My Illustrious Tennis Career (Or, That One Time I Played Tennis)

B Street Tennis Courts (Ardmore OK)Since I moved my blog to WordPress, I’ve been browsing some of the other blogs on the site. I quickly found The Daily Post which offers blogging tips as well as a daily prompt. The World Cup Games inspired today’s prompt, “Offside Memories,” about funny, harrowing, or notable memories from sports we’ve watched, attended, or played.

Once, I even received an award for sports! When I was in eighth grade, I was on the tennis team. I can’t remember why I decided to sign up. Given my priorities at the time, I likely had friends who played or a crush on a tennis player. Back in fourth grade at Oak Hall, our class did play tennis regularly, but I hadn’t picked up a racket since then. The summer before 8th grade, I signed up for tennis classes.

On one of Oklahoma’s hot, humid summer mornings, I was standing on the court with a group of other students learning how to do a backhand stroke. We must have repeated it 300 times! I’ve never liked being hot or sweaty. I was probably daydreaming about whatever boy was striking my fancy at the time or thinking of how thirsty I was. Suddenly, I was looking up into a circle of faces, some concerned, some devilishly delighted. I had fainted – someone said because I had locked my knees – and fallen like a plank onto the tennis court.

Sure, it could have been worse, but it was bad. My chin had busted open when it hit the ground. One of the coaches took me to the emergency room, but they hadn’t gotten parental consent forms, so the doctors couldn’t treat me. (I think that I single-handedly changed the registration process for tennis classes to include parental consent forms in the case of emergencies.) My mother picked me up and took me to the doctor for stitches, and my aunt Lizzie joined us there. I asked her how bad the carnage was. She replied, “Remember that scene in Poltergeist where the man is tearing the flesh off his face?” The next day, I had to see my dentist for a tooth reconstruction because one of my molars split in two.

Despite that inauspicious beginning, I remained enthusiastic about joining the tennis team. The first step was taking a written exam covering the rules of the game. I earned the highest marks, thank you very much. I’ve always been good with things in theory. In practice, however, I was not a tennis whiz. I remained, to my horror, at the bottom of the ladder all season. I really hated tournaments, though I did enjoy away matches when we’d pile onto the old yellow bus. I also enjoyed my new, chic tennis racket and cute tennis skirt and bloomers. Early in the season, I pulled a groin muscle and was sidelined (to my relief) for a few weeks.

When the season was over, I resolved not to join a school sports team again – and I did not. I also never picked up a tennis racket or played tennis again. It was not my finest moment. My family like to reminisce that, although my tennis career was an undisputable failure, I did receive the “Scholar Athlete” award at the end of the year ceremony. I still feel slightly guilty. I was never really an athlete at all.

The SPCA Doesn’t Just Save Animals; They Save the Planet, Too

SPCA Solar LogoPress Release Provided by the SPCA of Tompkins County
ITHACA/June 18 In celebration of the 10 year anniversary of the Dorothy and Roy Park Pet Adoption Center, the SPCA of Tompkins County is taking the extra step toward environmental and financial sustainability with the installation of a large roof mounted solar array beginning on June 17th.

The Dorothy and Roy Park Pet Adoption Center, when it opened in 2004 adjacent to the existing shelter (now the Rescue building) was the first LEED certified animal welfare agency in the United States.

“To say that I am excited about this next chapter in our history would be an understatement!” says Jim Bouderau, executive director.  “We are taking the next step in our future as a financially and environmentally sustainable organization by going solar.”

Since taking over in 2011, Bouderau has been striving to improve the infrastructure of the SPCA for long-term fiscal responsibility. Working with a Cornell alumnus who is both an SPCA supporter and a solar consultant, Bouderau and the SPCA’s board of directors researched for several months the possibility of solar power for the shelter’s electrical needs.

The adoption center structure is ideally situated and suited for a substantial roof mounted solar array.  The SPCA projects a cost savings on electricity of more than $6,600 per year based on current NYSEG rates and projects a savings of over $340,000 over the 25 year life of the system as NYSEG rates increase.

The cost of the system was reasonable, but was well beyond the agency’s normal financial means. With the financial support of several lead donors who realized the importance of this project and the long term impact on the organization, Bouderau was able to raise the necessary funds and the shelter is now ready for implementation. “We could not have even dreamed of embarking upon this project without some very special friends committed to the SPCA of Tompkins County, and by extension to the entire No Kill movement. It thrills me that we are able to have the array installed this summer and know that we will begin to see budgetary savings this fiscal year.”

Renovus Energy has been contracted to install the panels, and has completed the last bit of site work, readying the site for installation this week.###

Renvous Energy Logo∼∼∼∼∼

I am very excited about the SPCA’s solar panel project which required Jim to hustle to find supporters who wanted to earmark their donations for the installation. (If I’d have had an extra $8,000, I would have given to the project!) Already having a silver LEED certification, committing to renewable energy reinforces the importance of sustainability to the organization. Although the SPCA isn’t the first animal shelter with solar panels, it is among only a handful that are making the investment. Ultimately, though, the investment will not just reduce energy costs allowing more of the budget to be devoted to programming. It also will impact the long-term health of the planet. I hope that other communities will look to this milestone as an inspiration for their own animal shelters.

On a side note, George briefly worked for Renovous Energy. The employees there are knowledgeable and committed, and I know the SPCA is in good hands.