Niagara Peninsula Tennis Community – About us…
The Short Story …
This is a forum for the purpose of communication, collaboration and coordination. Its intention is to provide information for anyone with questions about the game of tennis in the Niagara Peninsula, and also to serve as a meeting place for those who care about the game of tennis in the Niagara Peninsula and those who would like to make comments about it.
We encourage you to hit the JOIN button and add your name to our database. As individuals or as small groups, we’re limited in what we can accomplish. When we band together, our inﬂuence expands.
Some background : A Longer Story ….
My name is Rosemary Goodwin. I’ve been a volunteer in the sport of tennis for about 10 years, primarily in Niagara-on-the-Lake. For the past four years, my role has been as a designated “community champion” in a program Tennis Canada calls “Building Tennis Communities”. The mandate of the BTC strategy is to bring more people into the game of tennis and to keep them playing the game for life. The approach is based on the philosophy that tennis has a role to play in community development and, if seen by community leaders as a valuable asset to the community, will be supported accordingly.
Community models such as this are based on the development of collaborative partnerships rather than competitive relationships. In a scholarly study of tennis at the community level, Professor Susan Vail (York University) found there is often resistance to change the way we have been accustomed to operating. She found that most community sport leaders, and tennis is no exception, operate in relative isolation from (and often compete with) other organizations.
Two years ago, I met Peter Bedard, who had recently relocated with his family from Toronto to Fonthill. Peter had been surprised to ﬁnd that the dynamic and energetic tennis atmosphere he was accustomed to throughout the GTA was not apparent in Niagara. Sometimes it takes outside eyes to bring a fresh perspective. On reﬂection, it was clear that tennis in Niagara is underperforming …. and this despite many very positive factors.
We have a thriving community club (Welland Tennis Club) that is among a select number worldwide with a 100+ year history. We have a well-established full-service year-round facility in The Club at White Oaks. The highly-regarded Niagara Academy of Sports has been training and educating high-performance junior players since 1997, and has been involved in community outreach programs
throughout that time as well. Frank Dancevic of Niagara Falls has enjoyed a long and successful professional career, representing Canada in Davis Cup matches on numerous occasions. Junior players have won provincial and national titles; others have won tennis scholarships to support higher education. There are community clubs in Grimsby, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Pelham, Fort Erie and Port Colborne. There are at least 11 teaching professionals who have Tennis Canada Club Pro and Coach credentials at the 1st, 2nd or 3rd levels. In addition there are many others who are certiﬁed instructors. We have a little-known historical legacy of great international tournaments played here throughout the 30 years prior to World War I.
And as of this summer, we have a DSA honouree in Tady Saczkowski, we have a nationally-promoted Team Tennis program for kids, and we have an ITF pro tournament coming to White Oaks in September.
Despite all these “plus” factors, the overall tennis atmosphere in the Niagara Peninsula is less than what most players, coaches and fans would like to see. We have no multi-club leagues and few region-wide events at which large numbers of players gather. We have few opportunities for our coaches to combine their eﬀorts …. or even to get to know each other. General public awareness about tennis, and overall appreciation for tennis, is lower than would be desired.
As a consequence, members of the general public who might be drawn toward tennis fail to do so because they don’t see adequate opportunity, or because they ﬁnd too many obstacles. For every Niagara resident for whom tennis plays a beneﬁcial role in their life, there are many more who have not yet found a way into the game. This applies to youth and to adults, to those in their 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond.
In forming the Niagara Peninsula Tennis Community, we hope to ﬁnd ways for those who love tennis to coordinate and collaborate in order to expand their own tennis opportunities and interests. But we also hope to ﬁnd ways for those of us who love tennis to reach out to the Niagara community at large, such that many more will be able to learn our game and come to realize its many joys and beneﬁts.
A rising tide lifts all boats. All tennis throughout the Niagara Peninsula will beneﬁt if we can solve this puzzle …. if we can harness all the goodwill and all the expertise, all the knowledge and all the experience, that are here in abundance.
If you could wave a magic wand and have your ideal tennis situation here in Niagara, what would it look like? How would the parks and schools be included? What facilities would be involved, and where would they be located? What events or activities would you like to see added?
This is the basis for the conversation. The Niagara Peninsula Tennis Community is the forum. We hope you’ll push the JOIN button and become part of it …. as an active participant in the conversation, or simply as an observer. Everyone is welcome! All ideas are welcome!
This is a Tennis Welcome Centre!
Postscript: This website is possible only because of the wonderful contribution of Evan Roberts. Evan is a 3rd year Kinesiology student at McMaster University in Hamilton. Along with his sister, Emma, a post-graduate student in psychology, Evan runs the junior program at the Pelham Tennis Association courts in Fenwick.