November 19th, 2014

President’s Message: Time for the Changing of the Guard at USTA Florida

General News Adult Tennis News Youth Tennis News

By Bob Pfaender, USTA Florida president, volunteer

Bob PfaenderAs is customary in our association, this two-year term is now coming to a close. The new administration is in place and will be sworn in at our USTA Florida Annual Meeting this weekend.

Congratulations to Nancy Horowitz from Pembroke Pines, who is our new president for the next two years. Nancy has done a tremendous job organizing her team of quality volunteers to not only carry on our best practices in growing tennis in Florida, but to create and execute some new and even better ideas and ways to accomplish our goals. Good luck Nancy for a fun and exciting term. I am looking forward to being a part of your leadership group.

It has been an honor and a privilege to have served USTA Florida as your president for the last two years. It has been especially meaningful to have followed my late father, Marvin Pfaender, Jr. (Florida Tennis Association president, 1980-81), in holding this position in our section.

The quality and character of the volunteers on our board of directors, committees, and project teams has provided us a chance to accomplish a great deal and have fun at the same time. Thank each of you for serving. The USTA Florida staff is absolutely the best. The way we are able to blend our efforts together toward our common goals is unique and admired by many at the national level. We should all be very proud of that.

These have been very challenging times in traditional sports. Our children are not as physically active as they should be (we all know why — gadgets!). It is our duty to guarantee that Florida children are exposed to the game of tennis at an early age, and are provided with play opportunities close to their home.

Our Youth Tennis programming is vital to accomplishing this goal. Get them in the game and insure that their first experiences are fun. Direct them through our ROGY (red-orange-green-yellow ball) pathway of “tourn-events” in the non-ranking, non-elimination, fun, single day/three-hour competitions, and get them hooked on tennis. Get a group of friends together and come to one of our Team Tennis Challenges for kids and have a blast. This is how it will happen.

Thank you to each of you around our state that have figured this out and are taking advantage of the enormous resources we have to offer all of you. It works.

Thank you to our board of directors for adopting a comprehensive strategic plan at the outset of this administration. Our priorities of: 1) Growing Recreational Tennis Opportunities for all ages; 2) Expanding and improving our competitive play opportunities, and; 3) Growing participation in tennis among the Hispanic population have kept us focused and able to make a difference in the number of tennis programs and new tennis players throughout Florida. Thank you to all the local and community volunteers and parents that are making that happen.

It would take too long to name each and every one of the wonderful people that I have had the pleasure to work with in this position over the last two years.

Just understand how much I appreciate your giving back to the game during our term.
Whether it is tennis related or not, I encourage anyone reading this article to get involved as a volunteer in something you enjoy and have a passion for. And then tell a friend to do the same thing. You will never understand the rewards and the joys of giving until you do.

Thank you all for “Finding Yourselves in the Game of Tennis.”