Sports Bear - A Day At The Tennis Court!
The Children's Series On Sports And Fair Play
By Laura Graham, USPTA
Exciting and informative new kid's tennis book!
*Fun Sports Bear character for kids and parents to love!
*Demonstrates basic tennis strokes in 16 full page color illustrations!
*Examples of how to keep score! *Emphasizes good sportsmanship!
*Tennis website links listed on the last page for the USTA, Tennis Welcome Centers and USPTA to help your players stay in the game!
Many uses for this great kid's tennis book!
*A great alternative to shirts – one size fits all!
*Great pro shop item! *Fundraiser for all your charitable events!
*Giveaway for special events – use a label to customize for your club!
Suggested retail price: $9.95
Contact: Champions Publishing
9125 Lakeview Drive - Cleveland, OH 44138 - 440-427-1068
The best kid's tennis book you'll ever read!
USTA's Herb Nold Award - Outstanding Volunteer of the Year!
A Little Bit Of History About Sports Bear's Author....
The Herb Nold Volunteer of the Year Award was first awarded in 1986 to recognize individuals for their distinguished, unselfish and dedicated service to the Northeastern Ohio Tennis Association. Laura Graham was the 2006 NEOTA volunteer of the year recipient. Laura was so very honored and humbled to receive this award and she has often said that the "highlight" of receiving this honor was really being able to share the day with her parents and children that were also in attendance. In her words, "They are the reason I have been blessed with such wonderful times in tennis." It's always about family and making a difference with Laura. Click on the video to see this sentimental tribute.
Over the years, Laura has been very active in several venues for the district, section and beyond. Here is a highlight of just some of her past years accomplishments:
In 1998 Laura took over as the Northeast Ohio District Coordinator for the United States Tennis Association's Junior Team Tennis and held that position until January 2009. Laura has worked tirelessly coordinating junior tennis teams from all areas across Northeast Ohio each summer and winter. These teams competed each July for the district championship and then advanced to the section championships in Indianapolis as well as the national championships for qualifying teams.
In November of 2005 she once again organized a USTA Junior Team Tennis Fall/Winter league. That May Laura coached an All-Star team that competed in the Midwest tournament in Ft. Wayne, IN. In July she continued as the director for the NEOTA Junior Team Tennis District Playoffs held at Oberlin College. In August she coached a team which included her two sons, Sean and Colin that qualified for the Junior Team Tennis Sectional Championships in Indianapolis. A great deal of time and effort was spent educating coaches, players, and parents about the outstanding benefits of Junior Team Tennis.
In October 2005 she kicked off a new World Team Tennis Corporate League with the partnership of the USTA and The Cleveland Clinic. It debuted at the Chagrin Valley Athletic Club and followed up in February' of 2006 with an additional league at Five Seasons Sports Club. Team from this league in the past, qualified for the National Championships in Indian Wells, CA. Through this program, Laura has a new "fan" of Sports Bear (and Laura, too!) and that is none other than the founder of World Team Tennis, Billie Jean King. Laura will be the first to tell you, that the fact that Billie Jean King even knows who she is, is undoubtedly one of the biggest thrills in her life. Her admiration for Billie Jean is immeasurable. Billie Jean's legacy for what she has accomplished, for all who compete in sports, not just in tennis, is something that inspires Laura in her quest to make a difference in her own lifetime. There clearly is no one like Billie Jean King.
As a result of her hard work in the past, Laura was invited to be a guest speaker at the USTA’s Community Tennis Workshop in February of 2006 in Hollywood, CA. She spoke on the topics of Organizing Tennis Progams/The Tennis Organizer and Corporate Tennis League Success Stories. Laura is known for her ability to organize and bring people together for both tennis and charity/fundraising events. Her enthusiasm and dedication brings about a positive result for any event she is involved in and as with any program she runs, the underlying componant is always FUN! Laura makes things happen and fun is her driving force.
In the fall of 2005, Laura was asked to be on the board for the USTA's Northeast Ohio District. Over the years she has also been very active in the United States Professional Tennis Association as well as the former President of the Northeast Ohio USPTA. She has participated in the USPTA at the local, Midwest and National levels. It was because of this volunteer work and dedication to tennis, that she was awarded the Nancy Mickler Award by the USPTA in 2000. This prestigious award was given in recognition of her outstanding efforts and accomplishments on and off the courts.
Laura has been the boy's and girl's varsity head coach for 18 years at Olmsted Falls High School. As part of her way of teaching kids' to give back over the years, she has organized programs for her high school tennis players. Over the years the teams have taken part in local charities where they purchased school supplies for needy kids, organized food drives and have donated stuffed animals for cancer patients. Many of her students have also donated their time to help younger children get involved in tennis and they can often be found helping Laura on the courts. Mentoring is a big part of Laura's tennis programming and it's a program she takes great pride in year after year. Olmsted Falls tennis alumni can often be found dropping by to say hi or jumping in to play along with the new generation of tennis kids. Tennis is absolutely a lifetime sport!
