Person zassoda mug.jpg

Marie Zassoda is a professional tennis instructor for the Gardendale Parks and Recreation Department.

How did you get interested in tennis?

I moved to Gardendale 10 years ago from Tennessee, and I started helping with the junior tennis program. I’ve always played. I used to play with my dad a lot; he’s 70 now and he still plays. As a matter of fact, I just got back from visiting him in Florida, and we played at the club. I never played on a team when I was young, but I played so much that I was able to be a walk-on player for the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Do you like your job?

I like working in Gardendale because I feel like the city emphasizes the importance of sports for youth. It’s a good outlet for kids. There’s a lot of broken families and issues at home, and sports can offer another realm away from those negative energies. We can get them in touch with positive coaches. Something I really like about my job is I get to bring families out to the court that normally wouldn’t even think about playing tennis. These families have all made great friends. It’s a neat sport, and everybody can do it.

Do you have any kids? Do they play tennis?

I’m a single mom with four teenagers. They all play tennis recreationally, but they’ve also each got their own sport that’s their favorite—two of my boys play baseball, and one of my daughters plays volleyball—and I’m glad I’ve encouraged a love of sports in them.

How did you get interested in tennis?

I moved to Gardendale 10 years ago from Tennessee, and I started helping with the junior tennis program. I’ve always played. I used to play with my dad a lot; he’s 70 now and he still plays. As a matter of fact, I just got back from visiting him in Florida, and we played at the club. I never played on a team when I was young, but I played so much that I was able to be a walk-on player for the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Do you like your job?

I like working in Gardendale because I feel like the city emphasizes the importance of sports for youth. It’s a good outlet for kids. There’s a lot of broken families and issues at home, and sports can offer another realm away from those negative energies. We can get them in touch with positive coaches. Something I really like about my job is I get to bring families out to the court that normally wouldn’t even think about playing tennis. These families have all made great friends. It’s a neat sport, and everybody can do it.

Do you have any kids? Do they play tennis?

I’m a single mom with four teenagers. They all play tennis recreationally, but they’ve also each got their own sport that’s their favorite—two of my boys play baseball, and one of my daughters plays volleyball—and I’m glad I’ve encouraged a love of sports in them.

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