Ontario Tennis

Ontario Tennis 2016/2017 | Spring 2016

Tennis, Ontario

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#GETONTHECOURT | SPRING 2016 21 needed to be addressed if we were going to achieve this goal. The Staff would have to be the type of people that would go the extra mile without always asking for the extra dollar. They would have to think of tennis as part of their life, not simply a way to make a living. Tennis and the people involved would have to become their extended family. Next we would have to get help from people that where not directly involved with the company. People that had experience and were willing to share it, this would help accelerate our learning curve. The last corner stone, and the most important one, the members. We needed to have members that would think of the club as their second home. Absolutely no soliciting members from other clubs, develop our own and treat them like family. Well I'm glad to say all three things have fallen into place. It didn't happen quickly or automatically. It took time, some luck, and the efforts of a lot of people. I wish I could thank them all, I think, I hope, they all know how much their efforts were and still are appreciated. People like Daryl and Jason Abbott. It's fair to say AWT would not exist without the help of Daryl. Starting a club at this location was his idea. Past employees like Mike Neuber, present employees like Brian Hurd, Jordan Anthony, Cameron Wittick, Nancy Kempton, Thomas Bowers and too many part timers to mention, embraced this family friendly mentality. Harry and Keith at Tennex were a tremendous help in educating me. Not only did they help me in regards to court maintenance, but their background in tennis reaches into all areas. Irwin Tobias was never too busy to give some friendly advice. Ari Novick at Tennis Canada helped inspire both me and my staff to continuously improve our coaching qualifications. Jay Neill from the O.T.A. was a constant source of information and direction that helped us design and implement all of our adult and junior programs. At the town, Tom Flood embraced the project from the start and Jack Mamo in the building department was very patient dealing with a relatively new product and inexperienced people. It's easy to overlook the contributions of these people because you don't see them every day, out of sight out of mind. My wife, Leslie, was not really involved in the early years but she eventually took sympathy on me and has taken on the role of Office Manager for over 10 years. Now people hide from her instead of me when it comes to payment deadlines. The simple fact is, without the help of dozens and dozens of people AWT would not have survived, literally. I remember the storm of winter 1999. Mike Neuber and I tried to keep up with the snow for hours and hours, nonstop. It was a losing battle; by the morning we had so much snow the dome touched the net post on court 4. I believe several domes came down that day. The next day over 20 members came out and helped dig us out. One gentlemen, Zorin Vasic, whose daughter played at our club for many years, stopped by on his way to work. When he realized the extent of the problem he joined in the shoveling. He came out in running shoes, no gloves and no hat. I had to eventually beg him to go home, after several hours he agreed, this type of commitment to AWT was extreme but not without precedent. Every year we ask our members to help raise money for the food bank, AWT gladly matches their donations. We also ask our members to help put our dome up and take it down, 40-50 people come out every year, it's incredible, and some have been out every year since we started. It's always great to see the truly good side of people. People have been great and in return I hope we treat them like family, maybe a slightly dysfunctional family, but family just the same. This year we have a "Think Pink Week" kicking off the last week of January to raise money for Breast Cancer, all the Pro's will wear something pink to help promote this fundraiser. We will also have a "Feed your neighbour month" this is the month of March when we raise money for our local Food Bank. I will personally help contribute to this cause by wearing a dragon "onesie" in a tennis marathon, all proceeds go to the local food bank. I think this family oriented mentality shows every day at the club. I have members often reminding me, this is not my club, it is in fact their club. It's great when members come in just to watch their friends play, and maybe grab a coffee. Some of the parents of juniors come in just to say hi to the staff even when their child has stopped playing at the club. One father came in and thanked the staff for "helping him raise his son", what a great feeling. Sports can help develop our character, our body and mind. I have seen, as I'm sure you have, major changes in a person's personality, how they carry themselves, communicate with others and generally exude confidence, all because of the involvement of sports. I truly hope AWT has had a positive A.F.F.E.C.T. on the people in our community and those that interact with them. If that is the case, our actions reflect our Mission statement, who could ask for anything more. Thank you, EVERYONE for helping us keep the dream alive. John Long, Owner/Operator Ajax Winter Tennis Inc. www.ajaxwintertennis.com CLUB PROFILE | AJAX Members of all ages and expectations play and enjoy the family atmosphere at AWT. Left - Howard Carter (age mid 70's), front centre - Mridu Dhanigond.... (age 8), right - Shelley MacDonell (age unknown) and in the middle is John Long (age 60). IT'S ALWAYS GREAT TO SEE THE TRULY GOOD SIDE OF PEOPLE. PEOPLE HAVE BEEN GREAT AND IN RETURN I HOPE WE TREAT THEM LIKE FAMILY, MAYBE A SLIGHTLY DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY, BUT FAMILY JUST THE SAME.

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