USTA D&I Spotlight: Bert Cole 

USTA Adaptive Tennis Committee | November 01, 2018

Director of Junior Recreational Tennis for the Dallas Tennis Association, Bert Cole, has been an integral presence in the Dallas tennis community. 


At the 2018 USTA Annual Meeting, she was honored with the prestigious NJTL Founders’ Service Award for her long-standing commitment to positive youth development through tennis and education.


For the past 16 years, Cole has been running a tennis program for deaf children at an elementary school that serves many of Dallas’ deaf population.  She has also been organizing the All-Stars tennis program at the Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital for more than fifteen years.  The hospital specializes in the treatment of orthopedic conditions and sports injuries, as well as arthritic, neurological and learning disorders.  She recently increased the sessions so the in-patients and out-patients will be doing tennis year-round. 


And Cole keeps going. She has grand plans to serve many new adaptive populations, such as the Down Syndrome population, in a brand new building that will be ready in the spring. 


These are all in addition to her award-winning NJTL efforts. However, she has found that one cause helps another.  Her NJTL kids who are involved in competitive tennis must complete community service, and what better community to serve than the adaptive community., one that they find incredibly rewarding. 


“You don’t think they come to the tennis court asking to play with me,” Cole said. “And the able-bodied kids see and learn what other kids are going through with their physical and intellectual challenges. One evening they rolled a child confined to a hospital bed out on the court and ran with him and the bed so he could play. Kids are really creative in how to get things done!”


Cole says her mission in life has always been to give back to those who have not been blessed with good health or perfectly working bodies and minds. She cites her work with the disabled as the best time of her year, the time that gives her the most joy. 


“What else do you do in life where everyone is always smiling?” asked Cole. “Being able to participate in tennis does that to people. They arrive smiling and they leave smiling.”


Even if the score is love, there’s a whole lot of another kind of love going on in Dallas when Bert Cole is serving all “her kids.” She too is smiling big time.



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