We have some tennis stars in our midst here at the J! 

Mother-daughter duo Nancy and Kira Kaatz are no strangers to the court. They’ve been heavily involved with the JCC Tennis Center for years and their dedication to the craft (and the community) has earned them an exceptional prize this year. 

We’re thrilled to announce that Nancy and Kira are this year’s recipients of the USTA Colorado’s Carter & Lena Elliott Family of the Year Award! 

When asked how they felt about receiving this prestigious award, Nancy shared that they’re both “extremely honored.” She went on to describe ways in which she and her daughter have made a point to give back and contribute to the tennis community any way they can. And let’s just say…their philanthropic contributions to the world of tennis are nothing short of inspiring: 

“For the past nine years, we have been collecting and donating racquets and tennis balls to the USTA Racquets for All program. It was the theme for Kira’s birthday parties beginning with her eighth birthday — “Giving the Gift of Tennis” and “Thinking Outside the Gift Box.” For Kira’s birthday parties, her friends would bring new or used youth tennis racquets instead of presents. A few years ago, we were invited to join the Racquets for All Committee which we happily accepted. Kira was the first (and still is the only) youth member. The only thing we enjoy more than collecting the racquets from generous donors is delivering them to the happy young players and coaches!”  

Their involvement with the community doesn’t stop there. 

For the past ten years, Kira has been a junior member of the JCC Tennis Center. Just this summer, she worked as an instructor at Tennis Camp and as well as at the Front Desk of the Tennis Center. If you’ve reserved a court with the ball machine during one of Kira’s shifts, you’d surely remember receiving a personal note on the machine — she has a way of making sure each JCC Tennis member feels special.  

When asked what they love most about tennis and how it has brought them closer together, Nancy had this to say: 

“We love spending time together and tennis is a fun and active way to spend quality time together. Tennis, like sports in general, teaches so many life lessons. I enjoy watching Kira play competitively and honestly, even enjoy being Chief Ball Picker Upper and Head Ball Machine Operator – haha!” 

As star players (and now award winners!) we thought it was important to ask for any advice they have for those new to the sport. It was quite simple advice, but undoubtedly some of the best we’ve encountered: 

“RULE #1: Have fun!” 

We’re taking that advice to heart next time we grab our racquet and cue up the ball machine, and we hope you do too.  

Congratulations, Nancy and Kira! We are continuously inspired by the work you do for the tennis community.