Laura was also involved in the promotion of the Williams Sisters McDonald Tour in Cleveland working with IMG to promote the program throughout the schools in Northeast Ohio. She got to know the girl's and their family while they were in Cleveland and the William's really made a great impression on her. Not to mention the time spent she said, was a "once in a lifetime" opportunity.
During the summer, Laura runs her own Champion's Tennis programs which began in 1998. The highlight is the summer match play league that is filled with kids from all over northeast Ohio. The play doesn't stop until the sun goes down! This is a league that is all about summertime fun on the courts. It has always been her goal to help bring tennis to families that might not otherwise have access or be able to afford tennis. She still offers tennis lessons for the same prices she charged when she began teaching. This rate has not changed in all her years of teaching. Years ago, as a junior player, tennis became too expensive to continue, so she had to let go of her dream to pursue tennis further. She always said one day, if given the opportunity to teach kids, she would make it both accessible and affordable. And she has been true to her word. Champions Tennis Camp and many other programs Laura organized, has helped rejuvenate tennis in her city of Olmsted Falls. It has helped bring tennis to both children and adults in this family oriented community. On just about any given day March through November, you can find Laura on the tennis courts either coaching high school tennis during the school year or having fun with kids and adults, both during and in between the school seasons. And quite often, you'll not only find her sons helping out, but current or former students that just want to give back. And so, the wonderful circle of giving continues.
Laura is a avid supporter of the Music City Tennis Invitational in Nashville, TN. Each year, under the direction of tennis professional, Bill Riddle, the music and tennis communities come together to raise money for the Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. It is an outstanding event and they do so much for children and their families in need. It's a wonderful way to bring people together through tennis to help children. Laura has participated in this event in the past and she donates copies of Sports Bear as well. She also donates books to Andre Agassi's Grand Slam for Tennis Foundation.
Sports Bear Fun Facts.....
Laura is also a songwriter and a published author of a book "Sports Bear, A Day At The Tennis Court", a beginner's book for young children. There is a baseball title currently in the works as well as other sports, too! There are it seems, more exciting adventures ahead for Sports Bear!
Laura has worked at several private tennis facilities and takes pride in ability to make tennis accessible to all ages. She works with both juniors and adults and she likes the challenge of working with all ability levels - teaching both the competitive strategies as well as making the game fun for even the newest of players. Laura's outgoing and friendly personality make her a favorite with everyone she teaches. And as Laura will tell you, " I absolutely, positively, love teaching tennis!"
On a personal note, Laura has three sons that are each, in their own way, following in their mother's footsteps in some way or another. Her oldest son, Ryan graduated from Olmsted Falls High School and graduated from Ohio University in 2015. He recently returned from Yamkaguchi, Japan in the spring of 2017 where he taught English for a year. He has a flair for writing and is enjoying his one year teaching adventure on the other side of the world. He is currently studying to be a pharmacist. Sean, also graduated from OFHS and graduated from John Carroll University in 2014 with a degree in finance and statistics. He played on the men's tennis team and was the captain of his Blue Streak team. He was honored as an tennis All-American in his freshman year. Sean was also the captain of his high school team, a four year letterman and a four time MVP. He has also won numerous USTA tournaments. He currently works as a financial analyst and has started his own entrepreneurial business. He also keeps the tennis fires burning and plays on a men's team with some men from his college team. Colin, the youngest of the three sons, graduated from OFHS in 2011; He then headed to the University of Dayton and graduated magna cum laude with a a degree in bio-chemsitry and a minor in Spanish. He completed his master of medical physiology at Case Western Reserve Universiy in 2017 and is currently in his first year of medical school at The Ohio State University. He was accepted to three medical schools, but attending OSU has always been his dream. Colin carries such a strong passion to help and heal and it's easy to see that he will "change the world" as one of his medical mentors recently wrote in a letter for his medical school application. Colin played club tennis at the University of Dayton and was also a captain and a four year letterman on the Olmsted Falls tennis team. During that time he was awarded the Sportsmanship, Leadership and MVP team awards. He and Sean qualified for the Northeast Ohio Boy's District tournament in 2009 and 2010 playing doubles together. They are the most successful doubles duo in the history of their high school.
We'll keep you up to date on the latest endeavours and anything else new with Laura and Sports Bear! Check back soon!
If you would like to reach Laura, she may be reached at ChampionsTennis1@aol.com.
Thank you for visiting Sports Bear Books!
See you - on the courts!
Fun with Serena & Venus - great players and even nicer to get to know!
What a great experience!
ROGER FEDERER at the US OPEN
Champion and class act - he wrote the book on both!
The true inspiration behind Sports Bear...the real life "Sports Bears."