Bob Reed has lived a tennis-filled life. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Reed, Willamalane’s director of tennis, started playing when he was 7 years old. Fifty-one years later, he is still committed to the game he loves.
“I started hitting on the backboard and I thought, ‘this is just so cool,’ ” Reed said. “I can get some exercise and it’s challenging. And it’s movement and concentration and I can do it by myself.”
At the age of 11 he began playing competitively and by 14 he was ranked in the top 10 in the Northwest for his age division. Between tournaments, travel and equipment, tennis was becoming an expensive hobby. And so at 15, Reed began teaching tennis.
“I’ll never forget, my dad said to me one day, he said ‘you are going to make a living teaching one day. You just have that knack,’ ” said Reed. “And it has always stayed with me, and he was right. Here it is 40-plus years later, and I’m still teaching.”
As a teacher, Reed now leads a variety of tennis classes at Willamalane, hosts private lessons and coaches the Springfield High School team — in addition to teaching special education half-time.
In addition to teaching, Reed has given to Willamalane in other ways. Four years ago, he used an inheritance to fund the flooring for four indoor courts at Willamalane Center four years ago.
Outdoor tennis lessons with Reed begin May 12 at Willamalane Park.