Young tennis players from East End to play in West Palm Beach Tournament
By Andrew Coakley
FN Sports Editor
Ten up-and-coming tennis players from East End will get an opportunity many may never have dreamed of.
For some it will be their first time travelling to the United States, but for all 10 players, this will be their first time getting the opportunity to put their tennis skills in the limelight on the international scale.
The East End youngsters will be taking part in the fourth annual Levaughn Munroe Tennis Invitational, which will be held in West Palm Beach.
"This is our fourth year for this tournament and we know that Levaughn is smiling down on us because this year besides kids from the Munroe Tennis Academy, after three years, we have ventured out to include the kids from East End, who we have been working with in terms of teaching them the sport of tennis," said Patrick Munroe, President of Munroe's Tennis Academy and father of the late Levaughn Munroe.
"This is very ambitious of us to take these kids from East End, but we felt that we were ready to take these kids to this next level of competition."
The tournament will be hosted by the Palm Beach gardens Tennis Centre and will run from October 5-7. B.J. Munroe, brother of Levaughn Munroe, is one of the pros at the Tennis Centre and will be the tournament director.
Taking 10 kids away for a period of time is costly and Pat Munroe and members of the East End Committee are appealing to the public for financial assistance.
Not only are they seeking the public's help financially, but the Committee will be taking steps to assist itself by holding a cook-out on Saturday (September 22) at the Charthouse, from Noon to 6 p.m.
Coach Munroe noted that being able to take the young players away to play in the tournament goes a long way in helping the youngsters develop the kind of experience which they will need for their future tennis career.
"From our experience we know that with this kind of exposure, these kids, at this early age, would get into the system in the United States Tennis Association (USTA)," noted Munroe.
"That is one of the things we want to continue to use as a stepping-stone to get these kids into the U.S.'s system.
"We're not taking anything from the Tennis Federation, but we feel that this kind of tournament will serve as a big stepping-stone for these young players.
"In fact, this is the avenue many of our young pro players have used to advance their careers."
Coach Munroe thanked the East End Community for assisting the Tennis Academy and assisting the kids as they prepare for exposure to another level.
Munroe makes the long drive to East End on Fridays and Saturdays, where he holds practice with the kids on the tennis courts at the Missile Base.
"The kids are very, very excited about this opportunity and so we don't want to disappoint them in any way," added Munroe.
Ben Bell, who has been assisting the tennis program since it began said that he has watched the kids practice with coach Munroe and is convinced that the intensity of the practice sessions and the structure which coach Munroe has put in place, will go a long way in helping the young players perform well at the tournament in West Palm Beach.
"I'm not a tennis person myself, but when I saw the kind of structure which coach Munroe has put in place for these kids during practice, the discipline that they receive will go a long way in helping to train these kids for the long run," said Bell.
"I invite the parents to attend one of these practice sessions and see how this academy is changing the lives of their kids. That's the greatest value they get from it - the discipline. This is a total win-win situation for these kids.
"They say that East Grand Bahama is both blessed and cursed by geography.
"The blessed part is the quiet, tranquil, beautiful community, but on the other hand it's not downtown, Freeport, so the opportunities are much more limited.
"The Munroe Tennis Academy is giving these kids an opportunity that they normally would not get."
Chairperson of the East End Committee, Kayla Roberts feels that the tennis program implemented by Munroe Tennis Academy within the East End community has done much in helping to give the youngsters something positive to do on a regular basis. ?
She says the regular practice, tournaments and the opportunity to travel to the United States to play, all serve as motivation for the young tennis players.
"Tennis is a sport, where, if they go the extra mile, they can probably get a scholarship or an avenue for higher education," said Roberts.
© 2012 The Freeport News