PIPER AND TENNIS:
I am a 5.5 tennis player in Bend, Oregon. I have gotten back into playing competitive tennis again and am really enjoying it, more than when I was younger and more emotionally volatile. I recently competed in the National 30's hard court Championships, and came in second behind the Number 1 ranked player from Croatia a few years ago. Last year (2012), I played singles for a Northern California women's 5.0 team, and we qualified for nationals in Palm Desert in September. Our team made it to the finals where I won my singles match, but unfortunately my teammates lost their doubles matches, and we came in second.
I played as a junior in Atlanta, Georgia. At 18, I was #22 in the country in doubles, #2 in Georgia, #24 in the southeast, and ranked nationally. I received the sportswoman award for the Southeast. I played tennis at Cornell University for 4 years (1999-2003), and played mostly singles at 1,2, and 5. I was the only woman to letter four years in any sport, and graduate from the architecture school in under 5 years. I was also elected to Quill and Dagger, (a senior honor's society), and was given that recommendation by my coach and fellow professors.
Currently, I have been hitting with a couple of "up- and-coming" youths in Bend. I have been helping talented players try to achieve their tennis goals for my tenure of 9 years in Central Oregon. I have some positive success stories that I am extremely proud of. It is a service to my community that is available to kids who are willing to work hard, and listen.
I want to reach more than just the talented kids that play tennis in my community. The most valuable skills I've learned that I can offer to kids growing up with tennis is mental and physical strength and balance. Since I've come back to tennis after 10 years, I have seen the difference in my strength, agility, and mental focus on the court, that comes with yoga practice. I have also been injury free, which I attribute to strength training and stretching. It is hard watching some great players sit on the bench because they have the same chronic injuries plaguing them. The most common injury I've seen recently is
in the lower spine, which I have had trouble with throughout my career. I am starting a hybrid mental focus/ stretch and strengthening routine that I am going to provide to each of the high school tennis programs in Central Oregon. I believe that teaching kids a way to take care of their bodies and recover from an asymmetrical sport, and how to tune their attention, can truly benefit them. I know it would have helped me tremendously.
I see tennis as a metaphor for life. I attribute a lot of my career and life "success", to the lessons I've learned on the tennis court. If you focus hard enough on exactly what you want, and stay present, you will have the attention and stamina to achieve any goal; on and off the court. I believe tennis is the best tool to teach kids the life skills they need to achieve their dreams.