Talking Sport and Fitness with Zeke | Meet Larry Zerbe
When Larry Zerbe took over as director of the COR (City of Reading) Tennis Program in 2006, his vision was to expose city kids, most of whom would be picking up a racket for the first time, to the game of tennis. Zerbe tells Zeke that there originally had been some consideration given to limiting COR to city kids, but the lure of tennis, high-quality instruction, top-notch competition, and fun attracted more and more suburban kids and eventually every school district in the county was coming to the program. Zerbe, who grew up in the Oakbrook housing project and now is the Alvernia University tennis coach, tells Zeke that COR has helped break down barriers and turned the program into a melting pot – with tennis the common denominator fostering a connection between kids from different worlds. The kids come to COR for the tennis but leave with an appreciation and awareness that serves them for a lifetime. The remarkable thing about COR bridging social gaps is that tennis traditionally discriminates fiscally and culturally. Zerbe tells Zeke that he and his COR staff also offer adult classes. As for tennis, COR has produced a number of outstanding scholastic and collegiate players through its summer and winter programs. Zerbe tells Zeke that the COR program receives support from the Reading Recreation Department, Fromuth Tennis and the United States Tennis Association. The connections Zerbe has made with the USTA enables COR to send kids to the U.S. Open and Philadelphia Freedom matches.