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Karen Bryant Shows the Value of Volunteering On and Off the Court

By: Rick Limpert, Special for USTA Georgia

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Ask LaGrange's Karen Bryant why she gives back as a team captain, league coordinator and tennis volunteer in LaGrange and Columbus, and she doesn't hesitate giving an answer.

"It started as a way to be competitive and be active, but it's become a way to help my community, while it has become my social environment at the same time."

Being the Assistant Media Specialist at LaGrange High School is her "day job," but it seems like tennis is another full-time job for this tennis fanatic.

Bryant currently is the local league coordinator for CHATA (Chattahoochee Area Tennis Association), the assistant tennis coach at LaGrange High School and the Georgia Tri Level State Championships Tournament Director, which hosted over 560 participants last year. She also finds time to play on various teams in multiple leagues in LaGrange and Columbus.

"I've only been playing tennis for about 10 years," admits Bryant. "I started playing when my son gave up baseball and took up tennis. I took lessons, and it was local professional, Bill Champion, that started introducing me to some of the ladies."

Bryant, in the past, offered her time assisting with some tennis fundraisers and volunteering with local junior team tennis. She enjoyed working with the kids, even before she started playing seriously.

When she was in school and through college, Bryant said she saw the value of volunteering and the difference it can make.

"When I was younger, I was in Girl Scouts and then was in the youth group at (my) Methodist Church. I've always just enjoyed giving what I could. Now I find it's fun to work with beginner tennis players."

When on the courts, Bryant can usually be found at McClusky Tennis Complex in LaGrange. She says that she and her teammates learn something new on the 10 clay and six hard courts that are packed with players from all over the region.

"I've learned traits for being a good captain and leader," explains Bryant. "You have to be somebody that is outgoing, organized and a good communicator, someone that can listen to not only the players on your team, but others that bring suggestions to the table. You have to love the game and love to bring people together to play tennis." 

In the age of technology, texting and emails, Bryant said she has had to get with the trends to communicate with those in the sport. 

"I use email primarily, and I use group text and GroupMe. GroupMe allows me to include a larger number of people in a group text."

As is the case with someone as energetic and forward thinking as Bryant, she's always looking to see what she can do next.

"I would like to eventually do some sort of an outreach program with kids and tennis. It has to be for kids that normally wouldn't be exposed to tennis, so maybe bring in more experienced players and coaches to reach a large number of kids."

She also has serving on a USTA or USTA Georgia committee or board on her radar.

"I haven't served yet, but it's something I would like to do in the future."

No matter what activity or cause Bryant attacks next, she will put her heart, mind and soul into the endeavor.

"It's not just about doing something or keeping busy," adds Bryant. "It's my life. My core group of friends are all because of tennis. We take vacations together. Tennis has been very important to me in not only helping others, but developing and keeping friendships."


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Tennis Rules

Last week's answer was yes, a player may bring written notes to court. May a doubles team switch their receiving order at the beginning of a Match Tiebreak?

Yes, they are allowed to do this
No, this is not permitted

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