Tennis Keeps Me Healthy
Jorge Paucar: Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight
“I came back to tennis a little later and haven’t stopped since.”
It’s National Hispanic Heritage Month and to celebrate, USTA Mid-Atlantic is honoring players, providers, and coaches of Hispanic Heritage who are making their mark on tennis in the Section.
To carry the celebration forward, USTA Mid-Atlantic is honoring Jorge Paucar, a retired 20 year Prince George’s County firefighter paramedic, Anne Arundel, Maryland league player, husband and father of a 2-year-old girl, and a player in several Mid-Atlantic Section Championships, plus a sportsmanship winner at the Adult 40 & Over .5 Sectional Championship.
Jorge has been a long-time tennis advocate. “I played recreational tennis for the longest time all the way up to high school and then, fortunately, I was able to play for my community college too. I started with USTA Mid-Atlantic Leagues a little later in life and I haven’t stopped since.”
As a child, tennis was not the activity that Jorge played most, but eventually, he found his way to the courts. “Tennis was always special to me, but as a young kid I didn’t have much opportunity to play, but once I got into high school everything changed. I have played on and off since then and enjoy it very much,” he said.
USTA Mid-Atlantic had a chance to connect with Jorge Paucar to learn more about his love for tennis and the positive impact it has had on his life, his career, and his community.
USTA Mid-Atlantic: What do you enjoy most about tennis and how has it made an impact on your life?
Jorge Paucar: Tennis has given me a wealth of new friendships. Tennis has had a positive impact by keeping me healthy and the most significant impact was my health condition. I would have yearly tests for the Fire Department and I would pass with flying colors. I owe it to playing tennis.
What does it mean to be a leader in the tennis community?
I think to be a leader in the tennis community means to be not only a player but an approachable person, someone you can trust, someone you can depend on and someone you know is just as excited to be playing tennis as you are.
Why is being a part of USTA Mid-Atlantic leagues important to you?
Being part of the USTA Mid-Atlantic leagues is important to me because you get to be part of teams that are of different ages and skills. This will help you on so many levels especially physically and socially. This is where we become a family and this family tends to have fun competing with each other.
If you were talking to someone who had never picked up a racquet before, what would you say to them about tennis?
When you pick up that racquet and you get the feel of hitting the ball, running back and forth, and just enjoying yourself, you just might not want to put down that racquet ever again and it is a great feeling.
What’s your perspective on diversity in tennis in the Mid-Atlantic?
My perspective on diversity is a very good one. I have many friends and competitors that I have played with from many parts of the world. Diversity is strong with Mid-Atlantic tennis and that makes me proud to be part of this group.
Why is celebrating Hispanic Heritage month important to you?
I like the idea of celebrating all heritages and it is important to recognize the contributions of others. My parents are from Ecuador and I was born here in Washington DC. Hispanic Heritage brings me closer to other Hispanics that have contributed in so many ways under different circumstances than myself. To be connected to them by culture, achievements and influences is an honor.
How would you like to see tennis grow in the Hispanic community?
I would like to see tennis grow exponentially in the Hispanic community. I think it would be great to see it grow in communities where tennis may not exist or barely exist. I have been part of a group that would teach young Hispanic kids ranging from 5 and up to participate in free weekly lessons. These kids are kids who don’t have the opportunity to play normally because of social, economic, or other reasons.
Why is it important to see tennis grow in the Hispanic community?
To share tennis is a benefit to any community but also to oneself. The more players there are, the more competition and more games we all get to play. This also helps improve your game by having more practice time. With tennis, the Hispanic community specifically has a sport in which the parents, grandparents, and children can all participate instead of just watching others play, which tends to happen in other sports that are too physically demanding.
As we continue to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we will be focusing on uplifting and amplifying the voices of Hispanic tennis players, providers, and coaches from the Mid-Atlantic region. Make sure to check out our previous spotlight on Eduardo Rincon, and others on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and we encourage you to share and join the conversation.
USTA Mid-Atlantic is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to promoting tennis and its physical, social, and emotional health benefits. Learn about our impact in the Section and how USTA Mid-Atlantic creates community, character, and well-being.