Children: Ava, 15
What makes tennis a special part of your life?
It was important to my father that his children learn lifetime sports. We all were competitive swimmers as young kids, and then at the age of 13, I was given the choice of tennis or golf. My dad played golf, so without hesitation, it was tennis for me. The teachers and the challenge to learn the sport captivated me from the start, and the challenge still keeps me involved today. Tennis is not just a special part of my life – it has grown to BE my life. I can’t imagine a life without tennis.
I’ve never parted from the game since my days of early learning in Ohio, junior competition in Florida, Division I play at the University of New Mexico, age-group tournaments and USTA League. I drank tennis like a cup of water in the desert back then. The game was booming, and tennis life was great. I’ve met so many wonderful people along the way and still have life-long friendships through tennis.
Tell us more about yourself and your involvement in tennis.
Since my recruitment to UNM long ago, I’ve felt a strong obligation to give back to a state and a sport that gave so much to me. I met so many people, and doors were opened to me because of this great sport. I met my husband playing tennis. After retiring from the corporate world, I went a step further to become a high school coach. I’m in my 19th season as varsity girls’ head coach for the Albuquerque Academy. I am also in my ninth season as head coach of the very popular middle school program for the same school. In 2010, I was approached to help reignite a 12U program at a local club.
It was also the year I received the news that I had cancer. The obligation to ensure this program’s success and my 7-year-old daughter gave me no time to feel sorry for myself. What a gift. So, together with wonderful instructors, the program grew quickly from six to 100 kids a week. And I became cancer-free. With the program in good condition, a few years later, I was drawn to a family-oriented club that approached me for the same purpose, and it also was a successful venture. Currently, I’m organizing a 10U orange-ball league for our local USTA district. I coach and captain USTA women’s league teams, and most recently, I played on a 55 League team that went to nationals. Tennis is in my blood!
What are some of your notable tennis accomplishments?
I achieved my teaching certification through the USPTA. I’ve held offices with the Southwest USPTA (currently secretary) and am a USTA Player Development Southwest EDC coach.
What does tennis offer to you and your family?
Outside of practice, to be able to go play tennis with my daughter strengthens our family bond and keeps us healthy, happy, laughing and loving. The best part? She gets it! She understands what I’ve loved and gained since my teens. I’ve passed on what my dad gave to me – a lifetime of play, friendships to be made, life lessons to be learned, staying healthy through exercise and a family bond that will ensure memories long after I’m gone.
Why is it important for your daughter to play tennis? And why do you play tennis yourself?
The health aspect is primary. In today’s technologically infused world and shortened or nonexistent physical education classes in our schools, it’s critical that exercise is a daily routine. In addition, the many life lessons one can learn from playing tennis are immeasurable. Lastly, it’s well written that children who participate in tennis (and other sports) tend to also do well in school. I remain involved in playing tennis because I like the exercise and the social, yet competitive, aspect of the sport. I still look to improve.