Linda Wells has been a USTA League captain for ten years.
By Erin Bruehl, USTA.com
Physical therapist Linda Wells was treating one of her patients, a tennis player, for a knee injury when the patient asked if Wells played tennis.
Wells, then 44, had played tennis as a kid, but it had been more than 18 years since she had last picked up a racquet, so she said she didn’t play.
"Why not?" asked her patient. Wells didn’t have a good answer. She thought about it and remembered how much she used to love to play. She also had just moved to San Antonio and thought joining tennis classes or a team would be a great way to become part of the community and meet new friends.
Wells, now 55, has been a USTA League player ever since, and a captain for more than 10 years. She says tennis is – and will always be – an integral part of her life.
"I said ‘I don’t know. I really should,’" Wells remembers telling her patient. "I didn’t have a good answer. I remembered I love it. I had just moved to San Antonio, I didn’t really know anybody or how to get back involved. I took a course offered through a local school district; the guy teaching it recognized I had played before and asked if I wanted to be a team."
It took a little while for Wells to adjust to how the game had changed. But she still had her basic skills, and after taking those initial classes, started playing on a 3.0 USTA League team on a neighborhood court and immediately meshed with the other women.
"The game had evolved a lot; we learned in the Chris Evert/Martina Navratilova days, we had wooden racquets, continental grips," Wells says. "It was very different. I took some lessons. I learned to play with an open stance, semi-Western grips. It was interesting that even though it was familiar, there were things that were very different. It was an interesting phenomenon of feeling old but very new at the same time. It was awesome, and I will never look back."
Wells became the team captain for her squad, now The Shavano Park Buzz, when the team’s then-captain stepped down to spend more time with her family and asked Wells to take over. Well says she loves being a captain and that having such a close team makes the job easier.
"I am a detailed person, I am an organizer," Wells says. "I like when my teammates don’t have to worry about anything besides showing up and playing. My job is easy because I have really awesome teammates."
A true fan of the game, the tennis aspect of Wells’ life does not end with USTA League. She also is on the board of the San Antonio Tennis Association and is the president of a Saturday league in San Antonio that has 52 teams of USTA League players of all levels competing. In addition to working in sports medicine as a physical therapist, Wells is also finishing her doctorate in physical therapy at the University of Texas Health Science Center.
And she is very glad she rediscovered the game, which she intends to play for the rest of her life.
"So much of what I do revolves around tennis," Wells says. "I am still playing singles. It has kept me one step ahead of gravity and l love the friendships I’ve made, that I can promote the game in my community and get more people involved and get them as excited about it as we all are. It is the greatest game in the world and you can play forever."
To nominate your captain for consideration for Captain of the Month, please click here. For more information about USTA Leagues and how to become a captain, please click here.