In 1961, a small group of friends shared a deep commitment to their struggling community and a belief in the transformative power of tennis. They recognized that by focusing on the well-being of youth, they could improve the health of the entire community. These beliefs led them to establish Sportsmen’s Tennis Club (now Sportsmen’s Tennis & Enrichment Center, STEC), the first indoor non-profit tennis club built by and for the African American community. They knew that quality tennis instruction and interaction with caring adults could develop well-rounded young citizens, and, through tennis, STEC began to identify and fill gaps that weaken youth, families and community.
STEC is located in Harambee Park, which is part of the Frederick Law Olmsted Emerald Necklace. Harambee, a Swahili word meaning “pull together,” is fitting for STEC – we were created 50 years ago by committed community residents pulling together through their shared belief in the power of tennis to make a difference in their community.
For almost 60 years Sportsmen’s has been a guiding force in the lives of thousands of low and moderate– income minority youth. STEC has helped introduce local players to worlds of opportunity, and the world of tennis to Boston.
Since its inception, STEC has been guided by a vision of tennis as a sport that can open doors of opportunity and hope, doors which should be open to all members of society. While promoting excellence in tennis, we identify and fill gaps that weaken our youth, families and community.
STEC was the first African–American tennis club in the US. The founders were committed to introducing and teaching tennis to inner city Boston youth. They believed that quality tennis instruction and interaction with caring adults could develop well-rounded young citizens.
Gloria and Jim with Sen. Ted Kennedy
Construction of STEC in 1961