September 4th, 2014

Broward Tennis Blog: There’s No Place Like House for USTA League-winning Captain


The husband and kids of Bernardine House, captain of both the women’s 40+ and 18+ 3.5 women’s teams out of the Tennis Center of Coral Springs, must have the patience of Job. Mom was driving them crazy, because all she seemed to talk about was tennis, tennis, and, for a change of pace, tennis. Both of her teams were on their way to Daytona Beach, and Bernardine was in charge of communications, reservations, and all things sectional.

Bernardine House (seated first row on left) and her winning 40+ 3.5 team.

Bernardine House (seated first row on left) and her winning 40+ 3.5 team.

But what choice did she have? Bernardine led her team to regionals in 2012, where they didn’t do well. Because of scheduling conflicts, she didn’t have the combinations she needed to win. This time, though, she was counting on a different outcome.

Both teams basically had the same ladies, and Bernardine was like a proud mother, beaming at her players for winning both titles. They worked hard to get there – they took periodic clinics, and practiced together once or twice a week. During such practices, Bernardine studied different combinations, and determined who played best with whom. This helped her build her winning line-ups.

“Just because you’re a tennis player doesn’t mean you can win with everybody,” said Bernardine. “I try to put together people who make good teams.”

A native of Ft. Lauderdale, Bernardine started playing recreational tennis in high school, focusing more on cheerleading and the drill team. In college, she gave up tennis for cheerleading, but picked up the racquet again after she married a fellow tennis lover.

“I take tennis very seriously,” she says. “I love it… and I love competing.”

She also loves strategizing, analyzing the team her girls are playing against, what positions they’re strong in – and then making her line-up accordingly. And even though they practice hard and play to win, she always stresses the FUN aspect of the game.

The winning 18+ team was unable to field a team for Sectionals.

The winning 18+ regionals team

In mid-July, the 40+ team headed to Daytona Beach. They didn’t fare as well as Bernardine hoped they would, but they came close, and had competitive and fun matches. Unfortunately, the 18+ team, which was scheduled to play on the hard courts in Altamonte Springs, didn’t fare as well… in fact, they didn’t fare at all, as Bernardine was unable to field a squad to make the trip. She tried everything short of cloning players, but not enough ladies were willing to do battle on the hard courts.

Even though Bernardine’s teams came up short in the post-season, she was a winner: The USTA Florida named her August Captain of the Month for her dedication to the cause of team tennis.