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Win $2K in Florida Tennis Contest; Lense Family Targets 6 Kids in Jr. Team Tennis

August 17, 2012 10:11 AM
Have a Phone Camera? Win $2,000 in the USTA Florida 'Share the Love' Tennis Video Contest

mediawallsharethelovepeShow why your tennis group or organization deserves a $2,000 "Share the Love" USTA Florida tennis grant, and USTA Florida will not only grant the money but throw a free tennis festival in your town.

It can be as simple as using your smart phone to film a short (two minutes or less) video featuring a tennis location or facility where the $2,000 grant could be applied to expand tennis opportunities in your community. Videos must be submitted by applicants 18 years or older.
 
Winners will also receive a one-year USTA Florida organizational membership (or renewal), valued up to $110; the $2,000 Share the Love grant to be used at a local facility; and the USTA Florida-hosted tennis festival later this year.
 
The contest coincides with the launch of www.USTAShareTheLove.com, a microsite dedicated to USTA Florida's grant initiative. The video contest can be accessed via the microsite, USTA Florida's Facebook page, and www.USTAFlorida.com.
 
"During the past two years, we have seen what an impact we can make on peoples' lives by providing opportunities for children and adults to experience tennis," said USTA Florida Director of Community Tennis Linda Curtis. "We know there is a lot more we can do, and this contest is a fun way for Floridians to change their communities for the better. All it takes is a video camera and a couple of minutes."
 
Submissions are welcome through 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 31, 2012. Voting will be open from Sept. 1, 2012, through Sept. 15, 2012, and the winning entry will be announced on Sept. 17, 2012. For full details and official rules visit www.USTAFlorida.com or www.Facebook.com/USTAFlorida.


USTA Florida Membership and Tennis: It's All in the Family for 6 Lense Kids and Parents

by Nancy Morgan, TheTennisNews.net

What started out as a simple goal of parents Anna and Alberto Lense to help their children discover a sport for a lifetime grew into tennis being the entire family's primary source of physical activity.

 
lense_kids
From left: Augustine, Ana, Andres and Antonio
Eventually, the USTA membership grew by eight!

Dad Alberto was the first USTA member, having grown up in a tennis-playing family in Treasure Island. Aspirations to excel in tennis led the young Alberto to taking some lessons from the legendary Harry Hopman. Growing up around talented juniors such as Jeff and Joey Chambers, Shawn Taylor and John Haggar, Alberto was outclassed but remained dedicated. He played on St. Petersburg Catholic High School's team and was accepted on the Eckerd College tennis team. He played all four years for the Tritons. 

"In those days, Treasure Island Tennis and Yacht Club was a junior tennis powerhouse," Alberto said, "and there was no way I could be on the same court with those guys. I still wanted to get better and would be out on the court every day."

Across the bay, Alberto's future wife Anna was learning to play tennis on her family's backyard tennis court. As a young adult, however, tennis took a back seat to her love of dancing. Not until kids came along did tennis return.

In fact, neither Anna nor Alberto touched a racquet until some of their children became involved.

"I graduated from college in 1987 and it was 16 years before I held a tennis racquet again," said Alberto, an immigration lawyer. "Our oldest, Alberto, was nine and his tennis clinics at Treasure Bay were the same time a men's league was held, so I began playing again. Now, with everyone so active in tennis, there's no time for us parents to play since we're busy shuffling everyone to and from tennis."

First-born Alberto, now 17, began playing USTA Florida Jr. Team Tennis at Treasure Bay under the tutelage of teaching pro Phil Girardi. He was soon followed by brother Alejandro, now 15, and the parents knew it was time to get a family USTA membership.

"Team tennis is so much more fun than individual," said son Alberto. "You're part of a team even though you're competing individually. I used to play other sports, but I like tennis best. If I play any other sports, it's just for fun with my friends."

Last year at Osceola High School, juniors Alberto and doubles partner Mike Detsis advanced to regional competition before losing to two players now competing at the college level. 

"We've set a goal to try to do better than last year, maybe even win state," Alberto said. "We've played doubles together since our freshman year in high school and work off each other and pick each other up when one is down."
 
At last month's USTA Florida Jr. Team Tennis Championships, brothers Alberto and Alejandro joined Mike and others to finish third in the 18s Intermediate team competition. Not to be outdone by his older brothers, Antonio, 11, played in the Jr. Team Tennis Championships in Tampa on a 12-and-under team from Hernando County. Antonio was named the event's Sportsmanship Winner. Joining Antonio at the JTT contest in Tampa were siblings Augustine, 8, and Ana, 6. Due to a shortage of players on some teams, Antonio was with Hernando 12s, Augustine with Treasure Bay 10s and Ana with McMullen 8s.
 
"We started everyone off with Phil Girardi and Dean Okrasinski at Treasure Bay, and as they all got into it, I got back into tennis, too," said dad Alberto. "The kids have primarily played there, but the two oldest also participated in the First Serve at St. Petersburg Tennis Center. My goal now is to get our youngest, three-year old Andres, able to play Jr. Team Tennis next year. That will the final year of eligibility for Jr. Team Tennis for our oldest, so, hopefully, we'll have all six playing in the same season."

What better example of tennis as a sport for the whole family?!

To see the full story with photos, go to The Tennis News website at www.thetennisnews.net/12Aug/index.html.

 

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