Try Tennis For Bonding

Editor, News-Register:

As Paul Harvey used to say, “Now for the rest of the story.”

They say bonding with our children is what teaches them so many of the major lessons they need to know for the game of life. We usually start the bonding process early, but it really seems to start to jell when they are in the fifth or sixth grade and continues until they graduate from high school and leave home to conquer the world on their own. Let me take you back to some of those bonding moments. Remember the hours, days, weeks, months and even years that we spent teaching them how to hit the home run, shoot the three-point shot, kick the winning goal or slide the puck to break the tie?

Did I say we? How could it be “we” if we are not allowed on the football field with them just as we are not allowed to run the bases with them or run up and down the basketball court and I know the coach won’t allow us on the soccer field or the ice either. So where does all this bonding take place? Is it bonding sitting on the sidelines cheering them on? Maybe it takes place while we shuttle them from one sport to another.

Before I have this superior bonding program, which is supposed to take place, I want to draw your attention to one more crucial fact. All this I mentioned stops on the last day of high school. It is at that time that our children go out on their own and start to develop their own lives. It is safe to say that after all those years of developing fantastic sports skills, 99.9 percent of them will never play a sport again, competitively or any other way. Seems like a waste of a lot of time and development. Before some of you decide that I am treading on the holy grail of parenthood, let me assure you I know the value of most of those sports, having played them from the fifth grade all the way through high school. The physical fitness was great and the comraderie of the fellowship of my buddies as wells as the sportsmanship learned were all great. I am simply saying that there is something else out there that teaches all those same skills and at the same time gives them something they can play for the rest of their lives, even bond with their parents.

That’s how it all happens and has been forever. What’s all this leading up to?


A newly formed organization, Ohio Valley Tennis Academy (OVTA), has just been established with the sole purpose of trying to change this in some small way. As an example, the OVTA is in a 10-week program designed to teach parents and their children or grandparents and their grandchildren how to play tennis. They are learning how to play tennis together at the same time and at the same place. Now, the neat part. When done, they will be able to play tennis together for the next 30 or 40 years. Now that is bonding!

If by chance, some of you out there have concerns the same as ours and you wish to know more about OVTA and its goals and programs, you can find us at or contact its president Jerry Mulhern at

Bill Blair