By Karen Ronney
Kyle Havelka loves to play sports with his family. The athletic 6-year-old from Ventura County played basketball, soccer and tennis at home during the Covid pandemic. Of the three, however, tennis was his favorite sport. This summer, he was one of eight recipients who recieved an SCTA Foundation’s Summer Tennis Racket Package.
Kyle loves to play with his mom, Gina, who competed for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln women’s tennis team. She was a top junior and a teaching professional.
“I was so excited to get my new racket,” Kyle said. “I like to play in the street every day and beat my mom.”
Kyle also received a new tennis string backpack, a water bottle and other fun prizes.
“For a young child, there is nothing more exciting than getting new sports equipment,” Gina said. “When Kyle received his new tennis racket it lit his fire to play more tennis and now he asks me to play every day after school.”
Brothers Lucas and Roman Samarge of Burbank enjoy playing tennis with each other and their family members. Lucas, 8, said he likes to run around and win rallies. “I like the backhand and the smash best because it’s so much fun,” he said.
Roman, 10, plays adaptive tennis. “It’s easy for me because with my new racket I can hit the ball better and I’m quicker in my wheelchair,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun to play with my friends, coaches, grandmother and at Net Generation Clinics.”
Siblings Logan and Blake Ebreo of Escondido each won racket packages. Logan, 11, loves learning to play tennis and strives to hit the perfect forehand.
“If you win, you have to learn to be humble,” Logan said. “But even if you lose, it teaches you life lessons. You have to get better and have good sportsmanship. If you practice every day, you’ll get good in no time.”
Blake, 8, enjoys practice with her brother. “Sometimes we do little challenges and competitions,” she said. “When I play tennis it’s fun and it keeps me active. I get to spend time with my family.”
Other Summer Tennis Racket recipients were:
Daniel (Age 4) and Arrow (6) Milan of Paramount: “We have fun going to the courts to learn.”
Parker Imming (11) of Ventura: “I get to exercise and breathe fresh air.”
Linda Milan, the Executive Director of the SCTA Foundation, said providing young players with new equipment can have a tremendous impact.
“Sometimes a brand new racket can make all of the difference to get kids excited to play tennis,” Milan said. “Finding that fun spark is the thing that might keep them practicing to reach higher levels. Tennis is a lifetime sport and the love of the game can start very young.”
ABOUT THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TENNIS ASSOCIATION FOUNDATION
Our mission of “Changing Lives and Communities through Tennis,” serves as a pathway to offer financial support to individuals and organizations. We are a 501©3 nonprofit organization and the charitable arm of USTA Southern California. We help people of all ages and abilities to improve their health, fitness and quality of life through the sport of tennis. Founded in 1986, the SCTA Foundation has had a community impact of giving more than $500,000 this year through grants, scholarships, program support, equipment and more to recipients throughout Southern California. To learn more about the SCTA Foundation, please visit sctafoundation.org. To donate CLICK HERE