Adaptive Tennis / Ballboy
I think the best understanding of adaptive tennis comes from reading the mission statement of the Addaptive Tennis Association of North Carolina:
The mission of the ATANC (Adaptive Tennis Association of North Carolina) is to strive to provide a positive tennis experience, enhancing the mental, physical, emotional, and social well being of individuals with intellectual disabilities through their learning the skills required to participate and compete in the sport of tennis.
But it goes beyond that. The USTA/Adaptive Tennis Homeoage states:
Tennis is for ANYONE and EVERYONE
The game of tennis can be adapted to accommodate any age, environment, condition, or disability. The charge of USTA Adaptive Tennis is to promote and develop recreational tennis opportunities for individuals with varying abilities and circumstances through inclusion, knowledge, and support. The USTA continues to support programming for individuals with physical, developmental, and situational challenges.
I remember seeing this ballboy at the U.S. Open. As Paul Harvey would say “Now you know the rest of the story.”
Wounded Vet Snags Balls and Limelight at US Open
Army veteran Ryan McIntosh inspires others as a ballperson at the US Open.
Ballpersons at the US Open are at their best if they are neither seen nor heard while doing their job. But at the 2012 Open, we heard a lot about a ballperson named Ryan McIntosh.
He’s a 23-year-old from San Antonio, Texas, an Army veteran who lost a leg when he stepped on a land mine in Afghanistan. This year while participating at the Wounded Warrior Games in Colorado, Ryan learned of the USTA’s Military Outreach program and the ballpersons’ tryouts. Wearing either a prosthesis in a Nike running shoe or the bended metal leg with a thick rubber sole often seen now at amputee track meets, he was able to do everything required of a ballperson, and was one of the 250 out of more than 500 hopefuls selected to participate.
While Ryan had always played a variety of sports before his injury, tennis wasn’t one of them. In addition to the running, scooping, throwing, squatting and standing in extreme weather conditions a ballperson must be able to do, he also had to learn the sport, things like how tiebreakers work.
Ryan obviously learned quickly and well, as he joined 25-year-old Denise Castelli, another right leg amputee, from New Jersey, who was working her second US Open. Both were utilized at many matches, including Ryan at the Djokovic/Ferrer semi-final and Castelli at the women’s final.
At the pinnacle of tennis, the US Open, the seemingly disabled proved to be more than able — and grateful for the opportunity to show the world so.
Usually if we talk about adaptive tennis, we are talking about people playing tennis. Here is a clip from You Tube:
Comment from You Tube:
alloneword154 2 years ago
I’am an able bodied person who has played tennis for 14 years now, and I’am so glad to see this video. I know the joy tennis has brought me and to see these kids enjoy it too is truly heart warming.