Tennis for Kids program has become a York County institution over the past three decades

  • The Tennis for Kids program recently wrapped up its 29th season in York County.
  • The program attracted more than 1,200 kids at 21 different sites.

T.J. McGraw was a Tennis for Kids kid when he was growing up in York.

"The instructors helped me with my game," said McGraw, who graduated from York Catholic High School this year. "My instructors drilled in us the fundamentals."

The Tennis for Kids program just wrapped up its 29th season in York County. YORK DISPATCH FILE PHOTO

McGraw has been passing on the lessons he learned as a youngster to a new generation of players.

McGraw, who played football and tennis at York Catholic, is an instructor in the Tennis for Kids program, which concluded its 29th season in York County this past Friday.

"As  an instructor, you want to be a role model for them (the players)," McGraw said. "I've seen kids grow up and end up playing for their high school tennis teams."

McGraw and the other instructors were on the four courts at York Suburban Middle School on Friday working with a group of 40 youngsters.

"It's always great to get a chance to do this each year," McGraw said. "My first year, my mom and grandfather were in charge  here."

Short still helping at 80: McGraw's grandfather, Jim Short, is 80, but he still spends part of every summer helping youngsters with their tennis games. Short is the site director at York Suburban Middle School.

"This is my ninth season," Short said. "My daughter, Tracey Nagley, was the site director when I started and I was the assistant site director. I have a love of tennis, and the desire to work with kids."

Short has a lot of fond moments of his time spent on the court watching youngsters develop their forehands, backhands and serves.

"To see kids as they progress is really rewarding," Short said. "One day, a little guy told me that he practiced for four hours."

Short played baseball growing up, but he eventually had to put away his glove, but not his racket.

"I can't play tennis competitively any more, but I can still hit the ball," he said. "God willing, I'm probably going to come back next year. This keeps me young, and I love working with kids."

Renoll wins mini-tournament: The youngsters were treated to ice cream following Friday's session, but not before the older players competed in a mini-tournament.

Ryan Renoll, 14, who will be a freshman at York Catholic this year, came out on top.

"All the people here were nice, especially the instructors," Renoll said. "At the beginning, I wasn't any good. Now, I'm a winner."

More than 1,200 kids involved: Tennis for Kids director Tim Law said he was "really excited about everything" involving this year's program.

"We had about 1,240 kids involved at 21 sites," Law said. "Also, we're going to have a fundraiser on Saturday, Aug. 4 at the Revs' stadium."

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