Lessons From a USTA Section
In January, I was invited to the USTA Southern Section Annual Meeting in Atlanta. The nice folks on their Media/Public Relations Committee (Marc Kaplan, Ron Cioffi, and Marcy Hirshberg) asked me and Seth Sylvan, director of communications for the national USTA Community Tennis division, to speak on “Getting the Word Out” about tennis.
Our presentation at the section committee meeting, along with the Q&A session, went well (in a future issue of RSI, you’ll read about some of the things we presented, and how you can get the word out in your community about all that you have to offer tennis players, and potential players). While I’d like to credit my and Seth’s presentation style for the positive comments we received, it really was the enthusiastic and interested people in the audience and on the committee that made us look good.
And that’s what this boils down to. Whether you make your living from this business, or whether you’re a volunteer who loves tennis and wants to see as many people playing and watching it as possible, it all comes down to the amount of interest and enthusiasm you have in wanting to make this industry — and sport — better. Whether volunteers, staff, teaching pros, facility managers, and so on, the people in the USTA Southern Section, like those in the other 16 USTA sections who take the time to be involved with the sport, “get it.”
Now I’m sure you’re asking, what does this have to do with me? Well, if you’re making your living from tennis, you need to get in touch with what the USTA is doing and the people who are doing it — especially at the local level.
Right now, I’m sure you’re rolling your eyes. I realize that nationally, the USTA is a huge organization that deals with hundreds of millions of dollars every year. And I also know that — justified or not — it’s easy to take shots at the USTA and some of the decisions it makes. But let’s not forget that the organization does a lot of good for the sport, which in turn benefits your business.
More importantly, though, it’s the people who make up the USTA, especially at the community, district, and section levels, that deserve your support and can benefit from your expertise. Serve on a committee, get involved with a local CTA, volunteer at a local clinic, raise funds to rehabilitate courts.
The people in the USTA Southern Section showed me, once again, that getting involved is a good thing and can only lead to better things down the road.
See all articles by Peter Francesconi
About the Author
Peter Francesconi is editorial director of RSI magazine.