Abilities Tennis of North Carolina has been a blessing beyond belief for our son, Matthew. Matt fell in love with tennis back in 2008 when he first began training through Special Olympics in our county. He wanted to play all the time but under the Special Olympics program, an athlete trains for eight weeks in hopes of going to the State Games. When the State Games are over, practice ceases until the next year. That’s when we began looking for other avenues of training and competition for him to participate in. North Carolina weather allowed year round tennis; but, no facility nearby could accommodate him. For the next three years, we sought other Special Olympic athletes across the state to play matches with him. We learned that like Matt, there were other Special Olympic athletes looking for more opportunities to play tennis. We learned of other state’s programs, and traveled long distances so he could play in their tournaments.
And then…..Abilities Tennis of North Carolina began to form. Almost immediately, we had weekly practices on courts supplied by a local club. We had tennis players and tennis pros coming forward to help coach. ATANC began recruiting and forming clinics in other counties, and finding locations for tournaments throughout the year. They were a wish come true for our young man, who still loves tennis, loves his coaches, loves the tournaments, and loves all the opportunities Abilities Tennis has provided. They are an amazing, warm, focused group, who love the athletes and are determined to provide them with all the same, wonderful tennis opportunities that are available to “typical” players.
It has been an absolute joy for all our family to participate in adaptive tennis events through Abilities Tennis of North Carolina over the past nine years. We have watched this segment of the sport, which serves some very special athletes, grow to heights we didn’t dream possible.
We can’t express how much our son, Justin has enjoyed playing tennis again, but even more how much he’s grown and how many friends he’s made in these years through Abilities Tennis tournaments and events. I love the simple quote by one of the Abilities Tennis Board members that “Everyone should have the chance to play tennis.” Justin had that chance when he was younger and it was taken away by friends who made him feel different and not “good enough” to play with them. Abilities Tennis and encouragement from coaches and fellow athletes have given him back his chance to play and he has really made the most of it! He treasures every medal and every success but he also tries to learn something from every loss as well. He has certainly learned that he can compete hard and enjoy tennis to the fullest, but his worth as person is not measured in wins and losses but how he treats his fellow players along the way.
Abilities Tennis also means so much to me as a parent and a coach. I have played and loved and studied the game of tennis for nearly 50 years, but have never found it more satisfying than coaching Abilities Tennis and playing unified doubles with my son.
We are so grateful for the many opportunities for our tennis athletes to compete and have some great times together at fantastic tournaments. Abilities Tennis of N.C.is making a tremendous contribution to the sport which broadens and enriches the game for us all.
Charles Hunsucker and Family
NC Tennis Family of the Year, 2018
The Western Wake Tennis Association has been proud to partner with the ATANC to promote tennis, a lifetime sport, to individuals of all ages and capabilities. The tournaments we have helped to sponsor at NC State University have been fun events for all involved, and we look forward to working with ATANC in the future. WWTA appreciates that ATANC provides us all with an effective means to serve this special population with organized tennis programs.
President, NC Tennis
Greensboro Regional Tennis Association
Director of Operations, Raleigh, NC
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