Organizer of the Month
March 7, 2017
Each month, USTA Eastern selects one passionate advocate who has impacted lives through tennis on a local level. It all begins with a love of the game! These individuals have inspired us with their community tennis involvement.
Organizer of the Month: March 2017
Fauna Pappalardo-Minges, of Fairport, N.Y., was chosen as USTA Eastern’s Tennis Organizer of the Month for March because of her exceptional work developing USTA League in the Rochester, N.Y. area. Pappalardo-Minges channels her passion for tennis by providing play opportunities for adults throughout her community.
After beginning as a USTA League player in 2011, Pappalardo-Minges quickly became heavily involved with participating in, captaining and organizing leagues. Since her start with USTA League, Pappalardo-Minges has participated on 36 teams. ADVERTISEMENT This year, Pappalardo-Minges plans to play on approximately nine USTA League teams and captain five.
“I love the competition, fitness and social aspects that come with playing leagues,” Pappalardo-Minges said. “It also gives me the opportunity to play with my family, which I enjoy.”
Pappalardo-Minges has played on a USTA League mixed team with her husband, Gary Minges, as her doubles partner since 2013. Minges, a teaching professional at Mendon Racquet and Pool Club in Pittsford, N.Y., met Pappalardo-Minges several years earlier while playing tennis.
When it comes to captaining, Pappalardo-Minges leads by example. She supports her teams by setting the line-ups, staying in constant communication with her players and attending matches. Pappalardo-Minges also acts as a mediator to solve any problems that may arise, and fields questions on rules from all league players, not just those on the teams she captains. She encourages positive sportsmanship by creating a pleasant, fun playing environment for all players to share their love of the game. In order to promote positive play, Pappalardo-Minges believes in starting and ending each match with a handshake between players and between captains.
“As an organized and detail-oriented person, captaining was a natural fit for me,” Pappalardo-Minges said. “If I can make a difference between having team play and not having a team play I’m more than glad to put in the work that is required to captain a team. If you want to play, but a local league doesn’t exist, I’ll start one!”
In addition, Pappalardo-Minges believes if someone is interested in captaining that they should “absolutely go for it,” and suggests reaching out to previous or current captains for guidance on how to get started. As a seasoned captain, Pappalardo-Minges consistently finds ways for anyone interested to get involved.
“If I am in need of players, I go to the USTA website and reach out to players who haven’t played in a while,” Pappalardo-Minges said. “However, when you play on nine teams a year people tend to call you and say they are looking for a team. If I am full, I refer them to another team so they can play.”
Another way Pappalardo-Minges supports tennis locally is by organizing several “drop in” opportunities each year. In doing so, Pappalardo-Minges sends out a weekly email letting players know to contact her with their availability. She then books the necessary number of courts and balances the players’ levels to ensure there is competitive play each week.
“I try to provide playing opportunities for as many people as possible in the Rochester community,” Pappalardo-Minges said. “If I could choose another career, it would be running a tennis program, organizing leagues and getting people out there playing!”