This post is part of a series that tell the stories of how tennis has influenced people’s lives in the Mid-Atlantic Section. Meet Edward Fitzgerald from Waldorf, Md. To share your story or send to someone you know, click here.
Tell us a little about yourself
I’m a 52-year-old male that had a love affair between basketball and tennis but quickly turned my focus in my later years to tennis. I had never taken a tennis lesson in my life but was always an athlete, so the physical part of the game wasn’t a problem. What I needed to learn was stroke fundamentals and the mental part of the game. I played with people who knew how to play and humbled myself to ask what they thought I could work on. Then I went to work hitting against the wall. I also watched a lot of tennis and just copied what my favor players did (Federer, Agassi). Eventually I got my certification and have coached a few winning teams and taught people how to play this beautiful sport that is a sport of a lifetime. My wife also is a USTA member, and we have played mixed doubles together and gone to a few Sectional Championships.
How has tennis impacted your life?
Tennis gives me a sense of calm and is a stress reliever for me. Everyone has to have a hobby — that happy place — and tennis is my happy place. In everyday life it helps with problem solving. How to make a plan and work your plan.
Recently I had a gentlemen come to me and said I was the reason that he started playing tennis. He came out to the court and saw me playing one day and told me that I made it look so fun. As they say, you never know who may be watching. Since I started coaching and giving lessons, I have had men and women come to me and say, “Thank you for giving me the confidence to expand my game.” There is nothing more gratifying to me as than helping someone achieve something in this game that I love.
How do you feel when you think about your tennis journey?
I feel a feeling of happiness that I can help anyone learn or improve in their game. When I first started, someone took the time to help me, and I want to do the same for others.
What do you like most about tennis and what keeps you coming back?
The competition, the relationships you build, the keeping in shape part. What keeps me coming back is my love for the sport and the people who play it. Tennis is a great way to make some long-lasting friends.