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ITíS GAME, SET, AND...WIN FOR TENNIS ANTIGUA-BARBUDA: CREATIVE SPACE #4 OF 2018
Monday 14th May 2018

By Joanne C. Hillhouse.

National Tennis Centre was abuzz with activity on Labour Day weekend 2018 –  the squeak-squeak of sneakers, the chatter of onlookers, the smell of barbeque (there must always be food right?), the exclamation of a player who has managed to one up another, the thwack of ball hitting court in the back and forth of a match engaged. Amidst the rituals of the game, the fist pumps and the tears, because there must be winners and losers and where passions run high there may be tears, I couldn’t help but reflect for a moment on the impressive transformation of the courts located at the area known as Campsite. It was my first time attending an event there since the 2016 opening. What a transformation!

It didn’t come cheap. Close to one million EC dollars was spent – all raised through the efforts of the Antigua and Barbuda Tennis Association; a great example of community volunteerism not only in action but producing results. After all, here we were hosting a Caribbean Invitational with children from seven countries – British Virgin islands, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, France, Trinidad & Tobago, USA; as solid an example of sports tourism and youth development as one could hope for, at a venue that was in what Antiguans and Barbudans would describe as “a state!” just a few years ago.

So why am I writing about tennis in a series called CREATIVE SPACE?

I wanted to write about the tournament for the same reason I enjoy writing about the arts, because sports, though granted not typically tennis, is a part of our culture, and is in many ways the realization of a particular passion. I had an inkling to write about the tournament as I watched two boys at play – the way one fussed over every missed shot and celebrated the balls that landed where they were supposed to, the slump of his shoulders when ultimately, for all his efforts, he was bested by the terminator like calm and focus of the other, and his tears. As a creative myself I can relate to both boys’ range of effort and emotion. I decided to write about this in part because when it comes to young people, I believe that we should encourage their passions, the let downs and the get ups. And I’m not saying that tennis is this particular boy’s passion but every kid I saw play on the day I went out to the tournament was an example of the word try, through play, through work, try.

Moreover to watch a great athlete do what they do is to watch an artist create art. True these young ones, 10 to 12 years old, are fledgling artists at best, and many will in time find that they prefer some other type of art. But for now, in this moment, watching them put their hearts on the line and be invested in the outcome, put their hours and hours of lessons in to practice, and periodically surprise onlookers and themselves with an impressive play, at this venue that is itself a testimony to community passion is a reminder of the linkages between intention and effort, inspiration and manifestation.

I only caught one and a half matches at the NTC so I can’t give you the play by play – though I will print the results below. But what I did want to note is that I am impressed with the effort that led to the quality courts we now have in Antigua and Barbuda making a typically elite sport accessible to many more young people, and I am mindful of the herculean effort it takes to produce an event; no matter the size, there will be hurdles and hiccups and lots of heavy lifting, and at gametime/showtime something will go wrong. And so I applaud the effort. That’s what our culture needs more of, continuously, in all areas of art, culture, and youth development: the kind of effort that can will inspire infinite possibilities.

And now, the results:
Boys 12 Main draw Winner – Jaiden Julien (USA); Girls 12 Main Draw Winner – Brasha Dyer (Antigua & Barbuda); Boys Doubles Winner – Daniel Jeary/ Beckham Sylvester (Trinidad & Tobago); Girls Doubles WInner- Jaeda Lee Daniel-Joseph/Jordane Dookie(Trinidad & Tobago)::Sportsman – Xaveek Toppin (Antigua & Barbuda); Sportswomen – Tiana Gastaldi (France)/ Alysa Elliot (St. Lucia)

Next up for the Antigua and Barbuda Tennis Association at this writing is the Davis Cup summer 2018 in Costa Rica – with the goal of stepping up from group 3 to group 2; speaking of infinite possibilities.

This post, sponsored by Gemma Hazelwood Photography, originally appeared on Jhohadli as a sponsored post; contact Jhohadli/Joanne C. Hillhouse if you wish to sponsor a future post in support of coverage of Antiguan and Barbudan arts and culture. All Rights Reserved


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