Essay Project 2021: Portland 10 and Under Memorial Courts
“[In tennis], ball boys are marvelous. You don't even notice them.” That is a famous quote from the movie Wimbledon about a professional tennis player that was ranked number 11 in the world. At the Portland, Michigan tennis courts there is something else that is marvelous and barely ever noticed; that is the 10 and Under Memorial Courts. During the summer there are a lot of families that bring their kids to these youth tennis courts for lessons. The children really enjoy interacting with other kids their age and playing on courts that are suited for them. Thanks to the family of Carol Scharuben, Portland is home to four tennis courts that were created for the ages of ten and under and were donated for the use of Portland’s youth. These tennis courts are smaller than normal courts and are made to help children with their gross motor skills and to help them to learn tennis at a young age. They are conveniently located at the Portland High School tennis facility. Just like ball boys, the courts are not always needed to learn to play tennis, but they are always great to have.
The Portland tennis association was a big part of Carol Schrauben and her family’s life. When asked about her mother’s connection with the sport, Schrauben’s daughter, Kristin Weller, stated “she loved watching tennis, particularly the Portland teams that her children, nieces, and nephews were on. Before passing, she was able to see her grandchildren participate in youth summer programs at the courts, and she was excited about their futures in the sport.” After her passing, Kristin and her family scavenged to find a place that her mother would love to be remembered. Kristin said, “Instantly, Portland tennis came to mind.” Kristin and her husband worked together to fundraise and earn enough money to build the courts. They worked with Joel Cross, the current boy’s varsity tennis varsity and girls JV tennis coach, and local construction workers to get the memorial tennis courts built.
Many cities have tennis courts, but very few have youth tennis courts. These courts are created for children to learn tennis at a young age without being so intimidated by the huge court. According to the United States Tennis Association junior tennis guidelines, “the use of smaller courts [and] lower nets… will help kids develop better technical and tactical skills. And when each of these elements are used collaboratively, kids will achieve success more quickly.” (USTA). Before the establishment of the youth tennis courts, children would be able to start playing tennis at around ages seven to eight. But now, children can start playing tennis at ages four to five. They can learn at a younger age, because when children are ages four and five, “activities and games oriented at that stage help them develop their basic motor skills, ball tracking, sending and receiving skills, reaction, racquet skills, social skills and over time all this is engraved in their muscle memory as they become better athletes at the later stages”, says Cesario. Portland’s youth tennis courts are beneficial to future tennis athletes because children are able to learn contact and placement skills starting young.
Portland’s youth tennis courts are a really great way to bring the community together. As it can be seen in the picture above, the nets have been taken down for the winter to help with preserving the courts as long as they can. These courts are used to teach children to hit the ball and to play the game. In the summer, there are camps to teach children how to play tennis. A lot of people use the courts, some use them to teach their children how to play, and others just play on them for their enjoyment. Thanks to Carol Scharuben and her family, they donated tennis courts for not just her family, but for the whole community to enjoy. If someone were to get the chance, it is highly encouraged for them to stop by, with their friends and family, and enjoy the courts!!
“10 And Under Tennis: 10 & Under Tennis: | Charlotte Tennis Association.” 10 And Under Tennis | 10 & Under Tennis | | Charlotte Tennis Association, www.charlotte.usta.com/USTA_Jr__Team_Tennis/Quick_Start_Tennis/.
Bowen, Published by Connor. New England Seal Coating, 25 May 2017, www.newenglandsealcoating.com/why-under-10-tennis/#:~:text=Why 10 and Under Tennis,have fun playing it together.
Cesario, Paul. “10 & Under Tennis and Its Benefits in Youth Tennis.” Pine Brook Fitness, 4 Apr. 2017, pinebrookfitness.com/10-and-under-tennis-and-its-benefits-in-youth-tennis/.
Thomas. “Ten Funny Tennis Quotes.” Bleacher Report, Bleacher Report, 3 Oct. 2017, bleacherreport.com/articles/67606-ten-funny-tennis-quotes.
Weller, Kristin. Interview. By Adriana Krieger. 18 Deciember 2020.
Wimbledon. Directed by Richard Loncraine, performance by StudioCanal Working Title Films. 2004
This essay is part of a writing project by students in Chandra Polasek’s ELA class at Portland High School. The project asked students to focus on elements of their own town while getting students engaged with the community. The essays were written with the intention of being published in The Portland Beacon.