With 820 members, the Senior Tennis Players Club of Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN (SPTC), is the largest organization of its kind in the country. Its popularity can be attributed to an inclusive atmosphere that welcomes players of all skill levels, as well as a thriving social scene that goes well beyond tennis. But there’s also another factor, one that might not fit preconceptions of a club for senior citizens: The STPC uses technology in a variety of ways to enhance its members’ experiences.
Enter David Sommer. At 78 years old, Sommer brings a lot to the club, including a strong recruiting pitch to prospective members. Perhaps his most prominent contributions, however, stem from his technological aptitude. Skills from a 40-year career in computers have helped him make significant upgrades to the club.
“For many years, I and two other people handled all the membership issues,” says Sommers. “My part of that was keeping the membership database. Every year we would mail out renewal information, and people would mail it back. That worked fine, but recently we’ve made the website so that people can sign up online. We’ve tried to move briskly forward into the 21st century.”
Sommer created the website, and he’s also the editor of the Senior Tennis Players Club newsletter, which goes above and beyond the average local tennis publication.
“I get some wonderful poems and essays submitted occasionally,” he says. “I really try to make it more than just necessary news, and make it something of interest. It’s a fair amount of work, but a gratifying thing is [that] people keep saying nice things to me about how they appreciate the newsletter.”
Sommer, who received the 2016 USTA Seniors’ Service Award, has also made generous contributions to local youth organizations InnerCity Tennis and Tennis & Life Camps.
“I’m really very interested in the use of tennis to reach kids,” he says. “It’s a lifetime sport, but also the ethos of the game is wonderful. It’s something you can carry into the rest of your life and learn important lessons.”
Sommer himself is evidence of that.
For more information, visit https://seniortennismn.org/