Fort Benning, Columbus, GA
March 26, 2016
Saturday morning arrived with temperatures in the low 60’s, overcast and not too pleasant. The decision to move the event indoors was a no- brainer, so we set up the mini nets and low compression balls in the Youth Sports Gymnasium on base.
We were lucky enough to have great pro volunteers in Tommy Wade and Kent Gardner all the way from Tuscaloosa, Mark Wirth, Ty Fuller, John Farmer and of course, JoAnne Russell. Dorrie Wagner was the CYSS Sports Director and as well as the on base coordinator for the event. What an incredible job she did! Between clinics she arranged for pizza and drinks- even though it wasn’t very warm, everyone was hungry and thirsty.
This was our first event at Benning and as usual, the participants were enthusiastic as well as eager to learn the basics of tennis.
The clinics were broken down as follows: the 4-7 year olds, the pre- teen clinic, 8-12, the junior clinic, ages 13-17 year old, as well as the adult clinic for ages 19 and up. We had a grand total of about 70 participants.
The largest group of sign-ups is usually the smallest kids and at Benning it was no different. We had the entire floor of the gym covered in low compression balls, red and yellow, orange and yellow, and wall to wall mini nets. I still believe that despite the fun the kids have playing tennis games, they love picking up the balls with the tennis tubes more than anything. Go figure!
The smallest number of participants is historically the teenage group….no surprise there to parents of teenagers! It’s always a challenge to get teenagers involved in anything, but the group at Benning came ready to learn and play. One kid even told us that she was going to get some group and private lessons in order to try out for her team next year- we love hearing things like that!
Tommy Wade had the adults running, jumping, hitting and diving all over the hard wood floors of the gym. His theory is simply that anyone can learn the game at any given time in their lives and he’s only happy to help in the process. He would still be out there teaching, had we not dragged him off!
Thank you to Wayne Chastian, CYSS Sports Assistant Director. He was instrumental in helping set up and take down- always an important part of any event.
Testimonials from some happy participants:
“All of the coaches brought so much enthusiasm to the clinics. They seemed to enjoy being here which made it fun for the participants and observers. Thank you for having us!”
“This was an awesome experience for my three girls. They enjoyed every minute. Thank you guys so much!”
“Well organized. Fun for the kids. Thank you!”
We look forward to hopefully returning to Benning next year, where the weather will no doubt be so much better!
Thanks to ALL!