Letter - June 2019
Hello Everyone –
June is upon us, and the National Senior Men’s Tennis Association is celebrating its year and a half birthday! On the nsmta.net website, you can find out what has taken place lately. And, if your membership has expired, we would love to have you back. It seems to work better if you renew on a PC or desktop, rather than by phone; apparently this is a result of the security measures that are in place.
There has been good feedback concerning the Tournament List – It enables you to filter what you’re looking for by age group, area of the country, surface, date, etc. Also, please use the Places to Stay feature to find accommodations close to the playing site, along with the ability to shop for affordable prices as well. After having played the tournament, you will be able to rate the event on the Tournament Evaluation page.
Mark Winters (firstname.lastname@example.org) has been our website editor for a few months, and everything that’s written goes through him, probably including this missive. We’d love it if you’d like to submit an article, pictures, etc. You can read a veritable plethora of stories written by your fellow-members on the website. In addition to a few member volunteers helping with posting to the website, also newly onboard is Keiko Kimball Gouty. Trained at her father Mas’ knee, her expertise is already making a difference enabling the content to be posted much faster.
I thought I’d mention No Quit Academy in Las Vegas, Nevada, which I observed at the behest of member Les Buck. Their academic/tennis program is incredible, and you can read about it in Les’ article, “No Quit Tennis Academy - An Inspiration.” The organization requires significant funding, and if you know anyone or any company that might be able to contribute, contact Les, which you can also do through the website.
In the works is a Tournament Directors’ Handbook which guides TD’s in organizing a “best practices” tournament. (Thanks especially to Ed Trost, Steve Solomon and Alan Messer for their insights.) It “ain’t that easy”, as most of us know, but it just got easier. It’ll be available soon, again on the website, for free! It’s part of NSMTA’s effort to improve the experience of playing senior tennis.
We are always looking for ways to partner with the NSWTA, the women’s counterpart organization. They’ve existed since 1974. At the moment we’re discussing aging-up points, which the USTA currently vaporizes when you move up into a new age group. Other issues where we hope to provide input to the USTA are the points awarded for round-robin play, and the scheduling of tournaments which conflict with each other. We’re hoping that there may be some common ground for securing advertisers and sponsors for both organizations.
Well, I could go on and on, as I fear I already have, but please remember that this is your organization, and we want you to help us serve you. We as Board Members deeply appreciate the input, support, and assistance that many of you have already provided and look forward to even more.
Letter - April 2019
Thanks so much to those of you who have supported NSMTA in our formative period! It’s been a great experience for me to be able to connect with so many of you fellow senior tennis aficionados. I see more than ever what a band of brothers (and sisters) we are, sharing the love of our game and all the stories that go with it.
So far, your NSMTA Board of Directors, which includes Mas Kimball, Steve Duffel, Jerry Thomas, Ed Trost, Larry Turville, and myself, have been carrying most of the load. My thanks to all of them! Our reach is expanding as we go forward, and it is getting beyond what the six of us can manage effectively. Especially in the running of our website, (nsmta.net) which Mas has handled almost single-handedly, we could use some tech-savvy volunteers to share specific tasks. If you have a skill set that you think might be of benefit to us, please let us know! For instance, we need players to write stories about the tournaments that they play.
The season is still young, but we have already had some successes with our NSMTA doubles format. The Florida tournaments, two in Naples, and one in St Pete, as well as the previous tournament at Martha’s Vineyard, have received very favorable reviews. (See our Tournament Evaluation section on the website; we encourage you to submit reviews!) We will be encouraging more tournaments to adopt it because the round robin guarantees a certain number of matches. Some financial support from NSMTA is available for tournaments willing to use the format. For instance, a new event using the format and run by Mike Nelson in Palm Springs over Labor Day will be inaugurated. In addition, Larry Turville is acting as a NSMTA liaison for some team events that will be coming up in the next few months.
Another innovation will be a section on the website where tournaments can advertise their event. Cost will be $75 for a half-page for a three-month period. Let us know if you’re interested!
