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Lightman, who, by an odd twist of fate, is the 2021 President of the CAI-NJ chapter. The entire Board of Directors, including our Immediate Past President, Greg Malaska, who was not only thrust into service as President last year but also did his best to lead through a pandemic with grace and aplomb. Greg deserves an enormous amount of credit for shepherding the chapter through last year as well as a pina colada at Trader Vic’s. And yes, only Greg (and maybe a few other folks) will get that reference, but it’s my column, after all, and he certainly deserves it.


Special thanks to two past CAI presidents. Denise Becker, 2017 President of the CAI-NJ chapter and fellow Grateful Dead enthusiast, and now Past-Past President, Cathleen Dunn. Cathy, I will miss your sense of humor and your dedication to the Board, but most of all, I will miss texting you to remind you that we are all waiting for you on the Zoom call. And thanks to one future CAI president, Nicole Skaro. I can honestly say that no volunteer puts more work into this chapter as Nicole, and it will be my utmost pleasure to hand over this position to her after my year is up.


And last, but certainly not least, thanks to our fantastic CAI staff – Michael Shaw, Gabrielle Grimes, Denise Lawlor, and el jefe himself, Anthony C. Campisi. It goes without saying but we would not have survived 2020 without the work of Tony and the staff and their being able to pivot almost seamlessly to virtual events to keep the chapter moving forward. And I sincerely hope that everyone reading this was able to see the video that the staff and chapter volunteers put together for this past December’s annual meeting, which really did a fantastic job expressing how we feel about the chapter, our staff, and our Chapter Executive Director.


If I may, I’m going to use future columns to discuss things that I’ve learned or that I think are of interest to our members rather than to tout the chapter’s upcoming events. Quite frankly, I’m not the best hype man, so I’ll leave promoting the chapter events to the professionals. Plus, Tony, Mike, Gabby, and Denise do a great job and don’t need my help in that area.


So that’s it… that’s the first column. Thank you all for being here and for being members of our chapter. Here’s to a few more months of virtual events. Here’s to (fingers crossed) being able to hold our annual conference and expo in person in June and getting back to “normal” by the end of the year. Here’s to vaccines. Here’s to vinyl records and Zoom meetings and Richie Ashburn foul balls. And most importantly, with apologies to Ray Davies, here’s to better things in 2021.


www.cai-padelval.org 9


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