken that into consideration as well with an area for Porta-johns and added bleachers.  All-in-all the people inducted will be the highlight with a great place to enjoy a useful picnic/kick-back area for the college and surrounding recreational ball fields that are well used for many junior and adult sporting functions. 

Last year, we honored Vic Braden, who was known as the coach of coaches, top players, book writer, commentator, scientist, and much more; the Cheney Family that has a tennis linage that starts with May Sutton, who crossed the ocean in 1905 to become the first American woman Wimbledon singles winner; her daughter Dodo Cheney, who won the Australian Championship in singles in 1938 and over 400 national titles in her 90 year plus career; and her son, Brian, who has also won over 70 national titles and was the player coach of the Phoenix Racquets of WTT.  The list continued with John Byron - player, tennis businessman; Peter Bronson - player, educator; Fay Matsumoto - local instructor, player, volunteer; George Reynolds - Renaissance man and savior to our tennis facilities; the Hannay and Waples families with  building and keeping up the Prescott Racquet Club as well as the now defunct Sedona Racquet Club and Master Tennis Professional Larry Lineberry who was pro there and still teaches in the area.

Where would our loved sport be without these type of people?

No one goes year after-year, after-year giving of their time expecting to get something in return, but a nice pat on the back for everyone who furthers the cause of making something special and significant at least lets them know they are appreciated. 

And for those who have gone above and beyond in their volunteer, playing or contributor efforts for an inordinate amount of time certainly deserve special recognition from their peers and community. 

This small park will be that place for our tennis community and somewhat beyond.

This year we have five local inductees who have done some amazing things over a long period of time:

• Bernie Adam, beloved local USPTA Tennis Professional who, even with two knee replacements, spent years at the Prescott Racquet Club and other local tennis facilities, running hundreds of tennis events, teaching thousands of tennis players, playing many tournaments and making tennis a great joy for our community and those visiting it.

• Robin Fox has been the PATA treasurer for over 10 years, but she goes way over that title volunteering at all of our tournaments, picking up supplies, making sure the t’s are crossed and i’s dotted in our small but potent organization.

• Lisa Cook was a board member and then president of the Prescott Area Tennis Association and, during her tenure, we gained our 501-C status; she went over every detail of our make-up; helped set special goals (that were accomplished); and put us on the path to working with Yavapai College in our endeavor to partner in creating the new facility there.  Lisa then worked hard on becoming a USTA umpire, with a goal to reach the professional level. Unfortunately, she came down with a brain tumor that side-lined her ... a very deservant inductee.

• Nannette Oatley Johnson is a former U.S. Open Wheelchair Champion in singles and doubles, and she started her career right here in Prescott.  She is a certified tennis professional, helped start our after-schools tennis program, has been a board and committee member and continues to love the game with a passion always ready and willing to further it’s cause to everyone.

• Edna Moglewer was one of the co-founders of the Prescott Area Tennis Association in the early ’90s - the first meeting was held in her kitchen.  Just goes to show how far a good idea can go.  Edna, now almost 90 years young, still plays a mean game and advocates for the game she knows does so much for so many.

So if you wonder what you might do this next Sunday, Oct. 2, you just might want to think about signing up for the 2.5-hour clinic from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. where you will roatate from court-to-court learning something fun and interesting ($30 for the clinic and a sack lunch), and then sit and watch these special people talk a couple minutes about their experiences in what they’ve given to the game, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Court 7.   (* If you want to get in the clinic “36 spots open” email choward4541@gmail.com)

Leading up to the inductions, there will be a serving contest with the local pros competing against one another - not by speed, but hitting targets ... who do you think has the best accuracy?

Hope to see you all there. No charge to come sit and watch the inductions with most of your friends.

Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 40 years in the racquet and fitness industry.  He can be reached at 928-642-6775 or choward4541@gmail.com.