Building On a Solid Foundation
In December, I made the annual trek to the Technical Meeting of the American Sports Builders Association, which was held in New Orleans. I really love this group, and as I’ve said before in this column, these court builders are literally the foundation of our business. The fact that so many of them take time out from their businesses to gather for educational seminars and presentations, and participate in roundtables and problem-solving sessions, really shows the depth of their commitment to this industry. (Importantly, the ASBA also puts together construction guidelines that are the “bible” of this industry, along with testing and designating Certified Tennis Court Builders.)
Part of the meeting included a presentation to a packed house by Virgil Christian of the USTA describing the QuickStart Tennis format for bringing kids into the game using, among other things, shorter, more kid-friendly courts. Already, many places have installed permanent QST courts. But if permanent short courts are not an option, a regular court can be unobtrusively lined for QuickStart Tennis. (For more information, visitquickstarttennis.com.)
Thousands of facilities and parks across the country are offering programs for kids using the QST format, and many rely on the pros, parents and the kids themselves to put down temporary lines on the courts. But permanent courts and permanent lines mean that QST becomes ingrained in a community, and the QST format is what will bring more and more people into this game. Court builders are an important touchstone to communities, schools, facilities, park and recs, and Community Tennis Associations, and builders can greatly influence the adoption of QST in their communities.
One of the things I’ve been honored to do at the ASBA meeting is present the facility-of-the-year awards, which we cover in RSI in articles throughout the year. Also, I present RSI’s Court Builder of the Year Award, which for 2008 went to Boston Tennis Court Construction Co. and its owners Dave Marsden and Bruce Mahler.
The ASBA (sportsbuilders.org) also recognized longtime executive v.p. Carol Hogan with its highest honor, the Industry Merit Award. Carol recently retired, after leading the group for 20 years and presiding over its impressive growth. Making a seamless transition into the management of the ASBA is a team led by association management professional Fred Stringfellow, with assistance from longtime ASBA staffer Cynthia Jordan.
Thanks to Carol’s leadership, a committed board of directors and membership, and an exciting transition to Fred’s management, the ASBA — which long had been under the radar in this industry — is helping to move the dial as far as tennis growth in this country, and the group is getting the attention it richly deserves. If you’re not a member, you should consider joining this very important group.
See all articles by Peter Francesconi
About the Author
Peter Francesconi is editorial director of RSI magazine.