Meet Iris Ham, USTA Adult and Growth League Coordinator, Lake Norman, NC and USTA Southern’s 2019 Local League Coordinator of the Year from Charlotte, NC :
Please tell us about your family:
I was born in Charlotte, NC and lived in the area most of my life with exception of 20 years in Columbia, SC. I am one of the lucky ones to have been married to my biggest fan and tennis supporter for 43 years. I have two wonderful sons, two loving daughter-in-laws and 3 beautiful granddaughters ages 13, 11 and 9 years of age. My sister and I are very close and she is included on our family adventures. We have a great time together vacationing at the beach, swimming, and camping. Whatever we do together is filled with LOVE & FUN!
What are your tennis interests?
I learned to play tennis in my mid 30’s and fell in love with the sport. My husband gave me blocks of lessons, clinics for every birthday and holiday..it was a joke that we kept up the young pro at our neighborhood Club. Took me about a year to start winning the local ladder and agree to play on my 1st USTA team. Another year and I was full time captain and for the next 7 years I captained year round. I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm for the sport and wanted to share my passion with everyone that didn’t know about my new love. I became a local league coordinator more that 26 years ago and still love bringing new faces into the sport.
Please tell us a little bit about your work experience and background.
I’ve always been an organizer, whether it was vacations for the family, PTA president, Church activities, etc. It was fitting that I worked in Special Projects with SC Parks, Recreation and Tourism while my husband was in pharmacy school in Columbia, SC. Special Projects ran big events such as Governor Inaugurations, Cruise terminal opening in Charleston and tourism events. This job gave me a great background in organization which is very much needed for job as LLC.
What are your other interests/hobbies besides tennis?
First on the list is spending time with my family and friends. Love every minute with my Granddaughters and enjoy every second with them, sleepovers, movies, camping and beach combing.. Next would be a varied assortment from reading, knitting, all sorts of crafts. and traveling.
What’s your tennis volunteer experience?
This is my 8th year working with Lake Norman CTA/State Tournament Committee to secure volunteers for the 18 & Over State Championships held at Lake Norman. I love to volunteer to work the Championships and visit with all the Lake Norman volunteers and visiting teams from around the State. I love working local adult charity tournaments and events and socializing with the players.
What can we do to grow league tennis?
I believe we need to do our best to keep the sport FUN! Provide support to our captains and players and make every effort to attract experienced lapsed players as well as the new beginners. Make league play a great experience that players will want to come back to for many years.
Where do you think you would make your strongest contribution?
I love working with new players and captains. Their appreciation and enthusiasm is so rewarding when their tennis career takes off. .Patience is definitely a virtue in this sport and I have endless amounts. I am more than willing to mediate situations when possible and work very hard at keeping the sport fun. My organization skills definitely help and it is important that captains/players have confidence in the person organizing their tennis league play.
What’s a fun fact that no one knows about you?
My family always played board and card games growing up and I am a maniac when it comes to games. I have fun and a little healthy competition is good….right?
Enjoy Iris’s Chicken Zucchini Casserole recipe HERE
Reprinted from 2/28/20 USTA League Coordinators & Volunteers Newsletter