By Greg Phipps
---- — AMESBURY — For the second time in a month, the Amesbury Recreation Department will hold a United States Tennis Association Play Day Event for people of all ages on Saturday at the Amesbury High School courts.
Recreation Youth Services Director Kathleen Crowley said the first-ever event back in September was so well received that the department decided to offer another one “before it got too cold.”
Brett Manoloff, who works as a tennis instructor at the event and coaches the Amesbury High girls team, said the Play Day helps to promote the sport of tennis in the community.
“We share a vision where the children of Amesbury can enjoy the sport in a fun, athletic, exciting and meaningful way,” he said. “Since tennis is one of the few life-long sports, we feel it’s important to give children the opportunity to try it, learn it and enjoy it for their entire lives.”
Considering that September’s event was right around the start of school, Crowley said it went well and that a larger turnout is expected for Saturday. Crowley said the primary purpose behind Saturday’s event, which runs from 10 a.m. to noon, is to bring tennis to more youth and get the whole family more active.
“We were able to get a USTA grant to offer specialized equipment, such as lighter and larger racquets, large balls with less compression to make it easier to hit, and smaller nets for the 10-and-under age group,” she sai. “The equipment allows the kids to be more successful in the game while allowing them to have fun.”
Crowley added that because all this equipment has been acquired, the city’s recreation department can now offer tennis year round.
Manoloff said that the establishment of the Play Days is an extension of an After School Enrichment Program offered through the high school’s tennis program and the Parent Teacher Association.
“We’re currently offering the program to kindergarten through second-grade kids at both the Amesbury Elementary School and Cashman Elementary School,” he said, adding that registration for Saturday’s Play Day begins tomorrow.
Describing September’s Play Day as an “extreme success and most of all, fun,” Manoloff said some added bonuses are in store for Saturday.
“We’ll have members of both the girls and boys high school teams there, which will make it even more exciting for the kids,” he said. “Two hours goes quickly when there are plenty of smiles.”
Manoloff and Crowley complimented each other for their efforts in helping organize the Play Day events.
Crowley said Manoloff’s involvement is a major plus for the program.
“We’re extremely lucky to have him, because in addition to being a great coach, he teaches (young players) about fun, fair play, honesty, respect, responsibility and teamwork,” she said. “One of our goals is to instill those values in as many youths as we can. These events help us do that.”
For more information on Saturday’s USTA Play Day, contact Crowley at 978-388-2892 or email Kathleen@amesburyma.gov.