A Perspective on the Angel City Games

Before the Angel City Games, I thought I had seen it all.

As a tennis coach for six years in Philadelphia – the City of Brotherly Love – I have worked with kids ranging from 4 to 14 years old. However, on a picture perfect day on the campus of UCLA last month, feeding tennis balls to participants of the Angel City Games introduced me to a whole other world of tennis: Wheelchair Tennis.

Around 40 players participated in the Angel City Games Wheelchair Tennis Clinic at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. As I walked onto the court, excited for the new experience but admittedly a little anxious, I was greeted with an array of smiles from all participants in the clinic. Even though I was temporarily saddened to see the physical disabilities of these participants, many of them much younger than myself, their excitement and enthusiasm to get on the court and hit some tennis balls helped me to get focused and provide the best instruction.

As these players fanned out across three courts under the watchful eye of SCTA staff and Angel City Games volunteers, I began feeding balls by hand toward the opposite service line, as participants waited a few feet behind the line, eager to charge forward and hit through the ball with full, hearty swings. Depth and angle were not a problem, as these athletes were placing their shots not just in front of the baseline, but also deep into the corners. After thirty minutes, the players wanted to be pushed harder. They liked the challenge, and they were very much up to it.

Now, players were instructed to start at the baseline. They would hit a total of three balls: one at the baseline, one at the service line, and the last at the net. Once again, every player proved he or she could handle the new drill. Many people stated that this was there first time playing tennis, which was surprising considering the abilities they brought to the court.

After an hour and fifteen minutes of feeding tennis balls, I migrated towards the back of the court to help pick up tennis balls, allowing participants to hit nonstop for the duration of the clinic. The sun was out and drenching the courts, and I soon realized that other roles were just as important to the success of the clinic. From feeders to shaggers, and even friends and family on the sidelines, everyone played an essential role.

The Angel City Games Wheelchair Tennis Clinic was my first time being involved in that program, and the two hours I experienced volunteering had such an impact on me as both a person and tennis instructor. I look forward to reflecting on this experience and applying the values it taught me.

– Jeremy Goode

 

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One Response

  1. Great article and nice to see SCTA including this volunteer’s winsome perspective on the event.

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