During his presentation, Phillips talked about what got him into tennis growing up and how that has led to his advocacy and consulting job with the USTA.
Phillips said he started playing tennis while growing up in Jackson. He received his first racket when he was 9 years old. But because Jackson had no formal program at the time, he didn’t really get into to tennis until he and his family moved to Houston. There he began playing junior tennis and continued to gravitate toward tennis because of his height.
He also gave a brief history of the sports popularity. According to Phillips, the 1970s saw a tennis boom in the U.S. During that time people had to wait for courts to play on and most of the elitist stigma dwindled away.
“A lot of opportunities were opened up for people then,” he said.
Phillips went on to explain that a similar boom appears to be going on now. Tennis, he says, is the third biggest growing sport according to sports equipment manufacturers. He believes that the sport is growing because not only is it a physical sport, but because it can be played by families and played for a long time.
To illustrate his point on the longevity of players in the sport, Phillips pointed out there was recently a 95 and over singles tournament.
Phillips then moved to how he believes Crowley would benefit from tennis programs.
“I think it would be a great thing for Crowley and the well-being of kids as well as adults.”
He described many youth programs and several adult programs that could be instituted with the help of the USTA. The USTA, he says, has a program called Quick Start which serves as their version of Little League.
He described the various programs that ranged from things such as junior tennis to a program where 10 and under aged children do not even need a court. He also said that the USTA helps implement programs into schools by teaching inservice programs to physical education teachers.
Phillips says that there are many positive aspects for youths in tennis programs.
“There’s just something about the sport that brings out that type of character in kids,” he said.
Also at the meeting were several guests of Rotarians as well as two visiting Rotarians from other clubs. Among the visitors was Tim Robichaux, Notre Dame baseball coach and manager of the Crowley Recreation Department. Robichaux says the need and want for tennis courts in the city is still present, it is the funding, however, that is lacking.
The city still hopes to get the tennis court project moving. The space would house six side-by-side courts.
During the meeting, Peggy Sandidge was installed as a new member of Crowley’s Rotary Club. She was sponsored by Alice Whiting. The Rotary Club is gearing up for August which is “Membership and Extension Month.”
For more information, visit the USTA’s website at http://www.usta.com/.