It has been a great time for all involved with team New England at this year’s USTA Intersectionals in lovely, soggy, Shreveport, Louisiana.
We arrived at the airport around one pm on July 7 and sped directly to the clay courts for some sleep-deprived practice, then a dinner and a meeting with the kids’ hosts. As I said earlier, two local families adopt the sixteen-year-old boys and girls for the week and not only feed them, but transport them to the courts and show them around the bayou.
Suffice it to say our time here has been a blast. The teams did well, defeating Caribbean and Pacific Northwest. The level of play by our team was just superb. Particularly outstanding has been the play of our Connecticut contingent, including Elyse Hamlin of Fairfield, Bradley Orban of Milford and Melissa Lord of Bloomfield. Watch out for these three in the future.
Along with the tennis, the players have sure enjoyed their time here and made great friends with the other kids, including the Caribbean contingent, who are mostly from Puerto Rico.
On Wednesday night, team New England went bowling. We knew we arrived at the lanes when we saw a giant (and I do mean giant) bowling pin greet us as we drove up to the establishment.
After a long, long, day of rain, the final day of Intersectionals began at 6 pm local time with a match against Northern California. The format was changed to singles only, and each set began at 2-all. When the dust (and puddles) had settled the outcome was dead even. New England 3-Northern California 3. The team finished with two wins, two losses and one tie.
All that was left was a truncated banquet and awards presentation. I am very happy to report that the New England boys and girls won the coveted team sportsmanship award. Each of the athletes handled themselves extremely well on and off the court.
New England should be very proud about these kids as they represent us in such a prestigious competition. Their level of play is the first rate, but their behavior, sportsmanship and good nature is even better.