NJTL 50 for 50:
Erin Maher | March 27, 2019
As the USTA Foundation celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the National Junior Tennis & Learning network, USTA.com looks at 50 NJTL leaders and alumni who have helped shape this incredible community that is dedicated to helping youth strive for academic and athletic excellence on the tennis court, in the classroom and in life.
In the first installment, we catch up with NJTL leader Barbara Wynne, who co-founded the NJTL chapter in Indianapolis and has dedicated her life to helping youth through tennis.
The Barbara Wynne File
Name: Barbara Wynne
NJTL Chapter: NJTL of Indianapolis
Role with NJTL: Leader, co-founder of NJTL of Indianapolis, Board of Directors, NJTL Essay Contest Judge
Years Active in NJTL: 1968-present
How did you get involved with NJTL?
I started a group in Indianapolis in 1964 that was on public courts at a public high school. ADVERTISEMENT And it grew and grew and grew, to now, we have 34 courts, and this was the public program. At first, we called it Riverside Upswing. The next thing we knew, we met Arthur [Ashe] in Chicago in, I think it was 1970. He'd already started [NJTL] in New York, and I went there and decided that whatever he was doing, I would support. I really admired him and, to this day, I dedicate everything of my tennis work to the late Arthur Ashe. That's the story of how I got an NJTL started. We were on court before the actual NJTL program happened, but I couldn't imagine a better group to emulate and become more like than theirs.
What has kept you involved with NJTL for so long?
Arthur Ashe. When he was dying, I promised him that, every day, the rest of my life would be lived in his honor and that I would do my best to keep lots of people playing tennis by the rules. I have never cared who they are, what they look like, where they came from or whatever. We're all the same. And I think it's wonderful to have somebody that spurs you on. No question, my relationship with him and his goals and ideals have fostered my continued interest in the sport, and particularly in teaching.
Here I am, 85 years old, and I still teach. And I have fun. You know, when it's no longer fun, I will definitely stop.
What do you enjoy most about NJTL?
My trophies are the children that I feel have gone on to promote tennis and gone on to live good lives. If I've had anything to do with their goodness, I'm very proud of that.