Tennis is Family
Tennis is family to central Pennsylvania’s Deb Gable. That’s at least the way the 2022 USTA Middle States High School Coach of the Year describes it.
“Over 20-plus years you get to know the players, the families and the community so well,” she said. “Coaching is much more than any sort of job or hobby or anything like that. For me it’s had incredible meaning.”
Gable recently stepped down as the head girls’ tennis coach at Dallastown High School after 22 years. She continues to coach as an assistant, but is now focusing more time on volunteering with Special Olympics — something she and her teams have been involved with for nearly two decades.
As a symbol of her commitment, Deb proudly sports a tattoo on her arm. The tattoo reads BE brave in the attempt, which is a motto shared by many involved with the Special Olympics.
The tattoo is a replica of the words as they were written by various Special Olympics Athletes that Gable has coached over the years, including Corey Markle, a Special Olympics Hall of Fame athlete who passed away in 2020. Markle wrote the word “brave” before he passed away, and Gable had the tattoo done shortly after.
Over the summer, Gable and other Middle States award recipients were honored during the Koser Jewelers Tennis Challenge, a USTA Pro Circuit Event that takes place at Hempfield recCenter in Landisville, Pa. The individual who nominated for the award wrote:
“Deb possesses many amazing attributes and characteristics like kindness and patience, just to name a few. She is always encouraging towards her students and athletes. Probably her most wonderful characteristic is her positivity. She uplifts the girls on the team and empowers them to always try their hardest and never give up the fight.”
Gable leads by example in that way. In 2020 she battled breast cancer, keeping a positive attitude and staying positive through it all. Amazingly, she is currently in remission.
“We have a lot of people in our community who give back and who help out,” Gable said. “I’m always proud to be involved and try to give back.”