Coming to the close of the first match weekend of Summer Junior Team Tennis and on the eve of so many great Summer Camps beginning in Memphis and the Mid-South ... summer feels officially here! There are so many amazing folks doing amazing things for our amazing city's amazing kids. This story written by the adoring daughter of Coach Kent is a must read. I'm inspired on a daily basis by the dedication and heartfelt commitment I see from our coaches - and in this instance also their families - to serving our great community through the sport of tennis. It's more than a game. Through tennis, our youth develop valuable life skills. They learn the value of working hard, dreaming big and bearing fruit. Virtues such as integrity, work ethic, commitment, courage, fairness, graciousness ... they are demonstrated and cultivated. Coaches play such a tremendous role in the lives of our children, and contribute to their roots and wings. Here's to all who teach, encourage, instruct, mentor, praise, influence, guide and inspire! I thank them all for their heartfelt work, and wish each one a wonderful first week of Summer Camp! And to all the excited kids looking forward to hitting the courts tomorrow, remember to hug a coach this week and say thanks for being awesome!
(If you haven't signed up for a camp yet, it's not too late! See the Junior Development & Summer Camp tab :)
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to experience the excitement of the 2016 Memphis Open ATP men's tournament here in Memphis! It was especially wonderful to get to see it through the children's eyes. From their on-court experiences at Leftwich Tennis Center led by a number of our city's amazing teaching professionals and USTA TN staff to their interaction with ATP professionals once they arrived at The Racquet Club of Memphis, their experience at the Memphis Open Student Days will not soon be forgotten. Not by the children nor by the adults who teamed up to make the experience so awesome! Over 140 elementary and middle school children from 7 different schools participated in Student Days. The kids challenged the pros with some terrific questions, and the answers given were thoughtful and inspiring. Questions about physical training, smart nutrition, mental stamina, challenges, world travel and of course, "Could you beat Serena Williams?" Answered with discipline, balance, perseverance, hard work, commitment, priorities and of course, "Why, yes I could!" Very cool to see the bright eyes and light bulb moments for the kids when they realized, "This is real! This could totally be me someday!" Grateful to all who demonstrate to kids everyday that dreams can and do become reality. Thanks, Memphis Open, for bringing back the love and serving our city well! Can't wait for next year! #loveall
Summer is almost here, and tennis offers great opportunities for families to "play together." I have fond memories as a kid of going to Holiday Surf and Racquet near what so many call "Memphis' beach," Destin, Florida. At a destination a little closer to home, fun memories surface of big family times and a little tennis at Pin Oak Lodge in Natchez Trace State Park, one of the lovely state parks in our great state of Tennessee. Even closer to home, heading up to a neighborhood park to hit the ball around was always fun. Parents who play often introduce their children to tennis, but just as often, I see its their children who are introducing them to this great family game. Either way, it's a fun, healthy way for families to enjoy time together and make great memories in the busy times in which we live. Whether it's taking a vacation or biking up the street to your neighborhood tennis courts, I'd encourage families to make and take the time to play together. Here's a great story shared from Anthony Jackson and his sister Lia Jackson Moeser on their great experiences growing up playing as a family...it's an inspiring, encouraging read! Looking forward to seeing you - and your family - on the courts this summer!
The mission of the USTA Foundation is "to bring tennis and education together to change lives." Changing lives for the better, working to make dreams realities, and truly making a difference in the lives of our youth all define "love all." Arthur Ashe not only believed this but lived it. He was passionate not only about tennis, but about serving young players. He worked to create for them resources that would allow them to develop important life skills, enhance their character, train them as leaders and encourage academic excellence. One of his many legacies is NJTL, the National Junior Tennis & Learning network. The 2015 Arthur Ashe Essay Contest is now open! Encourage your junior player to take part in this! It will broaden their horizons, expand their creativity, further develop their writing skills and allow them to be a part of something awesome. In recent years, kids who've won received a trip to New York City that included attending Arthur Ashe Kids' Day at the U.S. Open, attend a professional sporting event, see a Broadway show and receive a special award at a luncheon held in their honor. How cool is that?! To see the rules for entry and deadlines for the 2015 contest, click here. This is a great opportunity for NJTL kids to showcase their talents and express themselves in a positive way.
Hi, like you, I'm a supporter of tennis. I'm invested in it. I believe in its positive impact. I've experienced its benefits on-court and off-court firsthand. I personally began playing regularly at the "ripe" young age of 40. As a kid, I'd hit against the wall of our house from the driveway (doing my best to avoid my mother's kitchen sink window). I'd watched my mother have great fun on the courts with her friends. Fast forward now to my own child playing - what a joy and blessing it is to share in her journey and the journey of so many of our community's youth. It's what it's all about...FUN, LEARNING, GROWING, SHARING & SERVING. More to come about the journey of LOVE ALL.