And It’s Goodbye ….
January 17, 2017
As I pulled the shutter down for the last time on my ‘use by’ date, Friday 23rd December 2016, it was with very mixed feelings. NSTA has been a massive part of my life since my first comp in 1965 and so many people in it have become extremely important to me, so it is with much sadness that I will no longer be ‘serving’ the NSTA.
As I leave, I have been asked a number of common questions, how do I feel, etc so I will endeavour to answer some of them.
I have been Administrator for 18.5 years … I well remember the interview with Steve Healy, the then President of NSTA, and Patty Amos, the retiring Administrator!
I have mixed feelings about retiring from the role in that there is still much to be done within the administration of the NSTA and serving its members, but my not-so-good health of recent times has forced me to consider what is in my best interests and the best interests of the NSTA.
My first day at the job was 1st June 1995 and Patty Amos was so patient, kind and understanding as to how I could have played so much tennis and yet be so limited in my understanding of how to do a comp draw! The Association was administered on a ‘lap top’ weighing about 10kgs, tournament draws were done match by match and a certain blue towel hung from the filing cabinet!
There have been many favourite memories over the years, mostly involving players ‘winning’, especially juniors and even adults winning trophies for the very first time.
Two incidents which stand out in my mind and which, on reflection, I can now see the lighter side, involve racquet throwing where the guilty shall remain nameless … one incident when one young man threw his racquet at the northern fence on court 3 at Talus Street, missed the fence and fortunately missed the spectator sitting beyond the fence; and the other was when one young (very prominent) lady threw her racquet at the western fence on court 1 at Talus Street, missed the fence and her racquet landed in the tree outside the fence, whereby her male opponent had to get a ladder from the shed and climb up to retrieve it for her!!
Yes, I have seen so many players pass through tournaments and comps over the years. In terms of achievement, James Duckworth and Johanna Konta would probably be the most successful, but to me ‘success’ is seeing players coming back time and time again to play in our tournaments and/or comps because it is a fun and enjoyable experience for them.
Unfortunately the game has changed over the years with the emphasis shifting from clubs and competitions to tournaments. In their desperate bid to chase ranking points, players no longer experience the team and club comraderie and the ‘bonding’ which has lead me to a lifetime of friendships. Probably my best memories are of long weekends when groups of us would travel to the country to play in tournaments – we had so much fun and such a pity players today don’t have the opportunity to make those memories.
My advice to NSTA’s next Administrator is to endeavour to make it ‘easy’ for players to participate as it is their leisure we are dealing with, and to remember it’s only a game of tennis!
Challenges for the NSTA in future at this point in time, are definitely the challenges with local Councils in maintaining courts and leases. With the NSTA being one of the few successful Associations remaining within the Metropolitan area, one of our Challenges is also maintaining our identity.
My plans at this stage are to restore my health, start playing tennis again and to take time to do some of the things I’ve been putting off.
I have truly been overwhelmed by all the people who reached out to me by text message, cards or emails when my retirement was announced. Thank you so much for your kind words which were greatly appreciated. I did try to respond but the task was quite overwhelming, so if you didn’t hear back from me, please know how much I did appreciate your thoughts and good wishes.
I wish to extend a huge thank you and much appreciation to our President, Terry Stewart, for his understanding during my period of ill health. Terry has never put one ounce of pressure on me to return to work and at all times has shown the utmost concern for my welfare … thanks Terry. And in that statement I also include Sue Woodward who has been equally undemanding of me and has always stepped up to relieve the pressure.
To all those people who have been concerned about my health, after 6 months of feeling ‘wretched’ and losing 14 kgs which reduced me to a fighting weight of 40 kgs, I have thankfully now been diagnosed as being a coeliac (gluten free). Which is great news for me as at least it can be controlled by diet and not medically.
It is with sadness that I close the shutter as I have met some of the most amazing and wonderful people through this job and through tennis. It has been such a privilege for me to serve the NSTA as General Secreary for 30 years and Administrator for 18.5 years. The NSTA is without doubt the most successful Association in the Metropolitan area, and possibly in Australia and I am honoured to have been of service and humbled to have been elected as an Honorary Life Member of the Association.
But it’s not goodbye … I will still be around and will always have the NSTA in my heart … till we meet again, soon.
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