We kicked-off our Community Outreach Program in Houston at the 70/75 National Indoor. Keith Christman, who does such a good job as TD of the tournament, designated the local NJTL as the recipient of the players’ donations. Ralph Grieco, whose idea it was, whipped the crowd at the dinner into a frenzy of generosity, and with the matching funds from your NSMTA, Emily Schaefer/NJTL received a check for $1400.
At the end of the 2019 playing year, we plan on awarding Top Twenty medallions to any of our members who rank in the top twenty in the US in the final rankings. So start racking up those points now!! We are currently awarding shirts (quarterly) with the NSMTA logo to members who either win a national Category I or II tournament.
Note: If you’re reading this before April 1, and are interested in playing on a US team at the ITF Super Senior Team Championships in Croatia in September, you must fill out the USTA form ASAP! Find it at usta.com.
We are currently testing out formats for a Forum to be up and running on the website in the near future. We look forward to your weighing in on various topics!
And, th…th..that’s all folks; for now anyway.
Letter - February 2019
Most of us tennis players have been dealing with hackers of the tennis variety most of our playing days. However, if you’ve tried to renew your membership or tried to access our nsmta.net website, you know that we’ve been dealing with hackers of a different stripe. We’ve been in the process of repairing the damage and installing better protection, and fortunately, no personal information was accessed. So my question to Mas Kimball, our webmaster, was “Why?” “Probably because they could” was his reply.
At any rate, we still want you to renew if you opted for a 1-year membership last year! If your membership came due during this hack period, it has been extended. We appreciate your support! We are continually adding new features to our website (if only you could get on!) and embarking on new activities.
Most recently, we’ve installed a tournament evaluation capability to the website. It enables you to evaluate various facets of certain tournaments you’ve played. It will serve to let Tournament Directors know what players liked and what they didn’t, it may help you decide what events to play in the future, and it might just help the USTA decide when a particular event needs to be put on notice. You’ll be able to check out evaluations of our recent NSMTA Doubles event and our CAT II event, both held in Naples, FL. (Look for the impressive bios of our Perpetual Trophy honorees on the website.)
We now have an editor, long-time tennis writer Mark Winters of Southern California, to help us manage the articles and stories that are being submitted. Our bloggers, George Wachtel and noted writer Paul Fein, continue to put out thought-provoking posts. And we continue to ask you, our members, for interesting stories and pictures.
As we head into our second year, we want you to know that this is your organization, and we welcome your input. We’ve accomplished quite a bit in our first year, and look forward to doing even more as we move forward. If you’re not already a member, please join us, and encourage your tennis buddies to do so also!
Letter - December 2018
I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since we went active! It’s sort of like that age thing – I knew I’d get old. How fast it happened was a bit of a surprise though! So now that I’m looking backward, the past twelve months have surprisingly telescoped into about 6½. I think we got quite a bit done though, and I’m excited about the prospects for the coming year.
First, I want to emphasize how important it is for you, our members, to renew your memberships if you opted for the one-year membership. Already the USTA has used us as a sounding board on certain issues because we represent a voice for men’s senior tennis. The more members we have, the more traction we have. One of the major changes that has been brought about through the joint efforts of the NSMTA, the NSWTA, and the USTA, is the ITF decision to rectify the allocation of points to US tournaments. (Read elsewhere on the website) Michael Hughes, Carolyn Nichols, and Carol Clay were instrumental in bringing this about, and I applaud them.
As you have probably noticed if you’ve been to our website periodically is that we’re adding features all the time. This first year, the website has been open to all comers. Starting January 1, certain features will be available to members only. Namely, the easy-to-use Tournament List, the Places to Stay feature, Marketplace, and everything past the homepage. Send Us a Message, President’s Points, and About Us will remain open.
I’ve got a couple requests for you. If you are already a member, please go to your profile, and make sure that your info is correct. Also, please fill in your shirt size if you haven’t already. If you are a photographer or a writer and will be playing a particular national level tournament, please let us know if you’d like to contribute about 30 pictures and/or a story about the event for the website.
There are a number of things that we have undertaken that I’d like to direct your attention to:
We appreciate Tennis Express being willing to step up as a sponsor, and urge you to hit their button on our website when you’re shopping for anything tennis.
