Howard: Behind the Tennis Scenes - Making a Difference
Tennis in Prescott would be stagnant if it weren’t for the likes of a few very important volunteers working with and some for the Prescott Area Tennis Association and some on their own. This is an organization that has been behind the promotion of tennis promotion since around 1991 and even earlier through the 70’s as the Yavapai Tennis Association.
What do they do exactly?
They work in partnership with the United States Tennis Association (USTA), Northern Arizona USTA, run sanctioned and non-sanctioned adult, senior and junior tennis tournaments and events - which include the many leagues that are played weekly throughout the year.
They are involved in helping to create after-school and physical education tennis programs for youth, with training, equipment costs and volunteers.
Help to oversee our very expensive public tennis facilities, that they stay in prime condition, safe, well-run, programmed and utilized as much as possible.
The funds they raise through sponsorship annually, tournament fees and other donations go to help the game of tennis is a variety of ways.
Facility upgrades, youth and adult programs, ball recycling and redistribution, court equipment, running tournaments and other events throughout the community, donations to charities, planning and enhancements, organizational costs, youth scholarships, etc.
They are a “voice” for the game of tennis in the Prescott area.
No one on the board is paid, although every now and then a member might be sent to a seminar to gather needed information and training.
Currently the board consists of Stephanie Wirck/President, Natalie Fisher/VP, Nancy Seaman/VP, Robin Fox/Treasurer, Dave Hibbs/Tournament Administrator, Zack Hackerott/Web Master, Jo Conn/Junior Administrator, Jody Mattison/At Large, Sterling Fetty/USTA Coordinator-Junior Academy, Chris Howard/Park of Fame.
Committee members: Fay Matsumoto, Dee Navarro, Diane Lenardon, Mary Cobey, Jill Lavin, Eileen Chalfoun, Nannette Oatley, George Reynolds, Cathy Low, Jan Hasse, and many others.
Tennis Professionals: Fay Matsumoto, Dave Hibbs, Zack Hackerott, Bernie Adam, Donnie Jones, Tim McClintock, Sterling Fetty, Cathy Low, Nick Cristea, Chris Howard.
League organizers, programmers and captains: Dan Lenardon, David Rainey/Lisa Rouse, Fred/Peggy Eisenthal, Nancy Seaman, Andy & Matt Mraz, Diane Brock, George Molina, Jo Conn, Cheryl Murieta, Ron Samuelson, Fay Matsumoto, Susan Popko, Terri Farneti, Dawn Teal, Temmy Bowler, Jody Mattison and others.
So many people wear multiple hats and are willing to jump in and do whatever is called for.
Ray and and his mother Shawn Barnette-Hansen saw a need for a ball recycle program and created one through the Y.C. Honors Program/Denise Woolsey-Scott Farnsworth that collects and delivers used tennis balls to a multitude of sites that need them.
It’s not unusual to see Fay Matsumoto out blowing off or washing the courts before a tournament or league matches. She is a human dynamo!
Dan Lenardon and his organizational skills with his 5 court Thursday group amazes me. The Rainey/Wagner play group that’s gone on for over 20 years is crazy and iconic. The Drop-In-Tennis program on Tuesday and Thursday mornings that takes 2 to 4 courts with laughter and competitive laid-back healthy fun that’s created lasting friendships and an easy manner to play is almost 25 years in existence now.
All of these people have gone over and beyond in giving of their time and effort to grow the game of tennis and keep it vibrant. And why?
They have seen and felt the benefits of the game and love it - what other explanation can there be?
Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 45 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 928-642-6775 or firstname.lastname@example.org.