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Joyce Dreslin

Induction Year: 2022

In 1979 Joyce Dreslin moved to Texas from New York having played hardly any tennis in her life. But thanks to a New York club that had offered free childcare with six weeks of lessons, she had taken a lot of lessons, six weeks after six weeks after six weeks. Texas offered plentiful courts and economical clubs so she got involved. Eventually her daughter got tired of sitting on the club porch while her parents played so she too became a player. Welcome to the competitive junior tennis scene. Dreslin became a complaining tennis mother. Why is the newsletter only about Houston? How did they possibly come up with that tournament seeding? The USTA she quickly learned is like the PTA. If you complain, you get the job.

The infamous Ben Ball of the association then known as the Texas Tennis
Association asked her if she’d like to be on the Communications committee. In
those days there were no computers, the publications were typed out by hand
and transmitted through the mail for proofreading. Dreslin had worked as an editor for a New York publishing firm and was continuing to do so on a free-lance basis, so she had experience. Eventually she gave up the paying job because the deadlines came in the best Texas weather months when she could be on the courts. Her game she will admit never became world class despite playing and captaining many league teams, but her service to the sport is legendary. The first committee job as Vice Chair turned into Chair the following year and lasted for 21 years! After five years she got her first national committee appointment, and she’s been at it for 37 years. She’s also been a prominent volunteer at the US Open for nearly a quarter century, manning a hospitality suite for volunteers, running a ticket exchange and even giving tours of Arthur Ashe Stadium. Locally she learned, among many other things, how to run a tournament, how to organize a bunch of kids into the first Area Training Center, select and train the ball kids for Davis Cup competition, briefly try to be an on-court official, run a Community Tennis Association and how to feed 492 participants of a Tennis on Campus event (you run around tables set up with slices of bread, slap meat and cheese on them and hope the health department doesn’t show up).

She has learned a lot from tennis, probably the best being from a tennis pro from Hilton Head named Dennis Van Der Meer who showed her how tennis could be a rehabilitation tool. His wife Pat had had a stroke and Dreslin watched as she progressed thanks to his hitting tennis balls to her, forcing her to use both sides of her brain. A short time later, Dreslin’s husband had a stroke as well, and she put what she learned to work – a program giving lessons to stroke survivors and the brain injured. The program lives on in Dallas, and Dreslin has been involved in adaptive tennis committees and programs ever since.

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