Earlier this year, USTA Eastern announced its 2018 League Captains of the Year for each region in its Section.
“Captaining a league team takes dedication,” said USTA Eastern Leagues Senior Manager Lauren Bull. “Captains spend a lot of their own time ironing out logistics so that all players can have a great experience. They have to be incredibly organized, flexible and motivational. We are happy to formally recognize some of the best our Section has to offer.”
In the Long Island Region, the award was presented to Blasia Baum, who has been captaining teams for nearly 20 years.
“I was a little overwhelmed, I had no idea the girls were doing this,” Baum said of receiving the award. “I’m so grateful for all the great women I’ve met over all these years. Tennis is great and competitive, but the friendships you make along the way are really what are most wonderful. I enjoy the friendships that I’ve created, the socializing after the matches, and just meeting new people.”
Baum, who captains teams out of Point Set Tennis in Oceanside, N.Y., has led her team to a number of playoff appearances, as well as sectional titles, the most recent of which came in 2017.
While her team that won Sectionals two years ago came up short a year ago, it was still a successful season for Baum and her squad.
“It’s okay … we had a great season,” said Baum. “We even celebrated with our opponents afterward, and brought them champagne. It was a tough and exciting match, and of course we wanted to defend our title, but it was still a nice season.”
And it is that mentality that has made Baum such a successful captain over these past two decades, both in terms of on-court success and developing relationships with all of her different players.
“We’re all competitive, we want to win. And you want to put the best people on the court. But sometimes, you don’t have the chemistry and for me, I need the girls to feel comfortable where they are, which courts they’re on and who they’re playing with,” Baum said of what it takes to be a successful leader of USTA teams. “That’s important to me, and I think that’s why I’ve been successful with many of my teams. At the club, whenever there is somebody new, or who doesn’t have a place, they always bring them to me. I take everybody on and we work it out.”
Kathy Miller, coordinator of the USTA Adult Leagues on Long Island, had a lot of praise for Baum and what she has brought to the leagues after all of these years.
“Blasia has been a captain for as long as I can remember,” noted Miller. “She has always extended herself to be accommodating with the other captains and has always shown great sportsmanship. She is also known for her great refreshments, especially her salad with strawberries!”
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.