Creating Opportunities to Play: How Tennis is a Passion
This February, USTA Mid-Atlantic is honoring Black History Month by celebrating the stories of African Americans who have dedicated themselves to create and build community through tennis.
This week, we are catching up with Edward “Skip” Fox, Director of Hampton Tennis Center in Hampton, Virginia. Read Skip’s first-person account of how tennis has created community and well-being for his community in Southeastern Virginia.
Tennis has been a part of my life since I was 11 or 12 years old. I was introduced to the game by Mark, my good friend who lived across the street from me in Newport News, Va. Mark and his father were big tennis fans, and I was intrigued about the game when I would listen to them talk about playing. They expressed such love for the sport that I wanted to give it a try.
I have fond memories of going to play with Mark and his father at Briarfield Tennis Courts in Hampton Va. Those courts are where I started to take those first swings at the ball - learning the basics from "low to high" and learning to always be quick on my feet.
Throughout my life, tennis has given me "balance" in every sense of the word. It offers me a dose of healthy living, great socialization, and it improves my problem-solving skills.
I think that it's important for all people to play tennis because it's the perfect social activity. Additionally, the sport is a preserver of health, it strengthens the entire body and enhances cardiovascular fitness. Tennis is a great way to get an excellent cardio workout without going to a gym.
Through my involvement with tennis in the Mid-Atlantic area, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some terrific folks over the years. From both playing in and running local tennis tournaments, to coaching young kids to adults; the relationships I’ve formed are truly awesome!
However, one thing I learned about tennis was that it can be expensive. Unfortunately, the cost can be a barrier to entry for people with limited resources who would like to give tennis a try. This barrier is particularly prevalent in the Black community and increasing access to tennis is an issue that’s very important to me.
I believe that continuing to push tennis in our communities and encouraging young people to diversify their interests will help them become well rounded adults later in life. I will always be an advocate for increased exposure and access to tennis for ALL!
USTA Mid-Atlantic is committed to helping communities like Skip’s ensure that tennis is accessible to all. Programs such as Girls Rule the Court and the Junior Player Scholarship, help remove barriers to the sport. With your support, USTA Mid-Atlantic can continue to make an impact in our region. Donate or Volunteer today.
This year USTA Mid-Atlantic, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is celebrating 100 years of promoting tennis and its physical, social, and emotional health benefits. Get involved and show your support for the next 100 years of tennis. Learn about our impact in the Section and how USTA Mid-Atlantic creates community, character, and well-being.