A Teacher Turned Student
After developing young minds while being a fifth grade teacher at Anne Hutchinson Elementary School for over 15 years, Deanna Santoro (pictured right above) has switched roles and become a student again. Forehands, backhands, serves and volleys are now the topics of discussion in her after school activities.
Tennis, which has always been deemed as a lifetime sport holds true for Santoro. “Tennis is one of the few sports that once you pass 40 you can still do,” commented Santoro who started looking for an activity to do once her children got older. “I wanted to become a part of a team and I found that with tennis.”
Santoro’s tennis career started out as most players do. “My tennis addiction has grown over the years. I used to play only one day a week for one hour, but then in my first season, one of the players on my court asked if I would be interested in playing on her USTA team,” stated Santoro. “After that, it became twice a week and now I play three to four times per week for an hour and a half at a time.”
While thought by most as an individual sport, team tennis has become a staple part of getting new players into the game. “I love getting to know the girls on my 3.5 team and the competition that USTA Leagues provide,” stated Santoro. One of Deanna’s best friends started out as an opponent. “A few years ago, I played a singles match for my USTA team and my adversary, Sarah Liddle, that day has now turned into one of my best friends.”
Santoro has joined her siblings who have already caught the tennis bug. “My younger brother is a 4.5 player and my older brother is a 3.5,” commented Santoro. “Since I’ve taken up tennis, I’ve been trying to beat my brothers.” As with most siblings, competition is a big part of life and for Deanna she had been on the losing end until recently. “I finally beat my older brother and his doubles partner a few weeks ago with my doubles partner, Ellen. It was awesome!” said Santoro as a big smile came across her face as she recalled the victory.
Since starting five years ago, Deanna’s two sons, Paulie and Luca, have joined in the family sport. Santoro offers advice to other moms, “Tennis is a great sport for those children that are not into the regular team sports. It provides exercise, sportsmanship, and the ability to become better at a skill.”
Santoro’s long term individual goal is to become a 4.0 player, but this season her team goal is to help them get to the USTA Eastern Sectional Championships. “We went to the sectional tournament two years ago and it was one of the best experiences of my life,” said Santoro.
For those thinking it’s too late to become a student again, just ask Deanna and she’ll tell you the opposite.
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