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USTA Florida Jan./Feb. 2010 President's Message

February 10, 2010 08:56 AM
 

 "The Koz" and Bobby Curtis

I certainly hope that you and your family had a wonderful holiday season and you're now ready for an exciting 2010. We recently attended the USTA Community Tennis Development Workshop in San Diego, Calif., during the third weekend in January (where the Lee County Community Tennis Assocation was named the 2009 USTA Community Tennis Association (CTA) of the Year), and we'll be attending the USTA Annual Meeting in Dallas, Tex., during the third weekend in March.

However, I'd like to reflect for a moment on the USTA Florida 60th Annual Meeting and Anniversary Weekend on Dec. 4-6, 2009, in Clearwater Beach, Fla. As you may know, Florida was once part of the United States Lawn Tennis Association's Southern Section -- that is until our four founding fathers, Eddie Herr, Gardnar Mulloy, Clarence Varner and Ed Turville got their way. After some maneuvering in 1949, Florida broke away from the Southern Lawn Tennis Association, as it was then known, and Florida became its own section -- the Florida Lawn Tennis Association, predecessor to what is now known as USTA Florida.

The first part of the weekend was a celebration of all that we've accomplished over the past 60 years. There was, of course, business to do on Friday with Executive Committee and Board meetings as well as workshops for Jr. Team Tennis and adult league tennis coordinators, tournament directors, county representatives, and our new pilot Volunteer Leadership Development Program. We had our popular First Timer's Orientation on Friday afternoon and hoped to get away for some Beach Tennis at our Beach Party. The weather didn't cooperate so we went indoors and had a great time playing QuickStart Tennis in the ballroom. It was a sight to behold...we had a ball!

The business portion of the weekend concluded on Saturday morning with our 60th Annual Business Meeting. Then the fun began. At our Awards Luncheon we recognized 16 individuals or organizations for their contributions to Florida tennis during the past year. Doug Booth, executive director of USTA Florida, is the traditional moderator for this event and did a great job as always! Again, the weather kept us indoors, this time allowing for some relaxation, catching up with old friends, and renewing some friendly rivalries over college football games. There were a few 'Bama fans with smiles after the day's big game.

Saturday night was our traditional dinner/dance when all of the past presidents and Board members gathered to blow out the candles on our 60th Anniversary cake. The celebration culminated with Sunday morning's "Breakfast With The Stars," when we presented our six highest honors, concluded by the induction of 101-year-old Jim Vuille into the USTA Florida Hall of Fame. We recognized the 30 Merit Award winners in attendance, the oldest being Bobby Curtis himself, back in 1980. We had 11 Hall of Fame members and eight past presidents in attendance.

We then turned our attention to honoring the star of the weekend, Bobby Curtis, retiring after 30 years of dedicated service to junior tennis in Florida. The event was moderated by Dave Kozlowski, "The Koz," who took Bobby down memory lane as six of his closest friends remembered milestones of Bobby's 30 year career. We viewed a dedication video that brought tears to our eyes. We unveiled Bobby's portrait which will hang in a place of honor in our corporate headquarters next to a similar one of our founding fathers.

The weekend concluded with Bobby reflecting on his 30-year career and remembering friends, old and new. It was an emotion-packed morning, to say the least! All in all, it was an incredible weekend of business mixed with memories as we recognized the growth of tennis in Florida over the past 60 years and the many individuals who made it possible.

Congratulations to the 60th Celebration Committee for making it such a memorable weekend!

Donn Davis
USTA Florida President
 

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