Tennis Industry magazine

 

True Champions of Tennis

By Peter Francesconi

This issue marks our 6th Annual Champions of Tennis Awards. We’re thrilled that every year, the awards that we started in 2001 to honor those often “unsung” heroes of the sport have gained more and more notice within the industry. Last year, we were able to present 13 of our 17 awards in person, and it was particularly gratifying to be able to publicly recognize our winners in front of their peers.

But the unfortunate part of our awards is that they only recognize a very limited number of people. There truly are hundreds of “champions” of our sport throughout the country — all of whom deserve recognition. Whether they are at tennis facilities, parks, retail shops, manufacturers, court-building companies, CTAs, or any number of tennis-related businesses or organizations, when it comes to promoting and growing tennis, these champions inhabit that critical area “where the rubber meets the road,” as it was said recently in a USTA committee meeting on community tennis.

One industry veteran, Jim Baugh, the outgoing president of the Tennis Industry Association, says those who are in it for the good of the game are “pure” tennis people. And Jim should know, because he, for many years, has set the standard for a “pure” tennis person. RSI recognized that fact back in 2003, when Jim was a co-winner of our “Person of the Year” Award.

Look at the people around you and I’ll bet you’ll find at least one “pure” tennis person who deserves to be a “champion” in his or her own right. And you know, maybe you and your organization should find a way to recognize those people. It could be something as simple as an “employee of the month” or “volunteer of the month” award. Or it could even be something more grand.

One thing is for sure, though: In a business that frequently goes beyond just a 9-to-5 job, a little recognition never hurts. In fact, it will probably prove to be good for business.

Peter Francesconi

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About the Author

Peter Francesconi is editorial director of RSI magazine.

 

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