For Hilary Bressler, the director of junior tennis at Christopher Morley in Roslyn, every day in the office feels like a vacation.
Well, not exactly, but pretty close.
“When you do something you’re passionate about and really love, it doesn’t feel like working,” Bressler said. “Seeing the fruits of your labor, seeing all these kids find the love of tennis, that’s my agenda.”
For her efforts, Bressler was rewarded on Jan. 28 with the USTA 10 and Under Red Ball award by the United States Tennis Association’s Eastern Tennis Association.
At their annual awards banquet Bressler was honored along with a host of other regional winners.
The “Red Ball” program is the USTA’s initiative to get children as young as 3 and 4 years old playing with smaller rackets on smaller courts, to instill the sport in them for a lifetime.
Neil Thakur, the community tennis coordinator for Long Island/Metro and part of the group that chose Bressler, said she is “very well-deserving, and works so hard for the kids.”
Bressler started at CMT in 2017 and said there were about 35 kids in the 10 and under “Red Ball” program when she began. Last fall there were 153 children enrolled, with Bressler saying they could probably max out at 160 kids.
“If you do a good job and put out a good product, people will find you,” Bressler said. “And the coaches, my team, they’re in the trenches and do the hardest job here, which is teaching the little ones.”
“Her high energy and enthusiasm is contagious to all the kids she sees and it shows on their smiling faces during their on-court fun,” said Christopher Morley General Manager Anthony Morais in his nomination letter for the award. “She is a woman of the highest integrity and puts the kids first in all of her decision-making.
In the future, Bressler said she and CMT would like to go into local elementary schools and bring tennis to kids who might not have the financial means to take lessons, to try to find the next Serena Williams or Frances Tiafoe.
“It’s very rewarding to be recognized by my peers, who are doing this work all across the country,” Bressler said. “If we can get back into the schools like we were before COVID, and get rackets into the hands, that would be our next goal.”