I want to thank our wonderful board members ... Mas Kimball, Steve Duffel, Jerry Thomas, Ed Trost, and Larry Turville for the energy, dedication, and expertise that they have brought to this endeavor. It’s been an exciting birthing with more excitement on the horizon.
Best wishes from all of us for a joyful holiday season and healthy New Year!
Letter - November 2018
It’s been a busy year for NSMTA, marked by some doddering steps and some real accomplishments. Thanks to all of you who have joined us and contributed your support and suggestions! Our intentions are good, and with your help, we’ll keep getting better at serving the senior tennis community.
If you’re reading this, you’ve found our website. We plan on continuing to upgrade its quality, providing more usable information, articles of interest, and hopefully, entertainment. We would like to expand the interaction among members with something like an Open Forum. Also, we’d like to beef up our tournament evaluation capability, which we have already employed at the Martha’s Vineyard NSMTA Doubles (rave reviews). Please note that the Marketplace section has now gone active where you can buy and sell tennis stuff, but as yet few have known about it. So now you know – we’ll see whether it flies or not….
We’re happy that the ITF has just recently upgraded the value of American Cat I and some Cat II tournaments. This will make it possible for American players who would like to compete for ITF World Rankings to do so without having to go to Europe or South America in order to play high point value tournaments. And it should ensure more equitable seeding for American players at international events. There is a blurb from Michael Hughes of the USTA with more information about this elsewhere on the website. We like to think that the strong position taken by the NSMTA, in concert with the NSWTA, helped bring this about.
Another project of which we’re proud is the offer by NSMTA to help fund the purchase of a defibrillator for any club which hosts a Cat I tournament and does not yet have one. Again, there are more details elsewhere on the website. If we were to save just one life, we’ll feel it was money well-spent.
We need your help in getting the word out to your senior tennis buddies that NSMTA exists and is trying to serve their interests. Already, the USTA has reached out to us for suggestions that can help make senior tennis better. As we grow to represent a larger portion of the population of competitive senior tennis players, we will have more traction. As one of our members suggested, if each of us gets two of his buddies to join…….
Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the NSMTA Doubles Cat III in Naples, FL in early January, and the Wilson Cat II in Palm Springs in late January. They’re run by NSMTA Board Members Larry Turville and Ed Trost respectively. More details to come.
’Til next time ...
Letter - July 2018
We on the Board would like to thank all of you who have joined us in the past six months! We now have more than 500 members, and growing. We’d like especially to thank those of you who have joined NSMTA as Founding Members. Enrollment in that category was originally slated to close at the end of June, but it has been suggested that we leave it open until the end of the year, or 100 Founders, whichever comes first.
We as a Board are slowly finding our balance, deciding what projects we should focus on, and which we should table for the time being. We have gotten some valuable feedback and suggestions from you, our members, about what would be the most productive ways to direct our efforts. Keep them coming! Already we were able to get a Cat III sanction from the USTA for an experimental round robin doubles format that was extremely well received in Florida. The next step is to format the points awarded in such events to be compatible with the USTA ranking system.
We recently worked in concert with the National Senior Women’s Association to provide the International Tennis Federation representative for the US (Carol Clay) with suggestions for changes in the ITF policies regarding tournaments in the US. By making joint proposals, our two organizations working together had more traction than either one separately.
Our website so far has been too static with not enough fresh input. We aim to change that so that eventually the site becomes your go-to place for tournament info (including features like what hotels are available at various tournament sites), articles on fitness and training, tennis tales, and more. We’ve got potential, don’t you think? We have several members who have volunteered to write stuff periodically, and which will be appearing right here in the near future. Tell us what you like and don’t like.
Our Board has just approved some financial support for several tournaments both upcoming this year and into early 2019 that attract significant numbers of senior players on both the east and west coasts. Our intention overall is quite simply to help improve the quality of men’s senior competitive tennis. The NSMTA will inaugurate a couple of new doubles events which will feature perpetual trophies in each age group in January, 2019.
