The high humidity and early rain didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the 57 junior tennis players competing in Hampton Racquet Club’s annual Hampton Cup tennis tournament on Saturday, August 18. Players aged four to 12, on all levels, had the opportunity to both learn and play in the tournament.
According to executive director and co-owner of Hampton Racquet, John Graham, “We have two things going on in the tournament. The youngest kids get a chance to play in a tournament for fun and the older ones can get their first taste of a real-style competition in a non-threatening way from a tennis standpoint.”
The family fun event, which included a bouncy castle, dunk tank, an arcade, face painting, an obstacle course, and barbecue benefitted Project MOST. Project MOST’s development director Susan Hanley said, “Both John Graham and his sister Monica, the owners of Hampton Racquet, have always been huge supporters of Project MOST. John started this program and he believes so strongly in what we do for the children. He has always done events to help support us. He’s a hero to us at Project MOST.”
Graham said he views the event as a way of bringing the community together. “There are a lot of summer communities and local communities here. I’m a big supporter of Project MOST. We do camps with them and help them with a lot of things. Now I’m trying to bring them into the tennis program.”
He added, “I’ve given a lot of scholarships to the Project MOST kids to enable them to come to our camp. I want to bring tennis into their program. I hope with this event will bring awareness to the summer communities that there is a local community here that has some needs. All of the entry fees will go to benefit Project MOST and [The Racquet Club] usually double and sometimes triple match what is collected.”
Victor Eddy Diaz, a Springs student, said he has participated in Project MOST for five years. “I started when I was in kindergarten. It’s a good program. I really like it.”
His mother, Arely Castillo, couldn’t agree more. “Project MOST is the best program. It helps parents and the community and it really helps working parents. The children can get help with their homework and they make sure that it gets done. They also provide a safe place for the children to play and be able to be with friends.”
The tournament concluded with an awards ceremony, and the top four players in each age group received a medal and a trophy. “It was a fun day for everyone,” said Cosmo Bardan, one of the head coaches. “Everyone tried hard and a few of the little ones even beat John Graham!”