Tennis Pro Honored for Dedication
By Office of Communication
Posted on March 10, 2012, March 10, 2012

When Lance Helm took his first job coaching tennis, he didn't think anything of it. "It was just something to do over the summer," the head tennis professional at Arlington Tennis Center (ATC) said. But after a child smiled when Helm helped him reach a goal, the coach was hooked.

Years later, Helm is honored with the 2011 Lloyd Sessions Educational Merit Award from the United States Tennis Association Texas Section, an accolade given to those who demonstrate outstanding abilities at a professional level in building stronger junior tennis at all skill levels.

Sheryl Osborn, ATC's facility manager, nominated the coach. Helm's dedication to his administrative work behind the scenes and his work on the court inspired Osborn to complete the application.

"Sometimes we overlook people that do the spectacular acts on a regular basis, and we take them for granted because we're used to it," she said. "I wanted to nominate Lance because he is one of those folks who tends to work more in the background and always goes above and beyond."

The coach inspires his pupils, too. "He makes me want to be a better tennis player and a better person in general," said Sydney Smith, a sophomore varsity tennis player at Arlington High School.

Under his direction at ATC, the QuickStart program - a clinic for children 10 and under to learn the game quickly - has seen more than 2,300 youth since January 2008. The father of three also helped start a program for high school students that could not afford tennis lessons, which then helped spur a similar program for elementary students.

Helm, who was honored at the section's annual awards banquet in Austin last month, is a little overwhelmed by the award. "I always thought that awards should be given for going above and beyond your normal role," he said. "I don't feel as if I go above and beyond. I just do what seems to be natural and right."

But the award is meaningful for Helm. "It's nice to think that maybe what you do makes a difference. That is what this award will always mean to me."


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