Sunday, December 18, 2005

Tennis Clothes Line

For those who don't know, I (Shane) do tennis lessons with students at the local high school on Fridays after school. I hope to expand this to two days a week next semester. The school has the lines drawn onto an asphalt court, and they have 10 tennis racquets, all with strings. There are also some enthusiastic kids and two teachers who are supportive of tennis at the school, one of whom does tennis lessons on a different afternoon. What they don't have is a net.

While teaching them how to play tennis, I was continuously reminding them that, if this had been a real tennis match, their shots would have to go over the net. Then I would point to a spot in the air (approximately 36 inches off the ground) and say, "See that shot, that was a little bit too low, so that would not have gone over the net in a real game." I think they got the point of the whole net thing, but it's kind of hard to practice while trying to visualize the net.

So, last Friday, I finally unveiled my big plan for showing them -- kind of -- what a net would be like. I took two volleyball poles that the school had and tied a length of clothesline between them. I measured the height at the middle so it would be 36" and a little bit higher at each end, as a real tennis net would be. Even though it was the last day of school before the Christmas vacation, I still got 5 kids to come out and practice. Success: the net thing worked, in my opinion. I said, "See, you have to hit it over the net", as I introduced a new concept into my tennis pedagogy. For the most part, they remembered to hit it over the clothesline instead of under.

Then I took the clothesline home so that I could still use it to hang clothes in my apartment. Beautiful. My hopes are that we can have a net donated by Jamaica Tennis Assocation or another source sometime in the spring school semester. Then, in the next school year, we could play competitions against other high schools.

One other thing we need is tennis balls. Right now I only have two that I bought in Kingston. It was a can of three, but we lost one in the tall grass. Now the two we have left are turning brown from dirt and have quite a few burrs (macka is the Jamaican word I learned for burrs) stuck in them. So if anyone out there has any old (or new) tennis balls they would like to send down, feel free to ship them down in with another package or as a separate box.

The address is:

Shane McCall
United States Peace Corps
c/o Suchet Loois, Peace Corps Country Director
8 Worthington Avenue
Kingston 5, Jamaica, West Indies

Thanks for your help.



ian said...

I am not sure if you have any idea who the hell I am but i am a RPCV from JA G74 working on the NHP project at the Min of Ed. Anyways, there was someone I knew in another group who got a whoel heap of tennis balls by asking for them from nice hotels. He did it in the US & JA got a few suitcases full of old but OK tennis balls that he used at his primary school. It maybe worth a short especially if you are heading up to the N. Coast with Family on Vacation.

Shane and Kaelyn said...

That's a good idea. Thanks for the suggestion. I will try it out next time I am in the resort areas.