AMESBURY — When $1.5 million was cut from the budget of Amesbury High's current school year, it left three sports programs — freshman softball, freshman baseball and tennis — without funding.
But girls tennis coach Brett Manoloff can't worry about that right now, he has a job to do.
"The last thing I want the kids to do is to be concerned about that," Manoloff said of the budget issue. "Let the adults take care of that aspect, and let them play the sport. The general feel is, let's just play tennis."
And thanks to the Amesbury All-Sports Boosters Club, the teams are doing just that after raising the magic number of $24,000 to make things happen. The school has also proposed a budget for the next school year that returns the three programs to the fold. But proposals are proposals, and for now, the Amesbury girls are still on their own.
With the tennis season about to begin, Manoloff knows that all of this needs to remain background music for the players.
"The kids just want the opportunity to play," Manoloff said. "They don't want to have to deal with any of the other stuff, and I like that about them. I think we've done a good job of making sure they understand that they are going to be playing, and they're going to have a sport."
But until the programs are reinstated, keeping the sport alive at AHS requires some forward thinking. Manoloff believes that interfacing more with the community can help. Part of that is fundraising (the program's next fundraiser will be May 19), and part of it is letting people know what a great sport tennis is.
"The big thing we're trying to do this season is just increase awareness about the program," Manoloff said. "Because most of the girls in the program are athletes who have picked up the game of tennis. To their credit, they have become very good at it."