The Life-Changing Impact of Tennis

There are probably a whole host of reasons why you play tennis or show your love of the sport. You love the competitive nature of the game and the power of the racquet; the confidence it gives you when you challenge yourself to improve and the lifelong circle of friends you’ve made. You love the benefit of staying in shape or maybe you see the passion of the sport through the eyes of your child, watching them learn lifelong skills such as sportsmanship and dedication. You watch them flourish and gain self-confidence thanks to tennis.

As a 501(c)3 charitable organization, USTA Mid-Atlantic is committed to growing the sport for all of these reasons and more.  As the year quickly comes to an end, we ask you to consider making a charitable gift that will help support our efforts to bring tennis opportunities to people of all ages in the Mid-Atlantic and support the mission to promote and develop the growth of tennis.

Players are always telling us how tennis has made an incredible impact on their lives. We want to share one of those stories with you. Mary Martin, a USTA League player from Annapolis, Md.,  told us her tennis story and how “that little fuzzy yellow tennis ball” brought her out of the depths of despair during some of the worst times of her life.

Here is what Mary had to say…


Mary Martin has made many close friends through tennis, including her former doubles partner David Harley, who unfortunately passed away in 2012.

I really don’t know how it happened (tennis that is), but I am sure glad that I found it, or it found me or we found each other!  I was involved in martial arts for many years and needed a change in sports. My youngest son had taken some tennis lessons so I went with him one day and got hooked! I wasn’t even that good, but wow, when I hit that little fuzzy yellow ball it was intoxicating and made me feel empowered and like I could conquer the world. I joined a Mid-Atlantic Adult League and had no idea how much fun tennis could be or how many friends I could make through the sport.

Soon after I started playing, my oldest son joined the Marines and was deployed to Iraq for two tours. He returned home and what he went through and suffered during his tour of duty we will never know or understand. What I can tell you is that I completely understand what PTSD is and that my son suffered badly. He was living on the edge, and I was there on the edge with him.

But tennis saved me.

No matter how hard the day was with my son, just knowing I could go to the courts and hit that little yellow ball got me through. Not to mention the support I got from my tennis friends when I got there – the shoulders to cry on, the comforting conversations, the understanding when I was standing at the net with tears in my eyes. Their support and even just getting on the court, exercising and hitting the ball always made me feel better even if just for an hour and a half. Tennis gave me a new a perspective.

Little did I know I would be calling on that little fuzzy yellow ball and tennis friends once again when my mother passed away in my arms. Seeing my tennis friends at her funeral was an overwhelming and heartwarming feeling. Almost immediately, my life changed again when my father moved in with me.

Mary Martin 3

Mary and others in the tennis community plant bulbs annually at a local park in honor of tennis friends who have passed away.

My father didn’t play tennis, but one of his favorite things to do was to go with me to the tennis courts on Saturday mornings for my league play or tag along to matches with me. This was our routine for two and a half years until he passed.  I will always be grateful to all the tennis people who welcomed my father onto the court and let him sit to the side while we played a match.

Tennis really has been so good to me, helping me through some of the toughest times in my life. Not only that, I’ve enjoyed that overwhelming feeling of being on a team that advances in league play from Regionals to Sectionals and even Nationals! Knowing you did it as a team and that you are part of something so much bigger is an incredible feeling.

I give thanks to Mid-Atlantic tennis and all the people I have crossed paths with because of the sport, leagues and beyond. I hope that I am healthy and happy enough to stay involved with tennis and hitting that yellow fuzzy ball and feeling like I can conquer the world for many years to come!

Your support of USTA Mid-Atlantic make stories like Mary’s possible enabling us to deliver quality tennis programs that bring people like you and those new to the sport together to improve lives. This is just one of many stories of the power of tennis. Would you be willing to make a special year-end donation of $25, $50, $100 or whatever you can afford to help us continue our mission? Our reach goes way beyond leagues –learn more about our programs and how your contribution can help make tennis possible for more people in the Mid-Atlantic.

We simply can’t do it without you.  Please, click here to make your donation now.

USTA Mid-Atlantic is a tax exempt organization under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Service. Contributions and donations will be tax deductible. 


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