By Dana Andrews, USTA Florida Board of Directors
I belong to a family where four generations have played tennis. My father, B.A. Grubbs, was taught tennis on the public courts near his home in Roanoke, Va., by his father. In 1971, my father took me to the US Open for the first time at Forest Hills. Following that trip I was “hooked,” and he took me to a public facility in Pittsburgh where he taught me to play. In 2004, I had the opportunity to introduce my daughter, Claire Mitchell, to the sport.
My father still plays at 84 years of age. He began volunteering for the Northeast Florida Tennis Association in Jacksonville, and eventually through his volunteer efforts he became president of USTA Florida. He had the opportunity to work with volunteer legends such as Bob Pfaender, Sr., Celia Rehm, and Bobby Curtis. Eventually my father was inducted into our Florida Section Hall of Fame.
I am so appreciative of what the organization has meant to our family. Currently I have the opportunity to serve in three different aspects of the organization. I am serving as the Grievance Committee chairman, I am honored to serve on the section board, and on the charitable arm of our organization, the USTA Florida Foundation Board of Directors.
As Grievance chairman, some of you may think that this is a “thankless” job. Over the past year I have had an opportunity to talk with parents and players and their enthusiasm and passion for the sport is encouraging to me. As chairman I am here to listen to all involved, sometimes make a tough and perhaps unpopular decision, but most of all to impress upon the parents and the players that this is a sport of a lifetime and one that can provide invaluable lessons on and off the court.
Serving on the section board has been a great honor for me. I am humbled by the expertise and distinct gifts that each member brings to the decision-making process.
As to the foundation board, I admit that while my daughter was a tournament player, I unfortunately did not pay attention to the foundation and what it gives back to the community. For example, grants are issued by the foundation for equipment to those less fortunate or perhaps to a facility in need. Being a parent of a junior player, I understand the expense involved with lessons, equipment, and travel. The foundation gives a tennis family an opportunity to take the focus off of their own player and to “give back.” You can give directly to the foundation, or a visible way to “give” is to obtain a Play Tennis license tag on your next registration rotation.
I would encourage each of you to consider where you too could contribute to this wonderful organization known as USTA Florida.