Photo Credit: Michael LeBrecht
One-time weather forecaster Rich Naistat is teaching both himself and his USTA Northern teammates how to stay cool under pressure at the 2013 League National Championships.
By J. Fred Sidhu, special to USTA.com
Even with the strong sun and heat enveloping Indian Wells, Calif., the Men’s Northern Section 3.5 team from Minneapolis–St. Paul, Minn. is proving to be adept at keeping its cool against opponents at this weekend’s 2013 USTA League Adult 40 & Over 3.5 National Championships.
One member of the team is Rich Naistat of Edina, Minn., who worked for the National Weather Service for nearly 38 years before retiring.
“I worked in many different locations, primarily as a weather forecaster. Started in Los Angeles, worked in Washington, D.C., worked in Austin, Texas; Dallas, Texas; Tulsa, Okla.; Bismarck, N.D.; and then the Twin Cities of Minnesota,” the well-traveled 65-year-old said.
His long career in forecasting gave Naistat the opportunity to witness more than his share of extreme weather events. He remembers in June 2003 when his office issued a tornado warning for Southwest Minnesota. Authorities anticipated many fatalities. According to Naistat, the local sheriff said that thanks to the National Weather Service and timely warnings, there were no fatalities due to the tornado.
Naistat recalls many of the big storms he worked through as if they had happened yesterday. “There were also other great storms. July 23, 1987 – a flash flood in Minneapolis-St. Paul of over 10 inches. The Halloween Blizzard of 1991, where we ended up with over 28 inches [of snow] in the Twin Cities,” he said.
Following his retirement from the National Weather Service, Naistat became a tennis official and played tennis seven days a week. As an official, he worked Division I collegiate matches.
As a player, he found out about the pitfalls of playing too much tennis.
“Five years later, I ended up tearing my rotator cuff, finding out that you really shouldn’t play every day without any conditioning,” Naistat said. “Now I’ve cut back and play every other day. I do a lot of strengthening exercises. It’s very, very important, because I want to be able to play tennis for as long as I live.”
As he prepared to his trip to Indian Wells, Naistat checked the weather and told his teammates that there would be rain on Wednesday, but that favorable conditions would return for the weekend.
“It was pretty obvious there was a cutoff low moving into Southern California that causes snow in the mountains just above Palm Springs and Palm Desert and showers here,” he said. “It was going to be rough on Wednesday, but I knew by Friday, Saturday and Sunday, you couldn’t ask for better weather -- sunny, highs in the 70s and 80s, gorgeous and way below normal for here.”
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