Saving The Environment

To get people excited about the new Eco-Challenge ladder, ACTA encouraged a local business to donate re-usable water bottles at an ACTA social, and provide awards for the eco-challenge winners.

Although tennis may not seem an obvious choice to promote environmental consciousness, to Robertson it was a perfect fit.

“Tennis has always been a good metaphor for life. Winning is important, but integrity and being courteous are even more important. Tennis etiquette is typically one of the first aspects of the game taught to young players, and encompasses everything from attire to waiting for approval before entering an active court.

“Being easy on the environment also fits into this etiquette, or the ‘how-you-play-the-game’ category. It’s time we think of eco-awareness as etiquette towards future generations of tennis players.”

A Match Made In Heaven

The creative approach used by ACTA demonstrates there are plenty of creative ways for sports organizations to promote environmental awareness. Any sports league, for example, can create a separate competition based on players’ environmental practices. The concepts of re-usable water bottles and alternative transportation are applicable to every sport.

What about taking it a step further: what if a flag-football league started each game awarding one point for each player who didn’t drive? What about teams that adopt a park, and by picking up trash, earn points?

Even if you did not want to manage the competition, the simple act of reporting your actions on a website raises awareness.

The simple act of encouraging alternative transportation and providing easy access to that information–bike routes or public transportation routes on a website, for example–is also an easy way for sports organizations to promote environmental awareness.

Athletes are a natural group to promote environmental awareness too–they are often the primary users of parks and other outdoor spaces.

Use a little creativity, like the ACTA Eco-Challenge tennis ladder!

Eric Legg, CPRP, is a Sports Programmer with Arlington County, Va., where he oversees a variety of sports, including tennis. The Arlington USTA Junior Team Tennis program recently received the Virginia Recreation and Park Society Award for Best New Program, and the agency was named Parks & Recreation Agency of the Year by the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section. Legg also serves on the USTA National Committee on Tennis in the Public Parks. He can be reached via e-mail at Elegg@arlingtonva.us.

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