LONGTIME PALS PROMOTING TENNIS IN ANGUILLA

anguillian
By anguillian January 29, 2018 09:43 Updated

 

 

 

Mr. Mitch Lake and Mr. Jason Allen

Mr. Mitch Lake and Mr. Jason Allen

Jason Allen had been a popular name in Anguilla for several years, teaching tennis at various places including the Anguilla Tennis Academy, hotels, and the Albena Lake-Hodge Comprehensive School where he also taught Spanish. He lived in Anguilla from June 2005 to 2010 when the tennis facility had not long opened.

Today, he resides and works in the United States, his country, but maintains a strong association with the Anguilla Tennis Academy, working with its founder, Mitch Lake, to promote the sport on the island.

Jason, accompanied by Mitch, popped in at The Anguillian newspaper, this week, where he once served as a Journalist, to express his pleasure to be visiting the island after a long absence, and to say how he continues to support the Anguilla Tennis Academy. Together, he and Lake have occasionally travelled to several big tennis events, in the United States, including the traditional children’s Easter Egg-Roll” function at The White House. Both of them attended an event in Tampa, Florida, called “the Joy of Giving” when they gave presents to 10,000 needy children and set up a tennis booth for them. Jason has now been in Anguilla performing a coaching stint at the Tennis Academy.

“Jason is a long-time friend and we played college tennis together,” Mitch recalled. “He has been a very good coach and has helped me with my tennis games throughout my career. Having the privilege to bring him to Anguilla to work with the Anguilla Tennis Academy to help develop the programme from 2005 to 2010, not only gave him an opportunity to help grow the sport of tennis in Anguilla. It has also given him the opportunity to broaden his horizon internationally, as well as to get a prestigious job at the United States Tennis Center. It just goes to show that on a little island, like Anguilla, we can still make great things happen.
“With this partnership and collaboration, I am able to travel with Jason and be exposed to some great events through tennis, and we are now able to provide bigger opportunities for the children of Anguilla. It goes to show that the facility that I created 22 years ago, to change the lives of children in a positive way through tennis, has now opened up doors that persons would not have imagined were possible. I think the sky is the limit for us, and that Anguilla ought to continue to cherish the Anguilla Tennis Academy because the possibilities for our children to truly have great opportunities to develop their lives in tennis are real. Having Jason come back to impart the knowledge and skills that he has acquired over the years, at the United States Tennis Center, is a dream come true for me, the coaches of Anguilla and, by extension, the children because we cannot afford to pay for this kind of help we are getting.”

Speaking about his own successes, Jason said in part: “When I left Anguilla I remained in the tennis industry for a year as a tennis professional. After that I went back into public education and became a high school teacher – teaching Spanish at Page High School in Greensboro, North Carolina. Later, I pursued a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership, and shortly afterwards I was employed as an Administrator at the high school level. I stayed in that position for almost three years.

“Through the help of a very dear friend I got a job at the USTA (United States Tennis Center), the governing body of tennis in America, and she got a very large director’s position and needed to hire five managers for the various departments she oversees. I [got]… the job as Manager of the Wheelchair Tennis and Technical Departments of the USTA. My main job is to grow the sport of wheelchair tennis which is the most professionalised and integrated of all the disabled sports of the world. I learned how to grow grassroots programmes here in Anguilla, working with the Anguilla Tennis Academy.”

About his plans for Anguilla, he said: “I am hoping to bring some of the top Anguillian coaches and players up to our facility to train with some of our juniors. Mitch and I will continue to collaborate as we have done for a long time.” He has also promised to, along with Mitch, arrange for Leah Freidman, the USTA’s Skilled Manager, to come to Anguilla to conduct a special tennis coaching event for children.

anguillian
By anguillian January 29, 2018 09:43 Updated

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