Already we feel that we are building trust with the USTA. USTA staff have actually asked us for feedback on a couple issues! In response to suggestions from two of our board members who sit on the USTA Adult Competition Committee, the ranking point system is currently being revisited, and a Tournament Director’s Handbook is in the works that will help TD’s run better tournaments. To hold TD’s feet to the fire a bit, we will implement a way on this website for you to help evaluate certain tournaments that you play.
Another upcoming feature of the website is a “Marketplace” section where buyers and sellers of tennis-related items can be brought together. We as yet have no idea whether it will be well utilized or not, so let us know if you have any suggestions.
Much of our traction with the powers-that-be in senior tennis decision-making will be dependent on whether the NSMTA is perceived as a representative voice of active players. One of our members suggested that we ask each of you to round up two of your tennis playing buddies, and get them to join. So, I’m asking…… Together, all of us can ensure that senior tournament tennis does not die a neglectful death!
Welcome to our NSMTA Website - January 2018
The members of the Board of Directors of our newly formed National Senior Men’s Tennis Association are happy you’ve found us! Our aim is simply to promote senior men’s competitive tennis. We have great ambitions for this website and our association, and in fact will be looking to you, our members, to help provide ideas and suggestions regarding the kind of content and activities that you would consider valuable. Maybe we can even recruit you to provide some of the content itself! Are you a writer, photographer, blogger, etc. who would be interested in contributing your talents to making our website even better?
Our fledgling organization has roots which go back much further than ours as we have been inspired by what the senior women have been able to achieve since the founding of their organization (the NSWTA) back in 1977. They have been urging us to get off our male butts and get organized, so that between the two organizations, we can better represent the voices of senior competitive tennis in the US. Some of you may be familiar with Super Senior Tennis (SST), which was founded shortly after WWII to promote tennis for players over 55. John Powless, the true dean of men’s senior tennis, has ably carried that banner for many years. We have also been inspired by the insightful work of individuals like Carolyn Nichols and Alan Messer who have almost single-handedly developed websites devoted to our game. No account of our beginnings would be complete without mentioning Steve Solomon, who has advocated for senior tennis in a myriad of creative ways for many years, and in many capacities. And bloggers like George Wachtel have been of immense help in getting us started.
We are inviting players in age groups all the way from 35 & over to the “Wimbledon-in-the-Sky” (Hey, Gardnar Mulloy made it to age 103, and he played to almost 100!) to join us. As we go forward, we will be looking for two additional Board members who can represent some of the younger age divisions. If you’re interested, please let us know! We also ask that you let your tennis-playing friends know about us and urge them to join as well. It’s important that we get as many players as possible to join, because the more members we have, the more weight our suggestions to the USTA on behalf of senior players will carry. (Two of our NSMTA Board Members, Mas Kimball and Ed Trost, sit on the USTA Adult Competition Committee.)
Another feature of our website is an interactive forum where you can make comments and get feedback from your fellow members. Of course we will have tournament schedules and results, pictures, and articles. Maybe you’re interested in how you can keep that aging body of yours more flexible, free of injury, or just plain healthier. Maybe you’ve got questions about specific injuries. Possibly you’d enjoy a walk back in time, to revisit some events from 25 or more years ago. Maybe you’re looking for a discount from some of the companies that will come onboard as sponsors or you’d like to read stories about the interesting lives of some of our members. Maybe you’re looking for that perfect drill that will totally transform your game. (Well, there ain’t no such thang, but hopefully you get the idea that there’s a lot of potential here.) We are looking for your suggestions on articles and content.
Already we’re sponsoring a Cat3 in Florida with an innovative format that kicks off the familiar January Super Senior Grand Prix in Florida. Board Member Larry Turville is spearheading that event. We’re involved with the largest senior tournament in the U.S.– the Wilson Cat2 in Palm Springs also in January, run by NSMTA Board Member Ed Trost. We’ll always be looking for your feedback during and after tournaments so that we can refine the elements that make an event appealing.
So thanks for joining us in this ambitious endeavor – we’re looking forward to the good things that will come out of it!
BOARD OF DIRECTORS