Told by DSAGSL tennis coach and Executive Director Jeremie Ballinger
This summer, DSAGSL took a fun new step forward in programming with our first-ever tennis program. Every Monday night, our group gathered for a great time on the tennis court. And, don’t tell anyone, but we might have learned a little bit along the way.
My tennis career began last summer when I started coaching a local Special Olympics team, so needless to say we didn’t have expert coaching. But the great thing is that, as with any program we do for our self-advocates, the most important lessons come from them. Most of our players hadn’t picked up a tennis racket in quite a while, and for some it was their first ever experience. But they were willing to try something new, and did it with so much energy and excitement! Our self-advocates are proud of who they are and proud of what they accomplish in life, from the simplest tasks to something pretty huge…like getting an overhead serve to land in bounds (which they ALL did!). Their determination and hard work inspired their coaches all summer long, and I’m proud to say that eleven athletes brought home a medal representing DSAGSL at the area Special Olympics tournament this summer. Five of our players then advanced to state competition earlier this month at the SOMO Fall Games in Cape Girardeau, earning 4 gold medals and one silver medal! Congrats to all of our athletes – we’re so proud of you!
We are thrilled to add this program to the many things we do at DSAGSL. Our thanks go out to the amazing parents that committed time every week to bringing their athletes to practice, helping out on the court, and even stepping in to coach on a couple occasions. As usual, our families are the best! We’ll be back next June to play once again, and hope to see all of our players back and many new friends joining in also. In addition, we’re excited to see even more new programs develop in the coming year, and we can’t wait to share these with you as well.