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School Tennis Advocate Lane USTA Florida Sept. Volunteer of the Month

September 1, 2010 01:25 PM
lane-webMary Lane has been a long-time advocate of tennis in schools, and has seen the sport evolve in her local schools, from the PE classroom level to her current position as a curriculum specialist in the Seminole County Public Schools district in Sanford, Fla. One of the biggest changes, says Lane, is the QuickStart Tennis format for 10-and-under players that is easily implemented and focuses on fun.

"Tennis in the schools has changed a lot since I first became involved. In my first years of teaching, there was little support for tennis being taught in the schools, as that was perceived as the job of a tennis pro, not a physical education teacher," Lane says. "This past year, we were fortunate to not only offer another training, but in addition to that provided the schools that attended the training with a school membership and tennis equipment. Tennis is a game that can be enjoyed for a lifetime and there is no better way to introduce it than in the schools."

Lane's attention to promoting school tennis in the Central Florida area has led to her honor as USTA Florida September 2010 Volunteer of the Month. In addition to encouraging Seminole County PE teachers to include tennis in the curriculum, the district also provides teachers with QuickStart Workshops and keeps them abreast of equipment grant opportunities.

"In Seminole County Public Schools our goal is to provide the teachers with the resources and training so that they can successfully implement a tennis program at their school," Lane says. "I think the new QuickStart format is a brilliant idea. It is so developmentally appropriate and I think that this will actually keep more kids involved in tennis because they will be successful at it from the start. Many of us started playing the game before we were tall enough to see over the net let alone hit a ball over it. QuickStart will change all of that."

USTA Florida Schools Coordinator Rebecca Halpern says she feels fortunate to work with Lane, "whose passion for bringing tennis to school-aged children will make a lasting impact on school tennis in Seminole County."       

"Mary's tremendous support of school tennis in Seminole County has enabled over 25 schools this year to enjoy three-year USTA organization memberships and equipment," Halpern said. "This is a first for USTA Florida, where a county has purchased three-year USTA memberships for its schools after a PE in-service training." 

The native Floridian also intimately knows junior tennis in the Sunshine State, as Lane grew up and played under the direction of the renowned teaching professional Dave Beerman in Lakeland. She is also credited with establishing the successful link between USTA Florida and the Florida Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (FAHPERD).

In the meantime Lane will continue to focus on the links between PE teachers, school tennis and QuickStart.

"USTA Florida is responsible for such great success of these schools programs," Lane says. "However, it is the USTA Florida staff that bring this program to life. The schools program is so successful because of the initial efforts of Andy McFarland and John MacDonald. Now with Rebecca Halpern as our schools coordinator, the program will continue to flourish."


Birthplace: Lakeland, Fla. (I grew up playing tennis at the Edgewood Courts. Dave Beerman had an amazing youth program there. The tournaments were great. He would even fry fresh fish that he caught for all of the players! Working for Dave at the courts was the best summer job I ever had!)
Family Members: Husband, Chip and Coco
Favorite Movie: Love Affair with Annette Bening and Warren Beatty; during the holidays, Miracle on 34th St.; and for fun, Legally Blonde.
Favorite Food: Dover Sole or lobster when I am in New England
Favorite Travel: New York City in the winter, Palm Beach in the spring, and Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket in the summer.
Favorite Tennis Shot: Two-handed backhand

Earliest Tennis Memory: "Wearing a white tennis dress and hitting tennis balls against the side of the house -- only one broken window that I recall! I think the racket was bigger than I was."
If I Could Play Tennis with Anyone: "As a doubles partner, I would like Chris Evert, and for mixed doubles, Roger Federer could be my partner any day!"
When Not Playing Tennis I Am: "Shopping!"
Best Tennis Memory Ever: "Standing on the courts at Roland Garros and attending the US Open."
I Like to Volunteer in Tennis Because: "It is a sport that you can grow up and grow old with!"






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