SBJ/Aug. 25-31, 2014/People and Pop Culture

What I Like: Greg Mason, Tennis Industry Association

PROFESSIONAL

What I like …

Photo by: HEAD PENN
An insight: Never cut and paste. There is always a way to improve on the current status.

An influential person in my career: My dad, who was a retailer with a high school education and showed me what hard work and competitiveness was all about.

An out-of-the-box idea: An industry of competitors coming together and checking their logos at the door to build a sustainable growing business around a game — the origination of the Tennis Industry Association was just that.

A business deal: Larry Ellison investing in the Indian Wells tournament. They have taken the event to an entirely new level.

GREG MASON
President, Tennis Industry Association; senior vice president, Head Penn Racquet Sports

Where I’m from: Hometown of Peoria, Ill.; currently living in Phoenix.

Where I Went to School: Augustana College, Rock Island, Ill.; B.S. in humanities and English/mass communication.

My First Job: Busboy at Peoria’s First Pancake House, Peoria, Ill.

A sports facility: I love Arthur Ashe Stadium and all it stands for, although Fenway Park is magical.

A sports event: Boston Marathon. After having run it seven times, there is nothing like making the turn onto Boylston Street and seeing the finish line — the energy is incredible.

A hire: Mark Hollis as AD at Michigan State. Has had more innovative ideas in sports — outdoor hockey was his brainchild, basketball on an aircraft carrier with the president watching, really???

A trend: Public realization that kids’ sports need to be more than just a path to a scholarship or a professional career and we need to engage kids in activities for life.
Mason and daughter Emily after a Warrior Dash.
Photo: COURTESY OF GREG MASON

An innovation: Nonbranded website Playtennis.com, which is becoming the portal for all elements of the game: find a court, find a partner, find a program, find a retailer.

A pro league or team business initiative: A roof on Arthur Ashe — finally!

A story that bears watching: Obesity of America’s youth and the impact it will have on every facet of American life as they grow up and face challenges associated with the issue from lifespan to medical issues, etc.

Arthur Ashe Stadium
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
An idea or invention I wish I had thought of: Post-it notes.


What I like about …

My job: It’s tennis, so I don’t have to go to North Dakota in January. Seriously, the people I get to interact with every day.

Sports business: The intensity of industry members because in most cases it’s their business AND their hobby.

Sports media: “Mike and Mike in the Morning” is always a great way to drive in.

Competing: It’s the key to success. Caring enough to prepare so well that even if you lose, you’ve brought the best you have.

Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
Sports fans: Caring enough to stay till the end of the match/game/event.


What I would like to …

Change: The guy that always seems to be standing behind me in the airport that apparently feels I want to listen to his side of his cellphone call.

Change in what I do: A few less miles in the air.

See more of in sports: Energy that U.S. Soccer brought us this summer during the World Cup.

See less of in sports: Arrests.

Eliminate: Short-term thinking.


What I don’t like …

In general: Gum chewing. Drives me crazy, just ask my kids.

In sports: Athletes not remembering that paying fans are the reason they are making the money they are.

In business: The glut of emails sent that serve no real purpose and waste everyone’s time.

About sports fans: A failure to realize it’s a sport and not war. There are things to fight over, but the color of a jersey isn’t one of them.


PERSONAL

What I like …

People: That really do listen.

That would surprise those who know me: I enjoy a cigar by the pool every so often.

Above all else: Nothing like spending time with my wife and three girls driving down the road and hearing them singing a song. Based on my voice I stay quiet, though. I didn’t make the von Trapp family cut.

Hero: My 91-year-old mother, who radiates kindness and all that is good about the human race.

Player: Going old school with Hank Aaron.

Team: Red Sox — been a great last 10 years.

City: Phoenix. If you can get by the heat of summer, the rest of the year is tough to beat.

Possession: An item from each of my three daughters that they gave me when they were young, which I carry with me in my briefcase on every trip.

Memento: The business card my wife gave me when we met the first time. Still have it 24 years later.

Time of year: Fall-spring: Early morning coffee on the back porch with a newspaper wearing shorts and a sweat top is the best part of the day.

Music: Music with some feeling — Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, John Hiatt, B.B. King.

Books: “The Power of Full Engagement,” by my friend Jim Loehr [and Tony Schwartz], and “Blue Ocean Strategy,” by Kim and Mauborgne. Many of my friends have been given both of them as gifts.

Authors: Jim Collins, Malcolm Gladwell or relaxing with James Patterson or Jeffrey Archer.

Gadget: Portable power pack. My devices seem to always be running on empty.

App: Songza — love the option of picking music by what I’m doing and having a playlist ready to roll.

Chore: Cleaning the garage. Organization feels good when it’s achieved.

Hobbies: Hitting the tennis ball back and forth with my daughter or alternatively getting out for a long run or bike ride.

Movies: “Dead Poets Society,” “Cool Hand Luke,” “The Shawshank Redemption.”

Artist: Love great photography, an underappreciated art form.

Food: Avanti’s restaurant in Peoria, Ill. Gondola sandwiches bring back a lot of memories.

Drink: Diet Mountain Dew — an easy boost on long days.

Vacation spots: Sitting lakeside in northern Michigan in the summer.

Cars: Not a car guy. As long as it starts and has a radio, I’m good.

Singer: Jack Johnson.

Quote: “Nobody has to believe what you say, but everyone has to believe what you do.”

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