Another day at the office

An insight into Boys’ 12s National Clay Courts in Charleston written by the parent of a JTCC player:

I clearly remember stepping out of CHS (Charleston International Airport) this past July and feeling the heat and humidity as it hit you like a brick wall.  My first thought was… “Would it be wrong for me as a father to head straight to the beach instead of finding my son, whom I hadn’t seen for a week?”

Alas, the guilt crept in and I meandered to the hotel that had been “home” to my son, another JTCC player, and Ben Cappuccitti (senior coach at JTCC) for the past 3 days.  They had just come back to the hotel from lunch and a rigorous morning hitting session.

I was expecting to find my son missing me desperately and I was shocked, to say the least, when he barely noticed I was there.  As I wallowed in my own pity to understand his response, I came to the realization that he was actually acting as if he were at home.  A similar trust, comfort and security that we provided for him a hundred miles away was being provided to him in Charleston by his coach.

This admiration and respect for the many things that Ben provided would be reinforced over the next 8 days.

The players were in Charleston, SC for the National Clay Court Championships.  Ben had actually arrived 3 days earlier than needed to get the players ready.  Twice a day for 3 days, he took the players out in the excruciating Charleston heat to prepare.  Three players quickly blossomed to 6 on the eve of the tournament as other JTCC players made their way to Charleston.

The next 8 days were filled with torrential rain and thunder, necessitating countless delays, finding alternative sites, no ad matches and 8 game pro sets in doubles.    The JTCC players could be found playing at the same time at multiple sites.  This led to much frustration for the players and their families.

Somehow, Ben never missed a beat.  Whether it was watching more than one match at a time, texting parents at different sites for updates or arranging the next practice session, Ben knew what was going on at all times.  The families would get texts from 6 in the morning to as late as midnight reminding us when and where to be for practices and matches.

What this really meant was that Ben was working constantly with no break in sight.  There was no time to enjoy a good meal or spend time at the beach.  And never once did I see anything but a smile whether it was 7 in the morning or 9 at night.

Perhaps the most important thing that I learned about Ben went far beyond the reaches of tennis.  He showed how much he cared for each of the players and their families, regardless of a win or a loss.  Whether it was a hand clap for a great point, a smile for a great win, or a moment of silence after a tough loss, Ben made everyone feel special.  During these moments you realized that the lessons the players learned were not just about tennis.  They learned about the value of respect, trust and perseverance.  And it is these lessons that will carry them far beyond their playing days.

Thanks to Ben and thanks to all the JTCC coaches who make such sacrifices in the lives of their players.

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