Between the Lines - President's View for May 5, 2012
Volunteers form the cornerstone of our sport across Ontario. Without all of you and your countless hours invested in growing tennis in the local community and beyond, tennis would not be growing in popularity. In fact, according to the Canadian Tennis Brand Health Study commissioned by Tennis Canada in 2011, there continues to be growth in the number of Canadians who play tennis at least once per year, about 4.9M in 2011, up 3% from 2010.
The OTA President Survey was released to our member club contacts on Apr 20 and already we've received about 25 surveys back with some very valuable feedback. My hope is to reach at least a 25% return rate by the survey close date of July 20th. I encourage all club Presidents to complete the survey sooner rather than later.
The Ontario Sport Awards dinner was held April 19 at the Ontario Place Atlantic Pavilion, celebrating Ontario's finest athletes, coaches, volunteers and corporate sponsors (like having a DSA at the provincial level). The 2011 recipient of the Syl Apps volunteer award as nominated by the OTA went to Gus Morhart, with the corporate sport citation going to Marco Distler of Miele Canada. Each sports association in Ontario is allowed to nominate one outstanding individual and corporation in these categories annually. Congratulations to both Gus and Miele.
Had a chance to drop by for the kickoff of the Philpott Art Auction fundraiser held at the Movie Poster gallery at 1875 Leslie St. Unit 18. Featured some nice drawings and watercolours from the late artist Allan James Cunnington. Daniel Nestor wine tasting provided by Peter Jensen of NEXUS wine group. You could also bid on an autographed 6-bottle case of Nestor win. All proceeds went to the Philpott Inner-City children's tennis fund. Thanks to the ladies of Philpott: Ceciley Parker, Sharon Arnold and Eleanor O'Gorman.
Met Susanne Pacher, VP at the Thorncliffe Park Tennis Club during the OTA's AGM meet & greet. Very nice lady who is working hard to make a difference for the hundreds of high-need families in that part of Toronto. She is looking for funding opportunities to help partially or fully subsidize a four week tennis program for the kids in the neighborhood. Canadian Tire Jumpstart program is one such source which may work out for this club. Good luck and I hope to hear more about the club's successes over the summer.
Dropped by Tennis Canada's COE the other day and met Victor Krustev's mom. If you check the 2011/2012 OT Magazine yearbook you'll see that Victor was ranked #1 in the U12 age category as of the end of 2011, and is currently #2 in the U14 category. I remember Victor when he attended one of the tournaments I held at the Markham Tennis Club way back in July of 2006. He was around 7 years old at the time and I knew right away he would be making an impact on the tennis scene. Victor is currently sidelined with an injury and needs a number of months to recover. These are the challenges faced by a lot of juniors who work extremely hard from an early age, but sometimes their bodies don't behave quite the way they expect. Victor is recovering well and we all wish him a speedy recovery to get back on the courts real soon!
The 2015 Pan and Parapan Games being held in Toronto and surrounding GTA is only three short years away. The sport of tennis will be well represented and there will be more announcements and feature events occurring as we get closer to the date. On May 4, CIBC, as the lead partner, announced it is donating $1M in athletic scholarships over the next 10 years to encourage athletics and education. I was on hand for the announcement and also was able to see the future site of the CIBC Athlete's village that will be built just east of Front and Parliament in Toronto. The artist's rendering of the area looks amazing and will leave a lasting legacy of affordable housing and new condo spaces.
Met our new female rep for Tennis Canada National Seniors Committee, Jennifer Bishop. What a nice gal and full of energy, enthusiasm and new ideas. The committee is an advisory committee that exists to support, guide and promote Tennis Canada’s Seniors Tennis mandate. Jennifer is originally from Newfoundland and grew up playing competitive tennis from an early age. We look forward to her contributions. Congratulations Jennifer!
Saturday, May 5 was a busy day for summer club openings. The weather behaved so I was able to get out to my home club, Markham Tennis Club. I've been a member of MTC for 20 years with my family and it continues to foster a friendly and social environment. Past President Jim Fehr and incoming President Donna Carpenter were on hand to ensure all had a great time.
Next visit was the 50th anniversary celebration at Richmond Hill Lawn Tennis Club. RHLTC was founded in 1960 and located to their present location in the late 1970's. President Mike Bowcott addressed the crowd of about 150 and noted that back in the 60's, family membership was $35 while individual adult membership was $15, and a bottle of coke was a nickel. Mayor Dave Barrow addressed the attendees and presented the club with a 50th anniversay certificate. Snacks, drinks and a special cake were served to all visitors and founding members Sam (age 91) and Joan Malcomson were on hand to visit with members and recall fond memories of the early years.
Last Words: I invite everyone to visit both the OTA website and the OTA's facebook page often, as I make attempts to maintain a social media presence in the tennis world. As of this writing, you can find a variety of pictures of great volunteers, events and celebrations on facebook. I am happy to promote any event or milestone going on in your region using the same tools. Please send me pictures featuring your favourite event, volunteer or activity and I'll do my best to get it some recognition. Or better yet, invite me to attend and I'll take pictures!
See you on the Courts!