Before the competition comes the learning.
And pizza and games!
Kids Night is one of the highlights of the annual Hood County News Tennis Festival. Its when youngsters gather to just have fun, learn a little about the game, and perhaps even begin the journey to being competitive in the future.
“You plant the seed and spark an interest,” said Granbury High tennis coach Jeff Bramlett of Kids Night. “Hopefully, they’ll keep wanting to do it and be ready to play in the tournament next year.
“But the bottom line is we’re doing this for the kids.”
Pecan Plantation tennis pro Gonzalo Nunez, the creator of the HCN Tennis Festival, leads the instruction of youngsters on Kids Night. But first and foremost he makes sure everyone has a great time.
“We know that many of them can’t do things like serve or play a full court, but they like to have fun, and they want to compete,” said Nunez.
Anthony Barnett, 13, said he likes Kids Night because, “It brings a lot of different ages of players together, and they can play as a family.
“I like everything about the Festival. It’s amazing, but this is especially fun.”
Barnett said he would like to play for Granbury High some day, and when asked about his summer plans, he said, “A lot of it will be spent playing tennis.”
Kimberly Joyce, 8, could hardly wait for Kids Night. In fact, she has been practicing with her father in preparation.
“I played with my dad on this court right here,” she said, pointing to one of the courts at Pecan Plantation.
“I’ve been doing it since last year, and I’ve gotten a lot better.”
Nunez said Kids Night epitomizes the very reason the Festival was started five years ago.
“This is the next generation,” he said. ““A lot of them see the people in the tournament and say, ‘I want to play like those guys.’”
Some of those attending Kids Night have never even picked up a racquet.
“Here in this setting there’s no competition and no pressure,” said Nunez.
“Free pizza, soft drinks and tennis, what a night.”
VISIT FROM ELVIS
The King of Rock ‘N’ Roll isn’t dead, he’s just visiting Pecan Plantation.
While in town for Granbury High senior Kasi Krieger to sign a letter-of-intent to play for him, University of the Southwest (Hobbs, N.M.) tennis coach Paul Baker took some time to do his Elvis impersonation.
“Everybody loves Elvis,” said Baker. “There’s no such thing as being too young.”
keeping the pipeline going
Krieger is the fourth player from Granbury High Baker has recruited. He and Bramlett go back to the late 1970s when they played against each other in college.
“He’s a Division I (NCAA) coach who is coachng high school because he wants to,” said Baker of Bramlett. “If he tells me a player is good, that’s all I need to hear.
“Granbury is a place where when I pick up a player, I know they’ll be disciplined, smart, respectful, everything a college coach could desire.”
Robin Thaxton and Mary Thaxton have played for Baker, and Jennifer Esparza is still there.
“Kasi is so talented. She’s going to come in and play instantly,” said Baker.
“I talk to Jenny all the time,” said Krieger of being reunited with her friend. “I’ve asked her so many questions about the school.”
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Category: Sports Archived