USTA captain Lori Baran has a simple approach to captaining her teams: Everyone plays.
“The toughest thing on a lot of captains is that everyone wants to play, and sometimes captains are trying to think about who goes where and who plays when,” said Baron, who lives in Pittsburgh. “It’s always tough to balance playing your best players and getting others playing time. Instead, I just like everyone being able to play. I have faith in everyone on my teams.”
Baron, who has been playing tennis since she was 5, competes at the 4.5 level in the Allegheny Mountain District. This year, her team qualified for USTA League Tennis Section Championships in Middle States, where they competed for three days in Princeton, N.J.
For Baron, the best part about leagues isn’t the winning. After great experiences with both high school and college tennis, it’s always been about being on a team and spending time with her friends.
“I always love being part of a team,” she said. “In high school and college I was on teams, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Originally from the Pittsburgh area, Baran lived in San Diego for several years and enjoyed competing in World TeamTennis rec leagues. She also played in mixed leagues while living on the west coast before moving back to western Pa.
These days, Baran plays at Mt. Lebanon Tennis Center with her friends and teammates. Both of her kids play tennis, and no matter what, she expects she’ll be playing for as long as she can imagine.
“I love playing singles, I love playing doubles,” she said. “Whatever I need to do, I’m happy with that. I usually play doubles so I can play with different ladies on the team. But I play however I’m needed. I just want to be out there.”