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By HARVEY ROSEN Let’s face it. Virtually most of us perceive, or at least imagine ourselves to be, at various stages of our lives, the underdog in that chancy game of life.


That is why, coincidentally, most of us have an almost innate tendency to root for teams or individuals who against all odds are least likely to succeed in their quests for victory.

The logic being that it is far easier for us to relate to the underdog than it is to favour the top dog. The aforementioned reality occurred to me after I was put in touch with a young man in his early twenties who appears to have all that it takes to become a top pro tennis player, but despite his high IQ, enviable work ethic, and impressive skill set, he is encountering a hopefully surmountable commonplace obstacle.
More to the point, Saul Shrom, shared with me that he is an aspiring Jewish professional tennis player from Winnipeg. “I attended the Gray Academy and upon graduation travelled to Southern Colorado University in Pueblo on a scholarship to play college tennis for four years. (After that) I decided to start my own professional career this past June. The past several months I have travelled all over the world playing professional tournaments and trying to make a name for myself.”

How well did my subject perform? The record shows that while Saul was south of the border, he played the number one singles and doubles positions, led the team in wins in three out of four years and was the team captain for his final two. Shrom was ranked 14th in Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s South Central Region in 2014 and beat numerous nationally ranked singles and doubles opponents.
“Besides the challenges that I endure on the court, in practice, and in the gym, I have found that one of the toughest challenges is the financial component of playing pro. At the top of the sport, on the ATP Tour (Association of Tennis Professionals), there is no shortage of prize money; however at the lower levels of pro tennis, the prize money is minimal and the costs to travel to these locations are astronomical.
“I am (presently) in the middle of taking many steps to preserve my career by attempting to find some sources of funding. I have made my own personal webpage which allows people to follow my journey through my blog and a lot of other valuable information. As well there is a page there that allows people to give donations online. My plans include heading to Israel in March to compete for a month and to continue beyond that throughout Europe and North America in support of World Ranking points.”
Sounds like a cliché, but Saul’s accomplishments thus far are too numerous to mention, but in Manitoba he has won six championships and in US competition, he made the All American Athletic First Team, was Pueblo Male Scholar Athlete, won the Men’s Tennis Summit Award for having the highest GPA (grade point average) 3.98 out of 4.00. and many more.

On a personal level, Saul’s parents are David and Jerry and sisters are Lainey, 27, and Yael, 25, Dad plays a bit of tennis, but mainly swims, cycles, runs and used to compete in triathlons. Lainey played high school volleyball and basketball.
How did young Shrom come to choose tennis as his sport of choice? “When I was between seven and ten, I played hockey, basketball, baseball and soccer. At 10, I started to play tennis as well. Over the next year, it became obvious that tennis and hockey became my main sports.
“When I was 11, my parents and I decided that there was more opportunity for me in a sport like tennis to get a college scholarship and be able to travel and compete at a high level. From that point it was all tennis.”

As for his game, Shrom mentioned that his tennis strengths are his backhand, crosscourt forehand, and his fitness. “I take great pride in my work in the gym and feel like I can outlast a lot of my opponents by maintaining my level throughout the match no matter how long it is.
“As far as areas I have to work on, my movement is at the top of the list.
Throughout my junior and college career, I felt like I moved pretty well, However, now that I am playing on the pro circuit, I have realized that I need to move foreword into the ball more to reduce my opponent’s time. I must use more stances as a way to create more natural power.
“I have been working very hard on that. As well, I have been working on my second serve and my mental game, as there is a lot that is decided in matches that doesn’t have to do with hitting the ball. As well I have been working on my second serve and my mental game as there is a lot that is decided in matches that doesn’t have to do with hitting the ball,” said Shrom who has a double major in Psychology and Criminology that he’d like to put into practice when his touring days are over.

The candid Shrom, who has thus far handled himself like a pro at all levels on tennis courts everywhere, is now taking on what appears to be an even more formidable foe: ”I am having trouble with the financial side now and it looks like my journey may have to stop only seven months in.
“My own personal webpage is saulshromtennis.weebly.com Feel free to look at my sponsorship options. If you have any questions or even other ideas about a sponsorship, please feel free to email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. I am open to all offers as I am trying to prolong my journey to pursue my dream. On it, you can follow my blog, learn more about the pro circuit, donate money to help offset the costs of the ever-so-expensive journey of a pro tennis player .

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Call for Nominations for the Rady JCC “Y” Sports Dinner’s 2015 Jewish Athlete of the Year
The Rady Jewish Community Centre Sports Dinner Committee is now accepting nominations for the 2015 Max & Idy Nusgart Memorial Jewish Athlete of the Year award.
This annual award will be presented at the 43rd Rady JCC Sports Dinner, Thursday, May 7th, 2015 at the RBC Winnipeg Convention Centre featuring Guest Speaker, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
The award is open to all athletes competing at the high school, provincial, national or international level. Please include with the nominations letter, a short summary of the athlete’s sports accomplishments over the past 12-18 months, with their name, address, phone number and all contact information. Nominations can be submitted by the athlete, their parents and or coaches or their sports organization.
Please send all nominations to the attention of Maegan Piltzmaker, “Y” Sports Dinner Jewish Athlete of the Year Selection Committee, c/o the Rady Jewish Community Centre, 123 Doncaster Street, Winnipeg, MB R3N 2B3. Nominations can also be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Deadline for all nominations is: Monday, March 2, 2015