Finding the Best of Herself

Many of us in the tennis world get into the business of tennis because of our positive experiences with the sport. We hope to spread that joy to others just getting into the sport. While much of what happens on the court is directly related to tennis, we are consistently reminded that we don’t just teach tennis, we teach people. Every person gets something different from the sport. They say growing up is harder now than ever before. Some may agree and some may disagree, yet all youth of any generation are growing up in an ever changing and demanding world.

Below is Laura McCarthy’s, a rising freshman at Florida Atlantic University, first hand account of her time she has spent at Yonkers Tennis from her college application. She has played in the junior program for the past six years and served as a Coach In Training and an Assistant Junior Pro for the past four years. It’s a great reminder that you sometimes never know what someone else is going through and how people appreciate their experiences.

“Many people discover themselves through friendships or talents. However, I found the best parts of myself through a place. Yonkers Tennis Center, a tennis club in Yonkers, N.Y. has the motto “We are more than just tennis”, and that expression could not define it better. Working there and playing there for over four years has helped me to overcome hardships, to realize my passions for the future, to meet inspiring people and to have amazing experiences. The first day I walked into Yonkers Tennis Center when I was in the 7th grade, I had no idea the impact that that first visit would have on me.

Since the 7th grade I have had a lot of trouble dealing with my emotions. I began seeing a school counselor and going to therapy. In the 8th grade I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. Over the past 7 years I have had many ups and downs and times where I felt very out of place. Yonkers Tennis Center, however, afforded me a safe place. After playing there for 2 years, I found out about the Coach In Training program and signed up immediately. This program provided a chance for me to volunteer and work with kids. I absolutely loved it. I gained a sense of responsibility and began to think of Yonkers Tennis Center as a “home away from home”. My parents could never understand why I wanted to spend so much time there, with no pay. I looked forward to every time that I was scheduled to be there, and I constantly wanted to do more. Soon, I was offered a year round job there. To me, working at Yonkers Tennis Center has been an escape from stress and unhappiness. When times are tough I know that the door will always be open for me there.

Yonkers Tennis Center did not only offer me an on court chance to work with kids and teach tennis, it also gave me insight to the business world. I spent time working at the desk and working with customers off the court. I learned about what happens “behind the scenes” to make Yonkers Tennis Center such a successful and welcoming place. This inspired me to figure out what I want to do in the future and to choose the major that interests me. Welcoming people and creating a friendly environment in a workplace is something that I want to do in the future. Therefore, I am interested in majoring in Hospitality. Working at Yonkers Tennis Center has made me more responsible and confident and my time there has led me to the career paths that I want to take in life.

In the past few years, I have met many inspiring and caring people. The employees at Yonkers Tennis Center have been role models and have offered me guidance in all that I do. Whether they know it or not, every person at Yonkers Tennis Center has helped me through some of the hardest times of my life. I have been offered amazing opportunities and life experiences, and these experiences have created some of the fondest memories of my high school years. Tennis has always been an important part of my life, and it is amazing that I have been able to play my favorite sport in a job setting. I have grown up at Yonkers Tennis Center doing what I love. It is true; “Yonkers Tennis center is more than just tennis”. For me, it has been a second home and a safe haven for when I need an escape from the real world. I have been given a chance to grow as a person, a student and a tennis player. I am eternally grateful for the time that I have spent at Yonkers Tennis Center. I look forward to growing there even more in the future. “

Do you want to share how tennis has impacted your life?
If so, contact Thane Schweyer, Club Manager, and you could be the next feature of
Beyond the Baseline, YTC's monthly newsletter.