I grew up feeling very much a part of Giffnock Tennis Club. Instead of having nothing to do and only street corners to hang about on, I had a sport to play and a safe venue at which to practice. This allowed me to develop as a person in an atmosphere that provided me with both a sense of community and in and environment where members were encouraged to develop shared values.
This year, as President of Giffnock Tennis Squash & Hockey Club, I set out to try and further a sense of community amongst an ever more diverse membership and pondered, at the time of our AGM in February, what might happen during the year to make me feel proud!
This afternoon I watched Giffnock's Gents 1st Team, sponsored by A.C. Taylor Coachworks, narrowly beat Newlands in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup - a 5 - 4 victory in front of around 60 - 80 spectators. As the balance of the match ebbed and flowed, (with Newlands looking favourites to win after a first round where their second couple beat Giffnock's second couple), I could feel the enthusiasm of our support for their Club and could sense that they felt part of a team playing against Newlands that was more than just the six players who took to court.
At the end of the match I spent just a few moments looking at the elation on the faces of our support and could see just how much qualification to the final of the Scottish Cup means to them, the heart of the Club. Next week we go to Edinburgh to the home of Scottish Tennis at Craiglockhart to take on Stirling University for the biggest prize in Scottish club tennis. I know it will be a very difficult task to beat the Cup winners for the past 2 years running, but know that the Giffnock Team, and its support, will give everything in the hope of bringing the Cup back to Giffnock.
Already this year our Ladies 1st Hockey team were runners up in the European Cup Final, our Gents 1st Hockey Team won National League Division 3, our squash teams all performed admirably in their respective leagues, our Ladies 1st Tennis Team looks set to win Division 1, Our Gents 2nd and 3rd Teams are holding their own in Divisions 1a and 1b respectively and our Gents 1st Tennis Team look certain to retain their Premier Division title. In other words, all is well on the sporting front.
So today I felt proud to be the President of Giffnock Tennis Squash and Hockey Club. Sport is such a terrific environment in which to bring people together and tonight I even more determined to work to ensure the future of Giffnock in what remains of my Presidential year!