And we’re off!
Day 1 tournament play began with a bang as players, coaches and officials gathered around the American flag for the singing of the National Anthem performed by Elizabeth Harrison, a player from the 14U Advanced Idaho Falls team representing USTA Intermountain.
With an eager crowd awaiting match play to begin, each team took a little time getting to know each other better as they took part in what now has become a customary tradition - every year before their first match, opposing teams take part in an on-court gift exchange. The gifts reflect a local flavor respective to each USTA section.
"The gift exchange is a great way for teams to socialize with one another." Marikate Murren, Jr. Team Tennis Manager stated. "Many of the kids keep in touch well after the tournament and some even develop lifelong friendships.
The Summerline Spinners from Las Vegas, NV represented their hometown well as they offered an authentic playing card deck from a popular Vegas Casino. "You can’t get anymore Vegas then that, " a Spinners parent commented.
The New England 14U Advanced team added a very personal touch to the gift exchange. "We gave the opposing team tennis hats with our team name and emblem on it, " said player Emma Kistler. "We wanted them to bring home something that would remind them of the positive experience they shared in Surprise."
While the players get acquainted through the gift exchange, the competition will no doubt heat up as Day 1 continues and tournament play intensifies.