The rain cleared just in time to hold the USTA Mid Atlantic’s “Battle Against Obesity” Family Tennis Day outdoors in Baltimore’s Patterson Park last Sunday. About a hundred local kids, including tennis clubs from city public schools, enjoyed the three-hour long festival.
The program featured instruction from some former USPTA professionals, and children of different age groups were sent to separate courts for the activities. The lessons for the very young involved children catching tennis balls in buckets and learning how to balance a ball on a racquet. Older children enjoyed target practice and advanced instruction.
The only long lines at the event were for the face-painting booth. Even USTA Maryland Executive Director Lynn Coddington got into the act–as Hello Kitty. In addition to the free healthy food options available that day, there were nutritional information advisors on hand to answer questions about food choices for children.
The highlight of the day was a visit from the Washington Kastles mascot. Slice posed for lots of photos with the kids, even allowing himself to occasionally be used as target practice for the eager fans.
The entire event was free and the USTA has staged these family days throughout the nation over the spring. On Sunday, most of the kids in attendance walked off with free tennis racquets and other sporting gear. Participants had to hit a prize with a tennis ball to win in the ‘Hit It and Get It Zone’. A sporting goods company even donated STX Lacrosse sticks. How very Maryland.
Tennis is a tough sell in Baltimore. But on this one Sunday in May, Patterson Park could have stood in for Atlanta or Charleston as kids got very, very excited. About tennis. Tennis East Coast also learned this weekend that kids tennis clinics will return to East Baltimore’s Patterson Park this summer for the first time in several years.