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HomeNewsArchivesPlay Days in Paradise Introduces Tennis to Territory’s Youth

Play Days in Paradise Introduces Tennis to Territory’s Youth

Play Days in Paradise introduces youth to tennisWhen USVI National Davis Cup Teammates Ricky Plaskett and Kristopher Elien were challenged by Davis Cup Coach Stan Myrie-G at this year’s ITF Davis Cup competition in Tobago, West Indies, to find the territory’s next generation of tennis players, they put their heads together. Plaskett and Elien, who have represented the USVI in multiple Davis Cup competitions over the past six years, often discussed a grass roots initiative that would introduce the game of tennis to young boys and girls in the territory who wouldn’t normally choose tennis as his or her first sport of choice. Born was "Play Days in Paradise," a three-day three island tour with some of the territories top players and coaches providing tennis instruction 100 percent free of charge to boys and girls 5-11 years of age.
In September of this year, Plaskett, who currently resides in a suburb outside of Atlanta, flew to the territory to meet with perspective sponsors and assemble his team of coaches and volunteers, which included Sharon Flamon, president of the St. Thomas Racquet Club, along with Elien.
“The first lady, Cecile deJongh, has always been a great supporter of youth programs throughout the Virgin Islands — not to mention that she comes from a tennis background and was the creator of (TIPS) Tennis in the Parks and Schools. She met with us and lent us her support and offered us some great suggestions.”
Plaskett then secured the support of (VITA) The Virgin Islands Tennis Association, the governing body of tennis in the V.I. He then met with the Caribbean Education Initiative and with their support, the play day team was able to enlist the remaining financial support from the V.I. Lottery, Seaborne Airlines and VITA and begin advertising the event throughout
the Virgin Islands.
The Tennis Play Days visited St. John on Friday, Nov. 30, St. Thomas on Dec. 1 and wrapped up on Dec. 2 on St. Croix. The three-day tour introduced the game to almost 90 young boys and girls in all and was 100 percent free of charge.
“I was overwhelmed with the turn out and enthusiasm of all the young boys and girls,” Plaskett said. “I was also very encouraged by the talent that they possessed. We do indeed have the potential to develop great tennis players and equally developed wonderful young men and women if they choose to continue in this sport. In addition, I am extremely grateful to all the volunteers that assisted me and the other tennis instructors to make this play day tour a huge success."
The instructors were led by current Davis Cup coach Stan Myrie-G, who has over 40 years of tennis related experience.
He went on to thank Pat Harley, Sharon Flamon, Aluda Henry, Denard El-amin, Fernella Cooper and a host of other key contributors that made the Play Day In Paradise a smashing success. "We have dedicated and more than capable coaches who are very willing to invest in the future of this sport throughout our islands.
“We already want to do something even bigger in 2013 and continue the momentum,” Plaskett said.
For more information about the Tennis Plays Days in Paradise or other tennis related news in the United States Virgin Islands, visit www.usvitennis.com

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