A Season of Winners
These last few months, I’ve had the privilege of working with a small group of tennis industry professionals dedicated to helping move this industry forward in a way that few would suspect, but which has a greater impact on this industry than anyone probably realizes.
Now, when you read “tennis industry professionals” in the previous sentence, you probably were thinking of teaching pros, or some of the high-profile names you frequently hear in this industry. But not everyone who contributes to this industry does so with a racquet in his hand, or by signing a check, or by getting big-money sponsors, or by creating tennis programs. The four industry pros I’m referring to come from a line of others who have given their time — for free — to write, edit and revise one of the key reference manuals in this industry, the “Tennis Courts” book, which is the comprehensive construction and maintenance manual published by the American Sports Builders Association and the USTA.
One colleague described the role of the volunteers who make the “Tennis Courts” book happen as similar to what happens for a school play: The kids who are acting and singing on stage may get all the attention, but it’s the ones moving props, painting scenery, doing the makeup, running lights and sound and playing in the orchestra who make it all possible.
How important is this book? It’s been described as the “bible” for court builders. For years, it’s been an invaluable reference manual for everyone involved in tennis, whether they are builders, contractors, facility owners and managers, park and rec professionals, school or college sports administrators, teaching pros, tennis association members, architects or engineers. (If you don’t have a copy, visit sportsbuilders.org.)
The behind-the-scenes experts who work on the tennis book are not alone in this vein. There are thousands who volunteer their time and expertise to make this industry and sport better — they quietly “fill in the gaps” in this industry without seeking the limelight. In fact, for the last 10 years, we’ve honored some of these mostly “unsung heroes” with RSI’s annual Champions of Tennis Awards (see page 38 for our “honor roll,” and to nominate for the 2011 awards).
Many organizations — such as the ASBA, PTR, USPTA and USTA — are seeking nominations for annual awards. For instance (and on a personal note as part of the USTA’s National CTA Committee), it would be great to see dozens of nominations for the Eve Kraft Community Service Award — one of this industry’s most prestigious — and for the CTA of the Year Award. (Go to “About USTA” on usta.com for more on these and other awards.)
Nothing could be more satisfying than to overwhelm these organizations with the nominations of dozens of unsung heroes who should receive recognition. If these people can donate so much of their time to tennis, we can certainly give a few minutes of ours to submit their names for recognition by their peers.
See all articles by Peter Francesconi
About the Author
Peter Francesconi is editorial director of RSI magazine.