VERNON, Fla. Â– The Vernon tennis program has been in need of some new equipment and courts since the program started five years ago.
Allen Long, tennis director of the Golden Eagle Country Club in Tallahassee, was at a tennis match at Maclay back in February and the Vernon teams caught his eye.
Â“IÂ’ve been doing this for about 40 years so where ever I go and I see the passion and happiness in these kids playing tennis and that was really the spark,Â” Long said.
Long spoke to Vernon head coach Laurie Simmons and she told him about their situation at the school, how they have no courts to practice on and outdated equipment.
Â“The fact that Laurie told me that they have to drive to Bonifay to practice and she sent me a picture of the court, that gave me more desire to help out,Â” Long said.
Long got together with Jane Synder and others at the Golden Eagle Country Club and some Maclay school officials as well and sent the Yellowjackets brand new rackets with their school colors, tennis balls, clothing items and even some nets and posts to get their home courts up and running.
Coach Simmons couldnÂ’t believe it.
Â“I printed out the email and walked up to my principal and said to him, do you believe this, they beat us hands down the other day, but want to help us. You just donÂ’t see that every day,Â” Simmons said.
The Yellowjackets team hoping to grow the program thanks to the donations.
Â“I actually heard a couple of students in my grade say they would play if we had courts here, but they just didnÂ’t want to spend the money for gas money and I think thatÂ’s very reasonable,Â” Vernon tennis player Emma Smith said.
For some members of the team, finally getting a home court of their own would be the highlight of their high school career.
Â“I have juniors and next year is their senior year. To be able to have home matches and show their friends the game of tennis and how good they are at it and to have grandparents and parents be able to watch means a lot to them,Â” Simmons said.
The team said the kindness shown to them will not go unnoticed especially as they get ready for the next season.
Â“This really goes to show that the tennis community is something that is not just teams, itÂ’s a community, weÂ’re all together,Â” Smith said.
The Golden Eagle Country Club will be fundraising for VernonÂ’s courts and if you would like to help, reach out to them at 850-893-1285.