Teamwork on and off the tennis court this fall paid off for the Lone Star College-CyFair Fighting Ducks when they earned the Club of the Year in Texas title.
The team received the award at the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Community Tennis Workshop in Austin in January. With this honor comes the opportunity to compete in the Tennis on Campus National Tournament, which National Intramural Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) sponsors in Arizona this April.
As the team worked to improve and hone their tennis skills in an effort to qualify for the national tournament, Coach Tim Sebesta and the Fighting Ducks also wanted to make an impact in their community.
“We feel it is extremely important to give back to the community whether it is tennis-related or an endeavor that is focused on being good members of the community,” said Sebesta.
Their usual goal is three or four projects, but last fall the team set and completed an ambitious semester goal of 12 community service activities, many of which involved helping underserved populations through fund-raising efforts, various donations and coaching.
“Community service just brings us all together,” said Jamie O’Leary, who organized the team’s participation in the Race for the Cure.
The Fighting Ducks also participated in the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk, helped build a Habitat for Humanity home and cleaned up a strip of Huffmeister Road in the Adopt-A Highway program.
Some team members give lessons and volunteer as coaches in the community. Andra Yanchenko said working with Special Olympics athletes “gives you a new perspective on your tennis.” She is helping several team members train to become Special Olympics tennis instructors. This spring, the team will host a free tennis clinic for Special Olympics athletes.
The LSC-CyFair team collected truckloads of clothing and household items for families in Galveston devastated by Hurricane Ike. They organized holiday food and toy drives benefiting Cypress Assistance Ministries. They donated more than 200 tennis balls to an assisted living center (for the bottoms of walkers), area pet shelters and the National Junior Tennis League. They donated racquets and reels of string to the Liberian Tennis Federation (for children in the tennis program who can’t afford to purchase their own.)
The team also volunteers with the college community coaching tennis at LSC-CyFair’s Discovery College summer camp for ages 6 to 15 and partnering with developmentally disabled students in the College of Careers and Development for Exceptional Learners (CCDEL) program.
In addition to such service to the college and community, the team competes in a minimum of seven dual matches a year against other Tennis on Campus teams. Each semester, they also sponsor an invitation tournament with teams from the Houston area.
For information on the tennis team, call Sebesta at 281-290-3918.