The Sportime World Tour continued its journey to all the top professional tournaments around the globe on March 14, stopping in Indian Wells, Calif. for the third installment of the ever-growing program.
Held at Sportime Lynbrook, the third stage featured an Indian Wells theme and mirrored the BNP Paribas Open which is being held this week. There was delicious Mexican food on the menu, as well as DJ CM providing the crowd and participants with music and good times all afternoon long. And of course, there was some tennis.
“The turnout was absolutely amazing,” said Danny Casesa, director of tennis at Sportime Lynbrook. “We couldn’t ask for a better response from all the Sportime people. The most important thing is it has to be fun for the kids and it looks like it is. If we’re having fun, the kids must be having fun.”
More than 150 kids from all different levels came out for the event on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Each player receives his or her passport, enjoyed some food and music, and then took to the court to introduce those in the 10 & Under program to competitive tennis, in a non-intimidating, team-oriented process.
“They practice every week, once a week and some kids are twice a week if not more,” said Casesa. “The idea is that they need a carrot at the end, and again, this is the light competition and is for the kids who may be a little shaky about competing. Putting it into a team format with these activities makes it fun.”
Being able to play together amongst kids your own age in a friendly-format makes it easier to love the sport you are playing.
“My favorite part of the day was playing doubles,” said Jack Kennedy, a six-year-old who plays at Sportime Syosset.
When asked if he would be attending the next stop on the Sportime World Tour, Kennedy said, “Yes, definitely.”
Bea Bielik, general manager of Sportime Lynbrook, said the Sportime World Tour events are the perfect thing for the 10 & Under programs.
“It’s been a really nice springboard for the 10 & Under group. We want to get them loving the sport and I think these events do that,” said Bielik. “It’s a whole day of tennis where they can come out and have some fun. Having them understanding the theme, we are obviously trying to mirror the top tournaments in the world on the professional side. I think it’s really exciting and has been a really positive thing.”
As the Sportime World Tour grows, it is also continuing its journey across the world. The next stop is Paris and the famous clay courts of Roland Garros as the fourth stage will have a French Open theme.
Credit all photos to Brian Coleman & Matt Cohen
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.