Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with Sol Lopez
As National Hispanic Heritage Month comes to an end, we are celebrating with Sol Lopez, an active player and volunteer in the Mid-Atlantic who has been enthusiastic about tennis since she first picked up a racquet. No stranger to the tennis court, Sol plays any chance she gets. She spreads her love for the game through coaching the next generation and uses her Hispanic heritage to foster connections and bring more people to the game.
“I enjoy working with children and giving [them] the opportunity to experience tennis,” Sol says. “I love the joy that children have when we play games and embrace the challenge of tennis.”
Sol is currently an after school program instructor for the Montgomery County Tennis and Education Foundation as well as a teaching pro at the Aspen Hill Club, in Md. She loves to share the lifelong benefits of tennis with all that are eager to learn.
Her passion for tennis doesn’t stop with coaching. Sol is a USTA volunteer and is the council chair of the national Tennis Rules and Regulations Committee, a board member of the Montgomery County Tennis Association (MCTA), a long-time tennis official, and has served on Section volunteer committees both as a member and chairperson.
“My favorite memory from volunteering with USTA Mid-Atlantic was when I attended Fiesta DC,” Sol says. Fiesta DC is a yearly festival hosted in Washington D.C. which brings the entire Latin community together to celebrate culture, arts, and sports. Volunteers and staff from USTA Mid-Atlantic attend to showcase the fun of tennis to the community.
“Being able to speak to those who came up to the booth in their language helped them relax and feel more comfortable.
I was able to make a real connection with people and I got to bring tennis into their lives,” Sol continues.
Sol Lopez grew up with strong ties to her heritage. Her father was from Spain and her mother was from Mexico. Born and raised in the Mid-Atlantic, she stayed connected to her culture through her family. “My Hispanic heritage has influenced me. Even growing up in Washington D.C. it was very important for us to all stay connected to our culture,” Sol said. “Our culture is rich in arts, science, history, and music - not to mention passion, energy, love, celebration, and family as well.”
The importance of honoring National Hispanic Heritage is not only about celebrating the history and culture, it is about understanding those who come from a different past. “When you understand someone's heritage, you can understand that person better. You understand the traditions passed on from generation to generation, and you can communicate better with them. By honoring everyone's cultures, you’ll be able to find similarities in traditions while celebrating the differences,” said Sol.
Sol Lopez has made it to where she is today by finding those similarities and celebrating the differences in traditions. She was able to use tennis as an outlet to make lifetime connections with people from around the globe. And she continues to do this today, “I am able to use my heritage and the fact that I am bilingual to reach out to Hispanic families through coaching and tennis volunteer opportunities.”
Tennis is a powerful connector. It is a sport where you can challenge yourself physically and mentally on court while building friendships that last a lifetime off the court. It celebrates everyone, no matter their ability or age, and unites all different backgrounds through play. “It is a sport you can play for a lifetime,” Sol states. “It is a great activity to stay social and physically active.”
At USTA Mid-Atlantic, we are on a mission to bring people together, build connections, and help communities grow stronger and healthier through tennis. We aim to grow the sport by creating accessible and inclusive opportunities that enrich ALL lives – both physically and mentally – by connecting all generations with the lifetime sport of tennis. Our vision is tennis for EVERY community, age, ability, gender, race, ethnicity, and economic background.
Sol encourages everyone to give tennis a try, even those who have never picked up a racquet before. By sharing her experiences of how tennis has made an impact in her life, she hopes she can spread the love of the sport with others.
USTA Mid-Atlantic is always looking to share stories like Sol’s with the tennis community. We aim to motivate and inspire others in the Section to give tennis a try by showcasing how it is a sport that connects us all. If you have a story to tell, share it with us.
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