The sun is out and the wind blows cool across the tennis court. Onlookers watch through shaded trees and sports visors. Ace! Jimmy Le (12) spins his racquet and catches a flying tennis ball for his next serve, throwing a smirk back to his teammates on the side. Jimmy has been playing Franklin Tennis all throughout high school and is the varsity team captain for his second year.
Le first got into tennis freshman year. “I was really close to my Link [Crew] leader, and he played tennis,” says Le. “I was volunteering and he was like, ‘hey, you should try out for tennis’ and I was like ‘sure, but I don’t have a racquet.’” But Le did try out, and he did make the team. As a freshman he mostly played tennis for fun but was encouraged by his teammates and coaches to continue. Come junior year, he stepped up to become varsity team captain. Usually high school sports leave team captain for seniors, but the coach saw Le as a highly responsible athlete.
Through high school alone Le has had three different tennis coaches, but he continues to be a constant in the program and to his team. “Before I was team captain, the team had always been divided—there is a gap between JV and varsity—but we improved the relationship between these groups and basically the whole team,” says Le. Team chemistry is a very important part of athletics; if you aren’t getting along with your team or don’t even know them, how are you supposed to compete with them? “Honestly the biggest accomplishment was building a good team bond, that actually made us win more too. It doesn’t matter what position you play, or the ranking on the team, everyone’s together.”
“Tennis is something I never saw myself doing and was one of the things where I was just like, whatever I’m gonna try it out,” says Le. “That’s always been me. I played basketball and then stopped, and started breakdancing a lot.” Along with a couple of friends, he founded the Franklin Breakers, a group of breakdancers within the Franklin High School community who competed in talent shows and breakdance battles. Dance brought him to hip hop, which led him to rap and featuring on a hit track with some friends from Vietnam on SoundCloud. “Things shift with time management, so it’s more tennis now, but I’m still breakdancing, still battling,” Le explains.
After graduation, Le plans on attending the University of Texas in San Antonio where he will continue to play club tennis. Club tennis is a level with less responsibility than top division in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which will provide him with more time to explore his future studies. But it still brings the competitive atmosphere of intercollegiate tennis tournaments. “I’m gonna miss the Franklin team the most because it becomes real when it’s your last year and you’re a senior and you’re about to leave soon, you gotta leave a legacy behind,” says Le. “I’m gonna miss the team, but I’m so happy that I was able to be introduced to it at Franklin.”