Tennis Club helps kids

By Kathryn Kelman/ne news editor

NE student David Schwartz runs to get to a ball while practicing hitting during a drill. Students from the NE Tennis Club volunteer with local children on Wednesdays.

The NE Tennis Club does well on the court and in the community.

With classes, Tuesday and Thursday practices, community service and tournaments scattered throughout the semester, the team stays busy.

“Last semester, we were preparing for a lot of tournaments, mainly for state,” NE student and club member Ingrid Pineda said.

In the fall, the team went to three regional tournaments to help prepare them for state, NE Tennis Club coach Tim Sebesta said.

“State is the big tournament in February,” he said.

Despite struggling through the first day, the team had a successful state tournament. The students made it to the finals but lost to a team from the University of Texas at Austin, finishing second overall, Sebesta said.

“It was close,” he said. “It came down to mixed [doubles].”

In addition to balancing tournaments, practices and their school work this semester, players have spent some of their Wednesday evenings volunteering with the North East Tarrant Tennis Association, teaching children tennis through a local library’s tutoring program, NE student David Schwartz said.

“Volunteering is always fun ’cause you get to play with the kids, and they’re so cute,” Pineda said.

NETT is a part of the U.S. Tennis Association and provides tennis opportunities for adults and for juniors in the area, Teresa Risley said.

Risley has been volunteering with NETT for 25 years and is a former president of the organization.

NETT has adult, singles, doubles and mixed leagues and helps coordinate the junior tennis leagues, she said.

“We also provide tennis opportunities for children such as these children who go to the village library tutoring program and who might not otherwise have an opportunity to experience tennis,” Risley said.

TCC’s partnership with NETT started when the NETT president reached out to the club after learning the team was going to state and needed help funding the trip, Risley said.

The NETT president and Sebesta also discussed the students’ need for community service hours and talked about the students coming out to help coach on Wednesdays, she said.

“It’s turned into a wonderful partnership because now they come and provide volunteers, and we’re able to help them financially to help with their program,” she said.

For NETT, it’s been a win-win situation. Risley has enjoyed working with the tennis players from TCC, and the children have enjoyed working with coaches closer to their age, she said.

“They’re good mentors for them,” she said. “They have been a wonderful help.”