Unfortunately not going to be able to travel to Jacksonville in February – will be on the tennis pro shop tv, that’s for sure – front and center. Probably travel distance is a little too far for me and my group as we are in the Big D. I dream of a day when coaches raise money and set up transpo and housing and workouts and matches for their juniors to attend Davis Cup Matches – - – no matter how near or far.
Same for the NCAAs at Athens, GA. Or the US Open. Or Houston. Or Memphis. Or Cincy. Or Atlanta. Or Winston-Salem. Or New Haven. Or Miami. Or Indian Wells. Have been there and done that many times and seen the explosive power of trips and travel to motivational tennis events.
And I dream of a day when coaches and parents take their juniors to one great college match a week. To me that is axiomatic and the one thing that could help US tennis more than any other. Such great tennis! Thrilling! So fun! A rooting team atmosphere! And the matches are free for crying out loud!
Champions travel. The better you get, the further you travel. When you start, you can walk across the street and get beat. Then you get better and have to get on your bike to get beat. Then you have to get in your car. Then you have to drive a long way. And if you get really, really good, you gotta get in an airplane to get beat. If you are on the pro tour, you gotta fly all over the world each and every week . . .
As I say in all my talks:
Champions take it in through their eyes and not their ears.
You have to see it before you can dream it and you must be passionate about it before you can achieve it.
Attending one motivational tennis event – - – like an exciting and raucous and well played college match or pro tournament – - – is better than 30 days of practice. Juniors return to their club or park or school more fired up for tennis than ever – - – and somehow magically improved.
I dream of a day when the USTA takes some of Pat McEnroe’s 1 million dollar salary and uses it to send 500 of our most deserving juniors to a Davis or Fed Cup Match for three days of workouts, team matches with both singles and doubles, and lotsa fun and exposure to each other and to our great USA Team Members and Captain Jim Courier and, of course, watching the spine tingling excitement of a Davis Cup tie. Again, it would be an experience none of them would ever forget and they would return home jacked outta their minds for our sport.
I did take around 50 Bent Tree CC members to Austin when the Davis Cup was down in A town summer before last against Spain. Fantastic and thanks so much, Craig!! That was a lot of fun as the Drum (Erwin Center) was rocking And I bet it was an experience your players will always remember. but unfortunately, we didn’t take the match against the Rafa – less Spaniards. Painful memory. The Bros. won their doubles, but both Andy and Mardy were up a break in the first set and served for it and then lost it and ended up barely losing those heartbreaking matches. But proud that our USA Team won the Davis Cup in Portland vs. Russia in 2007. Had tears streaming down my face.
On a different front, let’s hope PMc takes some notes on what they are doing Down Under with their jr programming – U10, National Tournaments, etc. etc. Can’t understand why he’s not willing to compromise on his stance. He must think he’s totally right and we are all bunch of hacks out here in the bushes. Yeah . . . maybe so. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. And another saying I love that might be applicable here is: There’s not much traffic on the road to humility. Herm Edwards
I have high hopes for our great new incoming USTA President Dave Haggerty. He is spearheading the USTA Listening Tour that is getting wonderful input from our top coaches, parents and tennis minds all over the US on the National Schedule and Rankings. Huge, huge change of attitude by the USTA and a grand step forward. Heard they had a wonderful meeting in Atlanta just this past Sunday, with lots of blue chippers in attendance and great and positive suggestions flowing from all quarters. Go to Lisa Stone’s WEB Site for a spot on reiteration of that meeting.
Anyway – keep sending the updates – very much enjoy them. Thanks so much for reading them, Craig. I know they are always way too long. I’m sure our paths will cross someday. I’m going to try and get a group of Bent Tree members\friends to head down to the US Clay Courts in Houston on the weekend of April 12-14 – so maybe you might be around Houston during that time frame. Yes! Mike ‘n Bob are again playing that event and I’ll be emceeing it and doing clinics there. The Bryan Bros. Band plays a gala gig there at the venerable River Oaks Country Club on Thursday Night.
Three questions I have frequently asked myself on my pillow in the wee wee hours: Do coaches/parents not take their kids to college matches and pro events because:
a) They do not see the incredible benefits of such a trip and an experience – - – the powerfully motivational and inspirational aspects to it?? Or . . .
b) They do not know how to put a trip together and fill it up with their players?? Can’t handle the logistics: Vans. SUVs. Buses. Sign-up sheets. Drivers. Food. Or how to rally the troops and raise money for flights if they are going to a Davis Cup Match that is across the country? Or . . .
c) Is it because they do not want to miss out on some half hour private lessons?
Right now the basic DNA of tennis in this country is the half hour private lesson. I dream of a day when the basic DNA of tennis is a Mom or Dad and a van load of kids driving to a college match or pro event. When Bill Clinton won the 1992 election they said it was because he appealed to Soccer Moms. I dream of a day when the next President speaks of Tennis Moms – - – and Dads.
Thanks for this nice note and your great input and thanks for all you do for your players and for tennis each day. And thanks again on your best of all letters last year re the glut of foreign players in US College Tennis – - – and I still say that is the big white elephant in our American Tennis Living Room. Add to that our National Junior Schedule and Ranking System and the ill-conceived U10 Mandate and you have a distasteful stew, indeed. Am hoping Dave Haggerty’s leadership and vision can make this tennis dish more palatable . . .
Onward and upward,
Best to you and yours,
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