On September 7, M1-5 Lounge was transformed from a swank TriBeCa club to 1970s Forest Hills, as the Kings County Tennis League (KCTL) held court to honor its players, revere in its 7th year and laud its future.
The Retro Racquet Bash -- KCTL's annual 1970s tennis gala -- drew more than 200 guests from the ranks of volunteers, parents and KCTL fans to drink, eat, try their best to look like Bjorn Brig and watch the women's U.S. Open Semifinal. While following Sloane Stephens -- previously ranked No. 973 in the world -- make quick work of No. 3 Venus Williams, KCTL fans dreamed of sending their charges to Flushing someday.
"With your help, we have had an amazingly successful year," said Michael McCasland, the founder and president of KCTL, before listing off the programs launched, courts restored and students reached, including two who earned scholarships to training academies. "We're not stopping until every kid in our neighborhoods has access to tennis."
Highlights of the night were in high supply -- as vintage racquets were passed around for a variety of creative party photos -- but many would say that hearing KCTL student-turned-volunteer Brandon Otero tell the story of how he came to KCTL and learned tennis marked the upmost point of the evening. Otero now attends the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), where he studies Business Administration.
In addition to Otero, McCasland and Board Chair, Adam Stolz honored volunteers of the year, Chase Altneu, Ephraim Kirkwood and Krystal Atwater with hand-framed photographs of the KCTL teams. District 36 City Councilor Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., who represents Bedford Stuyvesant and northern Crown Heights, also received an award for his involvement with the court renovation and other KCTL projects.
In 2017, KCTL reached 195 children, up 18 percent from 2016, and trained 126 volunteers. up 14 percent from 2016. It has expanded to a comprehensive year-round program, formed Upswing, an enrichment program for our most talented and dedicated students, and introduced an all-girls tennis clinic called Go Girl Go! to foster self-confidence and a passion for physical activity among female students
Below are a few photos from the event. To order or view more, check out KCTL's Facebook Page!