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Florida Tennis Briefs(2): Broxson Inducted at UWF; a 3.5 Story

June 14, 2011 03:17 PM
A 3.5 Women's Senior League of their Own

By Barbara Eisner Bayer, TennisLife-Florida Region 8 writer

Region 8-Captains
3.5 Senior League captains (left to right): Deb Hartman, Ann Cullen, Margaret Schutrumpf
What do you do if you want to play USTA League tennis and there's no league in your area? If you're Deb Hartman, you take your passion and energy and single-handedly create one.

During snowbird Deb's Ft. Lauderdale winters, she played at the Lauderdale Yacht Club, but when she headed back to her Maryland home, she spent her time gardening, too busy to hit the courts. When she returned south and picked up her racquet, she was plagued by injuries. Her pro's prescription for healing her ailing body? Don't take summers off!  Deb then joined USTA summer leagues in Maryland, and fell in love with the camaraderie and competition.

Now that her body was healthy again, Deb wanted to join a Florida USTA adult team. But, lo and behold, she wasn't able to find one in her area. First, there are so many Broward County day leagues, that many women were either too busy or too tired to play in the evenings. Second, the teams she contacted either had full rosters, or were too far from her home. So she looked into a senior league.

"I was absolutely shocked to learn that there was none," Hartman said.

She knew, however, that where there's a void, there's a need to fill it, so she got cooking. She contacted Lou Armstrong, her local USTA league coordinator, created and distributed flyers, and made a ton of phone calls, looking for potential captains. Deb formed a team based out of Dillon Tennis Center in Oakland Park, and her friend, Ann Cullen, started one from Lauderdale Tennis Club. But two teams do not a league make, so she almost gave up hope.

After spending the winter holidays in Maryland, Deb returned to the greatest Christmas present of them all: another captain, Margaret Boyd Schutrump, agreed to form a team out of the Jimmy Evert Tennis Center at Holiday Park and, viola, a 3.5 women's senior league was born.

If you'd like to start a league in your area, Deb advises to visit different clubs and host cocktail parties during the off-season to locate potential captains, and get the word out. (All potential league players can't resist wine and cheese!) 

Deb is being rewarded grandly. Her team is currently in first place, with a good chance of going straight to sectionals in Daytona Beach. But Deb's grand prize will always be having a league of her own.

Broxson Inducted into UWF Hall of Fame

By Scott Harrison, TennisLife-Florida Region 1-West writer

Region 1W-Renee Broxson
Renee Broxson (photo: Tina Harbuck of the Destin Log)
Freeport's Renee Broxson was inducted into the University of West Florida (UWF) Hall of Fame earlier this year as a women's tennis player and for special achievement in sportsmanship and leadership.

Broxson personified sportsmanship during her four-year stint at UWF as a non-traditional student and tennis player, and then as an assistant coach to the women's tennis team. In 1995, she became UWF's only winner of the ITA National Arthur Ashe Award, honoring college tennis players who personify outstanding sportsmanship and leadership.

Broxson started tennis at the age of 28 and became hooked on the game. When then-Argo Ralph "Skeeter" Carson needed a couple of players for the bottom of his line-up, a couple of Panhandle-area players and a local pro convinced her to try college at the age of 32. At the time UWF was an NAIA school and older players could participate. She was the oldest player ever to earn a UWF tennis scholarship.

Through her four years at UWF, Broxson never missed a match in either singles or doubles while playing progressively higher in the UWF line-up. The Lady Argos made the national NAIA tournament in all four of Broxson's years at UWF. In 60 percent of her semesters at UWF, she was named to the Dean's List. Broxson never expected to go to college after a rather disappointing high school academic career, but credits 12 years of working for a living before college in giving her the discipline to train for tennis and embrace learning.

Broxson was and still is an amazing fitness freak. She was an inspiration to the much younger players on the team for both her fitness and dedication in the classroom. Following her graduation from UWF she has worked as an assistant coach at UWF and worked her way up to the head pro position at Hidden Dunes Beach and Tennis Resort in Destin, also competing in and winning USTA national age division events. She is also highly involved with the USTA's Quickstart program and is continually trying new and different ways to make her classes both fun and interesting.

In a span of 15 years, Renee started playing tennis, became a college tennis player, earned her degree, became a teaching and coaching professional and became a national champion in her age group. It's quite an accomplishment in such a short time.






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