I spent much of last week as a volunteer scorekeeper at the Bank of the West Classic, a professional tennis tournament held every summer at
. I was one of about two hundred unpaid tennis lovers who acted as ushers, sold programs, directed fans around the grounds and, as in my case, logged extensive data on each ball struck by the players. Add to that hundreds of ball kids who were also volunteering. It was great fun and I had the privilege of meeting several of the players, including Maria Kirilenko (career high singles ranking of 18). Stanford University
|Meeting Maria Kirilenko at Stanford.|
|Sharon Fichman brought her spirited game and 289 Twitter followers (Serena Williams has over 2.1 million) to Stanford.|
More important than the tennis was the reminder that volunteerism is the backbone of many American systems we sometimes take for granted. VolunteeringinAmerica.gov estimates that there are over 60 million volunteers per year in
. Underfunded schools rely on parent volunteers. Volunteers staff soup kitchens, homeless shelters and YMCA tutoring programs. Our entire system of democracy counts on volunteers at the voting stations! America
The whole experience made me thankful that there are so many opportunities to get involved and so many passionate people who do just that.