2017WOW! The past couple of years have been absolutely incredible! 2016 was amazing, and 2017 was extraordinary. TALK TENNIS grew exponentially these past 2 years, in particular in 2017, and met multiple milestones. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience all of the amazing events, people, charities, programs, tournaments, and travel.
I had some really special moments covering several tennis meets charity programs and facilities. In this episode of TALK TENNIS I will walk you through some of those unforgettable pieces that I'm so honored to have been able to produce.
First you'll see the XS Tennis Facility in Chicago, opened by Kamau Murray - Sloane Stephens head coach. The XS Tennis and Education Foundation provides Chicago’s underserved youth with an enriching after school safe-haven and an athletic/academic pathway to college. Those children who aren't afforded the opportunity to learn this extraordinary sport, are provided with the tools to do so thanks to the XS Foundation - and have a pro coach as their mentor!
Second, I will take you through the "Madisen's Match" event that happens every year around the Miami Open, in Fort Myer's Florida. Madisen Abramson is a very special little girl who was dealt an unlucky set of cards. Madisen was born with an inoperable brain tumor and has had to endure more than most people through her life. However, as a result of this brave ray of sunshine, the Madisen's Match event bloomed to help raise funds for other children dealing with the same misfortunes, and to help further the research for a cure. Many big tennis names come out every year to support the cause including: The Bryan Brothers, Sam Querrey, Mardy Fish, Murphy and Luke Jensen, Robby Ginepri, Chanelle Scheepers, Kathy Rinaldi, Tom Gullikson, Mikael Pernfors, and many many more.
Third, I head off to Las Vegas to experience the incredible Marty Hennessy's Inspiring Children Foundation. This is another special foundation that helps underprivileged youth have the tools and opportunity to learn tennis, have a safe haven to learn and grow with direction and purpose, and potentially attain a scholarship into college. I sat down with the founder, Ryan Wolfington, and met several of the children in the program. Watching the children thrive in this environment, and listening to Ryan speak so incredibly passionately that he was even moved to tears at one point during our conversation, was an unforgettable experience.
Fourth, I jump around the country from Los Angeles, to Miami, to New York with the ACEing Autism Foundation. ACEing Autism is a foundation that strives to enhance the lives of both children, and the families of autistic children, through the sport of tennis. The Foundation helps all children, with various levels of autism. Some of the children have trouble even speaking. But once they get out on the court, to watch their whole demeanor change and brighten, is really spectacular and touching. There are not many programs for Autistic Children, so its really wonderful to watch the incredible impact that this foundation has had, and continues to have, on so many lives.
Thank you to everyone who opened their arms, their foundations, their lives, their hearts and emotions to me. I learned so much over this past year, and hold these experiences very close to my heart. Being able to see and experience so many wonderful things first hand is something that I will always cherish.
2017 was certainly a HECTIC year, but it was an AMAZING year! Cheers to an even better 2018!