A cardio tennis program at Nelson McIntyre Collegiate is the latest initiative by Brian Pound, the longtime tennis convener at Norwood Community Centre. The classes are for adults of all skill levels. Cost is $80 for the eight-week program, held Fridays from 6:15-7:30 pm starting January 19, 2018 (to register, contact Brian at bripou@shaw.ca).

“I’ve created a partnership between the school and the community club,” Pound said. “The school does events in here (Norwood CC).”

Pound developed his tennis game in Melbourne, Australia, taking up the sport at age eight and playing many tournaments.

“Australians were on top of the tennis world in the ‘60s and ‘70s, so there was more of a tradition to play tennis,” said Pound.

His parents were tennis players as was his brother, who now coaches the sport in Delaware.

“Tennis is in my family for sure,” Pound said.

Pound went to the Australian Open every year while growing up in Melbourne.

“I saw Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe when I was 12 years old,” he recalled. “I saw all the players in the ‘80s. I saw (Ivan) Lendl, (Stefan) Edberg, (Steffi) Graf, (Mats) Wilander, (Pat) Cash – all those players.”

Pound started coaching in Melbourne at age 17. When he was 18 he spent six months coaching in Philadelphia.

In 1992, Pound moved from Australia to Winnipeg.

“I was travelling in Europe and I met my wife, who is from Winnipeg,” he said.

Pound continued his coaching when he arrived in Winnipeg: he worked for Mario Trstenjak at Taylor Tennis Club for two years and worked for Evan Mancer at Winnipeg Lawn Tennis Club. Pound coached Sean Lacap for a couple of years and served as a coach for Manitoba at junior nationals.

The tennis courts at Norwood Community Centre were shale and in poor condition when Pound came to Winnipeg. He showed up to a board meeting at Norwood CC unannounced about a year or two after buying a house in the area and asked what the plans were for the tennis courts. He was told the community centre wanted to put in a hard court surface but needed someone to raise the money.

“It was just good timing,” Pound remembered. “I said, ‘I’m here, I can do that.’ Then I became a board member.”

Pound raised $100,000 in grants over two years for the courts at Norwood CC, including grants from the GCWCC (General Council of Winnipeg Community Centres) and the Province of Manitoba. He also raised money through bingos and socials.

About nine years ago Pound was named Community Champion for all of Canada by Tennis Canada. With the award came funding from Tennis Canada for three or four years. Pound used the funding to purchase racquets and he taught free clinics in schools in the Louis Riel School Division. Many of those kids then started playing tennis at Norwood CC.

“We had an overflow of kids,” Pound said.

Some of the tennis programs he has started over the years at Norwood CC include a free teen tennis program, a free ladies’ program, junior camps, Little Champs programs and a wheelchair program.

“I’ve always liked coaching,” said Pound, who was named volunteer of the year for the Norwood Flats community in 2013. “I always had good coaches so I learned from them.”