Kay McDaniel Tennis Clinic Another Success
The 29th annual Kay McDaniel Summer Tennis Clinic, held at Lee University, recently concluded with 225 participants. Children ages 6-13 came from several cities to learn from director Kay McDaniel and 40 other instructors.
According to McDaniel, participants not only learned how to play tennis, but were taught life skills and Christian principles that will impact their lives off the courts as well.
This year’s theme was “God calls you friend” based on Proverbs 17:17. Campers learned about characteristics of friendship such as love, loyalty, sacrifice, and trustworthiness and heard about biblical friendships such as Jonathon and David and Ruth and Naomi.
“After having to cancel last summer because of COVID-19, it was so exciting to get back to the courts and love on these precious kids,” said McDaniel. “Parents were eager to see them on the courts as well. We’re really a family with some exceptional instructors volunteering at my clinics for 10-18 years now. Nearly half of the participants each year are first timers, and it is a joy to welcome them into our family.”
In lieu of the typical “red carpet” award ceremony held at the clinic’s conclusion, each instructor held their own award ceremony with their group.
McDaniel gave the “Most Inspiring Head Instructor” award to Dr. Shane Brown and the “Most Inspiring Junior Instructor” to Matthew Thomae. Danielle Darcy, Luke Stepp, and John Wood received the “Most Devoted Award” for their 6-7 consecutive years of participation.
According to McDaniel, many kids who learn the game of tennis at her clinics keep playing and earn spots on middle school and high school teams all over Cleveland and surrounding cities. Several of the instructors also played in the state tournament this year.
McDaniel is a former world ranked professional tennis player. She captivated her audience every day by sharing inspiring personal stories of how she overcame difficult obstacles to reach the top echelon of professional world tennis. From age 11, she dreamed of becoming a professional tennis player. Her first tennis racket was a Green Stamp racket where McDaniel collected over 10,000 stamps to fill 10 Sperry & Hutchinson books to obtain it. Her mother sewed all her tennis clothes until age 15 when top sponsors, such as Fila, Adidas, TAIL, and Nike, sponsored her tennis career.
An early setback was the death of McDaniel’s tennis coach, and later an injury threatened her pro career until God miraculously healed it. She later realized her dream by competing at tennis’ Grand Slams for six years against legendary players such as Billie Jean King, Martina
Navratilova, Chris Evert, and Steffi Graf. She rose to the top 35 in the world in singles and held a #20 world ranking in doubles. She won several professional tournaments and at the end of her career, she won the Concord Award for the “Fastest Serve in Women’s Tennis.”
“I’m thankful to Lee University’s president, Dr. Mark Walker, for his generous support of these clinics,” said McDaniel. “It is a tremendous outreach , not only to our great community, but also to the many surrounding cities that are represented each year.”