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2016 Coordinators of the Year

From left: Pete Grivas, Cathy Gonzales, Anna Mitchell, Wendy Fee, Donna Harms and John Lowell.

Wendy Fee, Junior Leagues
Nominated by 2016 VP Didi Chapdelaine
Tennis is a family affair for Wendy Fee. “My favorite thing about ALTA is how it brings my family together. I have played doubles matches with my husband, brother-in-law, nephew and, best of all, my sister. I have watched my three children play in ALTA matches. What other sport can you play with your entire family?”

Sister Tammi is an overall coordinator and convinced Wendy to be a coordinator. “Wendy had sons who played Junior ALTA, so she was familiar with the league, and she knew it well from the parents’ view,” said 2016 VP Didi Chapdelaine. “We started receiving compliments about Wendy the first season.”

Wendy said she has benefited from her volunteer service as well. “Being a coordinator has helped me to grow in ways I never thought I would. It has taught me patience and understanding and about leadership and making new, lasting friendships.”

Cathy Gonzales, Thursday Women
Nominated by 2016 VP Kim Davies
A self-described late bloomer when it comes to tennis, Cathy Gonzales did not start playing tennis until 2000, about the same time she retired after 32 years as a high school counselor. “Playing tennis on an ALTA team outside in the sunshine seemed like the ultimate fun activity with exercise and relaxation and friendship.”

Nowadays she plays in six leagues and has served as coordinator for four leagues. “I got really inspired the first time I captained a team that went to City Finals and won. I captained for years. One of my coordinators suggested that both my husband and I should volunteer as ALTA coordinators. We did.”

In nominating her, 2016 VP Kim Davies said, “Cathy is sweet and soft-spoken, qualities that enable her to often resolve her teams’ issues to everybody’s satisfaction without conflict.”

That ability is part of why Cathy likes serving as a coordinator. “I like to work with people and to be helpful.” She also likes the camaraderie she enjoys with fellow volunteers. Her husband, Ron, died in 2015. “I would have been lost without the help and love and support of my coordinator girlfriends. We are family.”

Donna Harms, Senior Leagues
Nominated by VP Sandy Depa
As a coordinator in the Senior Leagues, Donna Harms volunteers for ALTA pretty much year-round, given the Senior Leagues are active spring, summer, winter and fall. Her dedication to the job is evident, said VP Sandy Depa.

“Donna has been a coordinator for many years and has always been the first to offer her help, regardless of the job,” Sandy said. “Donna is now retired and able to travel, yet always finds time to do her coordinator tasks, even while on vacation.”

Donna doesn’t mind. “I enjoy the contact with other teams and their captains. Most everyone knows and recognizes it’s a recreational sport and not the most important thing in life, but certainly an enjoyable one.”

Her long experience as a coordinator serves her well, and technology has made the job easier, too. “Now that we have everything online, the role is much easier. Years ago, we had paper scorecards, paper tracking sheets and division standings were all done manually and results communicated via phone calls. The most important thing is still being familiar with the rules and communication with all the parties involved.”

Pete Grivas, Men’s League
Nominated by 2016 VP Warren Fraser
What started as a childhood lark, ended up as a lifetime hobby for Pete Grivas. Oh, yeah, and it brought him the love of his life. We’re talking tennis here, folks.

When he was a boy, “A friend wanted to learn how to play tennis, and he got me onto the courts,” Pete said. “I used one of my sister’s racquets, and we taught ourselves.”

But love, you ask? “I met my wife at the tennis courts,” he said. “She was playing with my men’s doubles partner. So, I am forever indebted to tennis for bringing me the love of my life.”

He pays it forward by coordinating about 30 teams each season. “Being a coordinator is about trying to keep play fair and fun for all participants,” he said.

It’s a job he does well, according to 2016 Men’s VP Warren Fraser. “Pete always interacts with his captains with integrity and a sense of humor, when appropriate,” he said. “He sets an example with his dedication to serving our members and league officials.”

John Lowell, Mixed Doubles
Nominated by VP Bill Price
Fair. Diplomatic. Works tirelessly. These complimentary words and more were used by Mixed VP Bill Price to describe John Lowell.

“I’m a volunteer at heart, and I just like to help people.” John said. John has been an ALTA volunteer many times since the ‘90s, including captain, scorekeeper and coordinator. He will manage upwards of 65 Mixed Doubles teams this winter.

“This past year, (John) volunteered to help the overall coordinators level teams and spent many hours beforehand analyzing teams to make sure we were putting them in the correct level. He cares deeply about fairness and cares about how ALTA is perceived in the community.”

John does it because he understands the importance of the role of coordinator. “Coordinators are part of the lifeblood of ALTA. We work largely behind the scenes helping to ensure that there are as few problems as possible and then working to solve them when problems do occur.”

His efforts have not just been recognized by his VP, but by ALTA members at large. “He is regularly complimented by his teams for all the time he puts in to make sure they have the best experience in ALTA possible,” said Bill.

Anna Mitchell, Sunday Women
Nominated by 2016 VP Joyce Vance
It’s been said often that ALTA is the base for many a strong friendship. That certainly is true for Anna Mitchell. Anna started playing tennis in 1984 at the invitation of a friend. She and that friend still play together on ALTA teams. That’s what she likes best about ALTA: “The friendships I have developed over the years are priceless.”

She has been a coordinator for 10 years, overseeing 30 or more teams each season. “I especially enjoy working with the C level teams,” she said. “Their enthusiasm and passion for the game is infectious.”

It’s a job she does well, according to 2016 VP Joyce Vance. “Anna is very knowledgeable about the rules, and she is very kind and supporting to all captains. Everyone who comes in contact with her knows how contagious her smile and laughter are.”

Anna is delighted that her efforts have been recognized. “I was so excited to receive Coordinator of the Year,” she said. “I have been aspiring to receive the award for several years.”

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