Written by: Pierre ‘The Bear’ Lamarche
***Pierre Lamarche has been an outspoken proponent of Canadian tennis and how the sport should have a major place in the Canadian sport landscape. He believes this lofty ambition can only be achieved through the combination of success on the international professional competitive scene, with the required domestic infrastructure and a true partnership between Tennis Canada and the tennis private sector.
His comments are often taken as critical by those who feel targeted by his questions. His background as a player, coach, and leader [see background] in the sport and coaching industry warrants that his views, which are shared by many others, be given due process by anyone [or organization] who really wants to help Canadian Tennis achieve the proper national status it deserves in the sport community.***
Taking the high road is the right way. Not responding to criticism is a way to deal with people who have opinions that are different than yours. Of course, it is the preferred way of politics and businesses, who have experts showing them how to deal with public perception. This way of doing business applies to whether the accusations are real or not.
When we developed ONcourt it was to create a vehicle where opinions could be put forth. We have put forth our own editorials which questioned Tennis Canada’s policies in player development. We owned up to our opinions which certainly did not endear me to people working for organizations responsible for these specific policies, but whenever responses formal or informal were offered ,they were turned into a personal slant rather than a rational one:
“You know Lamarche he is not happy with anything anybody else does”
“You know the way he is” “You know he does things only for himself”
And so on, “not” maybe you have a point. Let’s talk and see if we can make the system better.
I will say it again: “I think Tennis Canada is one of the best sport organizations in this country, I just think that their development policies are discriminatory toward individuals who are not selected for their teams or who opt out of their system, as well as towards families of limited financial means”. I also believe that their policies are not conducive to getting the most out of their farm systems, the year round clubs or their people in charge of the farms [the coaches]. I believe more needs to be done to develop the infrastructure [more clubs] and programs which recruit more players, not only better ones.
My beef with Ontario Tennis is that; Ontario players and year round clubs are ones most affected by the Tennis Canada development policies. These policies are not really actively challenged in return for subsidies from Tennis Canada. My comments are not personal although many try to make them so. I certainly, privately, have opinions about the way certain people in these organizations conduct business, and I certainly let them know. That is my way, straight up, like it or leave it, but I will own up to what I say.
The recent comments on the Astra/ACE partnership from someone named Michael did touch a nerve, especially when he referred to people who I have the greatest respect for. As a result I offered Michael to own up to his comments by providing us with an article, which would detail his accusations. The only caveat was that he would provide his name, photo and tennis CV. As of today, Michael has taken the high road and has not answered our offer. It is for you to decide on the validity of his accusations. For me, once again I have taken the road less travelled [or recommended] and challenged him in the open. My daughter told me at dinner last night that I went against the recommended protocol where she works, but then she said: “But dad, you are the Bear”.
To see the interaction with Michael and others from this past please click here.