Program makes team tennis available to all
By Gary Boskovich
Renee Bognar has played tennis since she was a little girl, and she has developed a love of the game that goes beyond the serves and volleys of the tennis court.
Her passion for the sport runs so deep that she founded the Tigers Tennis Team – a mix of home-schooled, charter-schooled and cottage-schooled children and teens who were previously unable to play team tennis.
The program began as an offshoot of the Woodland Springs swim team and many of those neighborhood kids participate in her tennis program today at the Carmel Racquet Club.
“This tennis team was started because I wanted my daughters to have a sport. And now we’re up to 150 kids a year,” said Bognar, who is a certified United States Tennis Association teaching pro and athletic director for the team.
Team members range in age from 5 to 19 years old and participate at various playing levels from beginners to experts.
The Tigers compete throughout the year against teams such as Guerin Catholic, Heritage Christian, Brebeuf, Covenant Christian and Park Tudor. But to be on the Tigers also means developing far-reaching lifelong skills.
“My goal is to teach sportsmanship and determination,” Bognar said. “I believe in the quality of sportsmanship for life. I think that learning to (play) a sport gives kids the ability to learn how to live life.”
To that end Bognar makes both parents and children sign a 4-page conduct policy before they can play. She doesn’t tolerate bullying or verbally assaulting any player, whether it be a team member or competitor. And proper individual and team etiquette is a requisite for playing for the Tigers.
The Tigers’ mission is to provide encouragement to young men and women in a team sport with proper consideration for fairness, ethics, respect, self-control and sense of fellowship with competitors. And Bognar said she sees a need for teaching her players discipline and perseverance.
“We’re raising very self-absorbed people these days that don’t get the team concept, yet they’re hungry for it,” she said.
For more information email Bognar at Reneebognar1@aol.com.