City staff, volunteers cooperated to make tennis event great

Published 6:34 am Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The weekend of May 30 through June 3, the Bainbridge Tennis Association (BTA) and city of Bainbridge hosted the USTA Georgia Adult 40 and Over League Championships. We had approximated 450 people, including 384 players, in our community for this event.

The BTA and city joined forces to make these players feel special. The BTA supplied the volunteers at all the sites while the city’s personnel, led by Jason Strickland, prepared the court sites, placed chairs and score markers on all the courts, kept ice and water available, kept trash picked up and were available for any on site physical problems. Tim Thompson, city tennis director, coordinated the Leisure Services staff, BTA volunteers and the USTA Georgia staff so that they all jelled together.

On Thursday night, Southwind Plantation hosted the captains’ check-in and meeting. The players felt pampered by Southwind’s staff and loved the food, as well as experiencing the southern hospitality Southwind provided. Friday night, the player party was held at the Kirbo Center, with Port City Deli catering the meal. The players were impressed with Bainbridge State College campus, our enthusiastic volunteers who greeted them at the door and the awesome meal.

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I am pleased to say the hotels, restaurants and businesses appeared to be ready for the players’ arrival. Signs around town welcoming the players made them feel special and the ease in which they could maneuver between court sites was an added plus. Several home owners opened their homes to staff and players which allowed Bainbridge to have enough rooms for the tournament event. Our hospital treated a few of our players quickly and efficiently, and even though they could not return to play, the players were pleased with the care given by both Bainbridge High School trainer Peter Mayfield, and our hospital. Additionally, several players had car issues, and the volunteers immediately made calls to the appropriate local businesses to assist them with their issues.

Thank you to everyone who in any way touched the lives of these players. It took a community pulling together to spotlight the wonderful qualities that small-town communities offer their guests and residents. The foresight that our community leaders have shown by expanding not only our tennis facilities but also our ball fields and fishing facilities is awesome.

The tourism dollar is a hard market to capture, but we have certainly created a variety of opportunities here in Bainbridge by expanding our recreation facilities. Thank you for your continued support and assistance to allow me to place Bainbridge on the map as a tennis hot spot.

Adrienne Harrison

Executive Director, Bainbridge Convention & Visitors Bureau