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Fri, Sept. 20

Howard: There’s much love for the history of tennis
My Point

Some people make it with their great play, some organize and work it, some write about it while others teach, some play at it and each part helps create the whole.

When you take an international game like tennis there’s nothing like the times when you honor those who have done some terrific things in many different categories on many different levels to let everyone see just what it takes in creating the drive, the passion, the dedication, the love of promoting and growing this great sport.

A tournament doesn’t just happen because someone thinks it might be a good idea. Building a tennis club or public facility isn’t a fly-by-night thought. Reaching the next level of play doesn’t take place without many hours, days, months and sometimes years of practice. Becoming a coach, umpire or deciding to give of your time to volunteer to be on a board or committee is normally a solid commitment and not a hasty decision.

But there’s got to be more to it.

The game of tennis after really being set on it’s path we’re most familiar with in 1874 with a patent of rules, boxed sets of equipment by Major Wingfield seems amazing.

The timing was right - the type of game, the size of the court, the social aspect that both men and women could enjoy, the exercise it gives - all polarized and helped popularize the sport around the world within a few short years.

If it was just a craze it would have fallen to the wayside by now.

It started as more of a rich man’s sport, but today with public facilities in most town and cities, racquets and balls that are relatively inexpensive and only needing two people to come together to play it’s something anyone can do and from an early age to oldsters in their 90’s.

The game of tennis has progressed on every continent with Davis and Fed Cup, the grand slams, Open tennis taking place (1968), men’s and women’s tours, high school and college tennis, USTA amateur tournaments and leagues, junior - adult and senior events, promotion in magazines, papers, the TENNIS Channel, and internet sites.

Sporting goods companies have created state-of-the-art equipment and costs range from inexpensive to moderate expense, tennis balls are still about $2 a can.

Most local towns and even subdivisions have their own tennis associations or at least tennis committee’s that organize playing groups, drop-in’s, and help fundraise in keeping public tennis facilities in good shape while reaching out to schools with programs for juniors and adults.

People who love the game can get involved with paid or volunteer positions in many different realms.

It’s been noted in a recent study that playing tennis on a weekly basis gives people 10 more years of life, more than swimming or biking which are very healthy exercises.

So when we get involved and enjoy the benefits of playing tennis, maybe winning a multitude of tennis titles, maybe coaching successfully for years and years, volunteering - running tournaments, umpiring, starting a sporting goods company, creating a specialized website, the list goes on and on - some will see the love and passion you’ve created over a period of time and just maybe you’ll be given a special moment of thanks.

You deserve it.

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.

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