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Dina McBride: A journey worth taking

Local tennis pro recovers from injury and wins national tournament

Posted: December 24, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: December 24, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Local tennis pro Dina McBride, 41, won the United States Tennis Association 40s Hard Court National Championship tournament earlier this month. Local tennis pro Dina McBride, 41, won the United States Tennis Association 40s Hard Court National Championship tournament earlier this month.
Local tennis pro Dina McBride, 41, won the United States Tennis Association 40s Hard Court National Championship tournament earlier this month.

When Dina McBride stepped on the court at the United State Tennis Association 40s Hard Court National Championships earlier this month, it was hard to imagine she had suffered a gruesome injury in the same tournament just a year before.

In fact, after tearing her Achilles’ Heel in the finals, McBride had not entered a competitive tournament until returning Nov. 26.

“I was in a cast and crutches for two months and I started teaching in a boot,” said McBride, 41, who teaches children and adults at The Paseo Club in Valencia. “I went to therapy and I was like, ‘I’m going to try. I’m going to play the tournament again and I ended up taking the first couple rounds and feeling my game was back.”

That feeling led her back to the championship match, where things went in a radically different direction that last season.

McBride defeated Ros Nideffer 7-5, 6-2 to take home the title.

“The impressive thing is, the girl liked pace too,” says husband Desi McBride. “Dina had to play a different style to beat the girl and that’s impressive to me, because when you’re playing a lot you can vary. But when you’re not playing a lot, you don’t know what’s going to happen and she played really well.”

Success is nothing new for Dina McBride.

She didn’t get into tennis until the age of 12, but from there things took off.

“I played all other sports up until that point and my dad knew a person who played tennis,” McBride says. “I really wanted to get into it and my dad got me into tennis and I fell in love with it.”

In high school, as a junior she was ranked in the top 10 in Southern California and received a scholarship to play tennis at the University of New Mexico, before taking time off after her freshman year to play on the satellite circuit.

A year and a half later, McBride went back to school, this time starring on the court at the University of San Diego.

Then, while still playing competitively, she decided to spread her knowledge through teaching the game she loves.

Through a friend, McBride found herself teaching tennis at the Calabasas Tennis and Swim Club, where she eventually met her husband Desi, the club’s director.

“I tell this story all the time,” Desi says. “When we first started teaching together she would teach these kids and they would give her a hug before they left. I was shocked. I’d never seen a coach get a hug before. She makes you work hard, but she makes it really funny.”

That journey eventually took the pair to Santa Clarita, when Desi and his business partner decided to open The Paseo Club in Valencia.

“It was definitely new and there was not a place that was like The Paseo Club out here,” Dina says. “But it was a place that I knew people wanted. They wanted a family place with tennis where the whole family could go and enjoy.”

One of those families is Dina’s own.

The McBrides have three children, and Dina says they’re all into tennis.

“My kids, they have two choices,” Dina jokes. “Dad or me. They’re in the program here at the club and they get to get other advice from the other pros at the club. That’s all they know is Paseo Club since they’ve been born.”

As one of the pros at the club, Dina could be seen teaching tennis lessons in a walking boot after her injury in December 2011.

“I was stroking the ball in the boot. That was after two months,” she says. “I had a big boot. I was still teaching and moving around on one foot. About three-and-a-half months, I felt like it will take time, my full strength wasn’t there but I felt I could put pressure on it.”

And in the meantime, she continued teaching.

She teaches mostly adults during the morning hours, but also has a handful of younger students between 4 and 12 years old.

“I wouldn’t say (I like) one more than the other” between playing and teaching, she says. “But I love competing and it keeps me sharp for teaching. It brings things back that people forget when they don’t play. But I love helping people, teaching people who don’t know how to play or didn’t play for a long time, and helping their game.”


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