Tennis Industry magazine


Our Serve: Our Guiding Lights

By Peter Francesconi

This is the 14th year we’ve picked our Champions of Tennis award winners, and every year, these awards become more and more popular among those involved in this sport. It is exciting for us to recognize individuals, organizations and companies that truly contribute to the mission of growing this game and business, and that’s one of the reasons why our Champions of Tennis issue is one of the most fun for us to put together.

What’s particularly pleasing for me is when I hear from an award winner that recognition in Tennis Industry somehow helped his or her organization or business in growing the game. Many have said the national recognition provided by our awards have helped in gaining funding and support for grassroots programs or facilities, or in pushing a project through at the local level, or even in helping government officials or others take their local tennis organization more seriously.

In putting together the short stories about our award winners, it’s always striking to note how many honorees genuinely try to deflect the credit from themselves and praise the “team,” acknowledging those who helped them. In a business that often takes itself way too seriously, I find this incredibly refreshing.

This tendency of our award winners to spread the credit around and point out those who helped along the way struck me in a particular, poignant way this year, as right now, one of my most important “team” members struggles to stay with us.

I know dealing with aging parents is nothing new; it seems like everyone I know is in some way facing these issues. It was difficult two years ago when, in this space, I mentioned my father’s decline. Now, my mother, a true guiding light for me, faces the same challenges. While it breaks my heart to see her going through this, it’s also causing me to think more and more about the influences in our lives that shape us, make us who we are, and cause us to care and work to make things better.

My parents always encouraged us to be active and play all sports, including tennis. Growing up in the 1920s and ‘30s, they knew not only the importance of being “serious” about life and career, but also about how important a well-rounded life is. They have been a most important and consistent part of my “team” throughout my life, and by their examples, taught my sisters and me those subtle, selfless lessons about caring for others, caring for a cause, doing what’s right, forgiving and moving on, and not worrying about grabbing credit. They’ve been the ultimate advocates for “team” play, and in fact created an amazing family “team.”

Like our Champions of Tennis, we all have had people in our lives who have shaped us in both obvious and subtle ways — the “guiding lights” for our lives and careers. Whether you call them mentors, advisors, counselors, best friends, or even parents, I’d very much like to hear about your own personal “guiding lights.”

Peter Francesconi, Editorial Director

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About the Author

Peter Francesconi is editorial director of Tennis Industry magazine.



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