Even a broken racquet string can be the catalyst to something meaningful. Varsity players from the powerhouse Blake and upstart Minneapolis Edison tennis teams discovered that when they met last week in an epic mismatch.
When an Edison player broke a string -- and didn't have a replacement racquet -- his Blake opponent loaned his extra racquet to prevent a forfeit. It was one of several examples of mutual respect that emerged during the meet, despite the competitive mismatch and whatever stereotypes existed among the players about their private school/inner city opponents, said Minneapolis Edison Coach Chad Forde.
At the end of the meet, the two teams gathered and celebrated with a "Bears-Tommies" combined chant, Forde said. But that was only the beginning. Blake captain Taylor Parr wanted to help his new friends from Edison -- some of the players couldn't afford racquets and were using old ones from phy ed storage -- by collecting 26 lightly used racquets from his teammates and donating them.
"The worst racquet we got from them was nicer than our best racquet," Forde said. "I know they're young, but I want them to know how much that truly means to an up-and-coming urban tennis team."
Forde's team had tripled in size to 25 players this spring, making the need for equipment great. The Edison players received the racquets in time for today's 4A singles sectional meet.
"I kind of warned them, 'you're going to see the ball go a lot farther than you expected,'" Forde said from the site of this morning's meet. "They're joking around with each other. If they hit a good shot, 'It's not really you! It’s the racquet!'"
Cool Things Kids Do is an occasional series on the extraordinary kids and teens in this community. Know of any kids doing amazing things, big or small? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prior blogs from the series:
- Chaska teen speaks at White House
- Lemonade fundraiser for cancer victim
- Growing Veggies and Feeding the Hungry
- 10th Grader Earns Top Nature Photo Honor
- Collection Drive Nets 900 Books for Needy Kids
- Central senior links classmates to career advice
- Swimming two miles in Lake Superior
- Balloon launched to edge of atmosphere
- 1st-grader's bake sale for fire-damaged school