Volunteer recognized for 26 years to the sport of tennis

Fely Ong of Homewood was honored for her 26 years of volunteer service to the tennis program at the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District’s Racquet & Fitness Club.
 
Umang Chadda, racquet sports manager, presented Ong with the Volunteer Tennis Award in April. 
 
  Fely Ong
 
Ong, a retired advanced practice nurse from Advocate Christ Hospital, plays tennis at least four times a week at the racquet club and elsewhere. She finds the sport is a great “stress reliever” and a way to meet new people. 
 
“Tennis is a game of life,” she said. “Because there’s only one winner it has players keep trying and doing their best. It has social aspects of interacting with others, and players must keep honest in their line calls on their side.”
 
Her love of the game is what got her to come and watch the United States Tennis Association-sanctioned tournaments the racquet club hosted for more than 20 years.  The games drew players from around the world and were exciting to her, and she got to know program director Sylvia Gothard.
 
It was Gothard who asked Ong if she’d volunteer with a youth program. Ong went through the training for officials and coaches so she could monitor the games for eight- to 12-year-olds who she remembers as “not being much taller than I am now.” She often found herself being the official scorekeeper “because kids don’t remember scores.”
 
Over time, Ong moved into volunteering for the club’s special recreation tennis program and its games.  She is a volunteer for the Midwest Tennis Association and working to organize a unified doubles tournament in August that will have tennis players and special needs players paired.
 

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