TORRINGTON – May is National Tennis Month, and on Thursday, May 12, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon declared May to be Tennis Month in Wyoming at a public signing and celebration at the State Capital in Cheyenne.
Mary Perkins and Lauren Shields have taken it upon themselves to support and promote tennis within the Torrington community.
Perkins, a former Torrington High School tennis coach, is currently a member of the Wyoming United States Tennis Association board member, while Shields currently helps coach the Blazer tennis teams.
After retiring from the school district, she joined the Wyoming USTA board to continue to promote tennis and support it in hopes of getting more people involved.
“It’s to bring an awareness back to tennis and what it does for everyone from young kids to senior citizens,” Perkins said. “Part of the push is to try to get things going in your community, to get people out there, to get people to see the benefit of tennis and have fun with the game.”
As part of National Tennis Month, Shields and the THS tennis team will be hosting a free Tennis Festival on Saturday, May 14. It is open to anyone of all ages who is interested in tennis.
“It’s going to be a fun event for all ages,” Shield said.
She currently has a majority of the high school tennis team set to participate in the event.
“If it’s just them, we’ll just play and do some drills,” Shields said. “If I can get some people from the community, we’ll teach them some skills they need, and if they want to play against some of the high school kids to see how they do, we’ll get them out there and get some awareness going.”
As a result, the USTA will cite the team for helping support tennis in the state of Wyoming.
“They call tennis a gentlemen’s sport,” Shields said. “You’re only supposed to cheer at certain times. It’s all about sportsmanship and honesty. There are no refs to yell at. Talk about the best way to teach sportsmanship to kids and the importance of honesty and integrity in playing a sport. That’s one of the cool things about tennis.”
For kids wanting to try their hand at the sport but don’t have the equipment, they can check out tennis racquets and tennis balls from either the Goshen County Library or the Trail Elementary Library free of charge. There will also be plenty of racquets and balls to go around on Saturday at the courts.
“If it goes well at the Goshen County Library once the schools are out for the summer, I’m going to talk to Cristine (Braddy) about keeping those tennis racquets there and available,” Perkins said. “They have tags on them which takes them to Net Generation. There are things you can do in your backyard with a laundry basket. It gives them the opportunity to go on and see what kind of things parents can do with their kids with the racquets that doesn’t require a big tennis court.”
Perkins said the process for checking out the tennis racquets and balls from the library is the same as if they were checking out a book.
“Because we don’t have a rec center or anyone doing anything recreational here, you got to find creative ways to get kids out and doing things,” Perkins said. “Our library is doing some amazing things.”
The Tennis Festival will be held at the courts next to the Torrington Middle School, beginning at noon. For more information about the event contact Shields by email at [email protected]