Being an avid tennis player and a member of the Steamboat tennis community, I am thrilled with the news that there has been an amicable resolution to the recent turmoil at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs. I have been, and remain, a big fan of all parties involved. John Aragon and Don Toy clearly are beloved by our community, and throughout many years, they have worked to serve the community and our youths. The outcry about their dismissal shows just how much they are loved and embraced by all those they touch.
However, I am dismayed by the lack of civility displayed by some of those involved. The personal attacks on Jim Swiggart and his family, and the ugliness displayed by some of the parties involved, played to the worst instincts of our community. Additionally, I think the recent online poll run by the Steamboat Today was ill-conceived and only added to the discord. Swiggart has been a tennis professional for some 40 years and a member of our community for more than 20 years. He knows the game of tennis intimately and knows the intricacies of running a tennis center. Anyone who knows the finances related to the operation of the Tennis Center knows that Swiggart’s main motivation for taking on the role of concessionaire is not monetary but love of the game and community.
Additionally, what has been lost in this debate is the fact that for the past 20 years, Swiggart has worked tirelessly to benefit our community (he has served as president of the Ski Town USA Rotary Club, as a board member of the Healthcare Foundation for the Yampa Valley, co-creator of the Ski Town Golf Classic that has raised more than $500,000 for local nonprofits and the Rotary Club, etc.). The Swiggart family played an integral part in bringing tennis to Steamboat, has contributed tens of thousands of dollars toward the creation and improvement of the Tennis Center and has invested more than $100,000 of its own funds to improve this city-owned facility. All of this culminated in the Tennis Center being recognized as one of the finest public tennis centers in the nation.
Again, I am thrilled that Aragon and Toy are back and the turmoil that embroiled our community is over. I do not fault those who vociferously advocated for Aragon and Toy, and I think many of their voices facilitated the resolution of this issue. I would just hope that in the future, our citizens keep an eye to bringing respectful and civil discourse to our community’s issues and avoid the ugliness.