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The Greening of Tennis – US Open Green Initiative

By Rich Neher

Image from Rich Neher/LA Tennis Examiner

Image from Rich Neher/LA Tennis Examiner

“To solve the serious environmental problems facing our planet, we need to shift our culture toward more sustainable practices. Sports are hugely influential and can play a significant role in causing a ‘green’ ripple effect of enormous proportions, encouraging industries and consumers alike to improve the choices they make every day. I’m proud to have co-founded GreenSlam and help launch the greening of the US Open and the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center with NRDC, and I applaud the work they are doing to green professional sports.” — Tennis Legend, Billie Jean King

Environmental Responsibility for a Sustainable Future
Prior to 2008 The USTA Board was tasked with lessening the environmental footprint and helping to create a sustainable future for the largest-attended annual sporting event in the world, the US Open Tennis Championships. Quote from the USTA web site: “Since the inception of the initiative in 2008, the USTA has diverted 1,300 tons of waste through recycling and composting, saved 2,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, offset enough electricity to power over 1,000 homes for one year, recycled 2.2 million plastic bottles, and entertained 2.4 million fans who have arrived via mass transit. Each year the US Open increases the amount of waste it diverts from landfills and last year’s event had the greatest impact diverting over 60% of its waste through recycling and composting.”

“Our courts may be blue, but we’re thinking green”
That’s the environmental pledge of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), which hosts more than 700,000 fans each year during the two weeks of the US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Just by switching the paper used to print programs to 100 percent post-consumer recycled content, the USTA saved 2,123 gallons of wastewater and avoided emitting 441 pounds of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gases and 129 pounds of solid waste.

Leading the charge for the USTA as it relates to the US Open Green Initiative is Lauren Davis, Senior Manager, Strategic Initiatives at headquarters in White Plains, NY. The former Litigation Case Manager for an international law firm, joined the USTA in 2006 as Senior Paralegal in the Professional Tennis Department and became Senior Manager, Strategic Initiatives in 2010.

Davis says that the US Open “is focusing on showing fans that attend live tennis events that the reuse practices in place really pay off.” Examples: Waste generated from the previous year is recycled as compost to feed flowers on the Open grounds. Tennis ball cans become lanyards the following year. Seventy thousand spent tennis balls are strategically reused.

Davis suggests that the tennis fans “know what they are supposed to be doing and they know it’s important not only for the US Open, but also for the entire country.”

Read the full article and Q&A with Lauren Davis here.

Arizona Cardinals Hire First Female Coach in NFL History

The Arizona Cardinals have hired the first female coach in National Football League history, the team and the NFL said Monday.

Jen Welter, a former rugby player at Boston College, played 14 seasons in women’s pro football and was the first woman to play a non-kicking position in a men’s pro league — as a running back for the Texas Revolution of Indoor Football League.

Jen Welter

“I want little girls everywhere to grow up knowing they can do anything, even play football,” Welter said last year on NBC’s TODAY.

With the Cardinals, Welter will work with inside linebackers as a training camp-preseason intern coach. She’s also a veteran at coaching men, moving to the Cardinals from the Revolution, for whom she was linebackers and special teams coach.

The NFL confirmed Monday night that she is the first female coach in league history.

Welter, 37, won gold medals with Team USA in the International Federation of American Football Women’s World Championships in 2010 and 2013, and she has a master’s degree in sports psychology and a Ph.D. in psychology.

The move is something Cardinals coach Bruce Arians has talked about before, saying in an interview in March that the league would hire female coaches if they “can prove they can make a player better.”

“Coaching is nothing more than teaching,” Arians said Monday. “The one thing I’ve learned from players: All they want to know is: ‘How [are] you going to make me better? If you can make me better, I don’t [care] if you’re the Green Hornet. I’ll listen.'”

Welter joins Becky Hammon among the very small group of women coaching major-league men’s sports. Hammon was hired last season as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association — just last week, she led the Spurs’ developmental team to the NBA Summer League championship.

Nor will Welter be the only woman on an NFL field this year. In April, the league hired Sarah Thomas, a respected men’s college football official, as its first full-time female game official.


Read the article from NBC news.