What a great start to the 2015 Kings County Tennis League (KCTL) season this past Saturday. Bringing tennis to the kids, as our motto goes. KCTL now operates programs in five Brooklyn communities in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. I stopped by Marcy Playground for opening day to experience the program first hand. What an uplifting experience it was.

marcy-opener-2015-student

marcy-opener-2015-student

The weather was perfect, turnout was high and the court was full of smiling faces. Some were new and others were returning for another year of the program. And the volunteers were as upbeat and enthusiastic as ever. (We have the best volunteers in the New York, hands down!)

The highlight for me was meeting the mother of a girl who has joined the program this year. We chatted while she watched the activities and cheered her daughter on. Her daughter had shown an interest in learning tennis last year, but the season was already nearing an end. She made sure to get registered early to take part this season.

I learned that her daughter also takes piano lessons and learns ballet. “I want her to be exposed to many different activities. When she gets older she can choose what she prefers, but I want her to have options,” the mother explained. I was more than a little impressed, as I wondered if I was looking at a future tennis pro, breakout musician or ballerina. Or even all three.

The conversation brought me back to the organization’s purpose – to empower youth in Brooklyn to learn tennis as both a healthy activity and also to impart life skills. And as this parent so eloquently explained how she wants her daughter to have options to help her make future life decisions, I was reminded of just how important KCTL is to our local communities. And that in turn inspires me to look for creative new ways to support and expand this important program. If you have ideas, I’d love to hear them. Please let me know at cmcmanus@kingscountytennisleague.org.

Author Chris McManus is a member of the Board of Directors for Kings County Tennis League.