At Franklin High School, there are many different options for those who want to experience the thrill of making it onto a team, or discover a newfound passion for a sport that would normally never catch their attention. Franklin’s tennis team is the perfect example of how one can both have fun connecting with other players while simultaneously learning how to develop essential leadership skills.
Dana Miller has been the tennis coach for the FHS tennis team for the past ten years. Miller’s decision to become head coach was inspired by her love for the sport and her experience as a tennis player during high school. During her time as the coach, Miller has worked with many impressive students. She believes that the sport of tennis attracts “intelligent, mature, and interesting kids, so they are really fun to be around.”
However, as with any sport, there are some aspects that are not as enjoyable as others. “I would say that time is what I dislike the most. To [teach tennis well] it takes a lot of time and [being a] teach[er] doesn’t give you all that time.” Miller admits that she “wish[es] [she] had more time to get better.” If one is interested in joining the tennis team, Miller explains that “it definitely helps to be an experienced player.” If the opportunity to gain tennis experience prior to trying out is available, then she highly recommends doing so. “I would say please come, but if you can, get lessons and some experience before coming out,” Miller states. “That’s such a great help.” Nevertheless, Miller strongly encourages anyone who is interested in joining the team to try out and to not be nervous or apprehensive about it.
Whether one is a beginner or the team captain, there is always room to grow and improve. Anna Huynh (12) tried out for the tennis team this year without any prior experience. “I’m just a beginner!” exclaims Huynh. “I wanted to try out because it’s my last year and tennis was something I’ve always wanted to try.” Huynh encourages anyone who is interested “to just go for it. Do what you want to do and don’t doubt yourself.”
Kimberly Dessou (12) is the exact opposite of a beginner, as she serves as this year’s team captain alongside Kendall Beauvais (12). Although she had little experience when she first tried out the spring of her freshman year, Dessou has grown to be a vital player on the team. “I have gained a lot of experience working with my team members,” says Dessou. “Just playing and interacting with everyone gives me the opportunity to work as a family and learn to be more comfortable with people I wouldn’t normally work with.” When considering whether or not she will continue tennis post-high school, Dessou says that she most definitely would love to play beyond graduation. “In the long run, it’s an amazing sport that you will keep playing as you get older; with your friends, family and even your kids.”
Another important player on the team is Jimmy Le (12). Le served as the team captain last year and has been playing for Franklin for four years. However, he has “only in the past two years began taking [tennis] more seriously.” Le decided to try out for his freshman year because he too wanted to try something new. “I think that’s the reason why most people try tennis,” states Le. “It isn’t one of the ‘main’ sports at Franklin, but is sadly quite overlooked and under-supported by the community.” Miller agrees that the team is overlooked when compared to other teams at Franklin such as football or basketball. “I would say that tennis overall is underrepresented, and obviously it doesn’t compare to the NFL or other football teams.”
As part of his role as last year’s team captain, Le worked towards building a team that players could feel comfortable participating in. “I love the team’s chemistry. We all hang out with each other and the family-like bond we have makes us a great team.” During his time on the tennis team, Le has had countless opportunities to understand his love for his teammates and the sport itself. “My best memory is when we played our first match last season and how we were able to share our energy and uplift each other. This upcoming season is a real turning point with a lot of potential, so I plan on keeping this fire and winning!” Le advises anyone who would like to be a part of this incredible team to seriously invest their time into the sport. “Tennis will not only be a hobby, but a way of life, self-motivation, and leadership.”
The Franklin tennis team is an extremely rewarding and exciting experience filled with many memorable moments for everyone involved. Whether one is looking to try out or just simply wants to watch from the sidelines, the FHS tennis team will most definitely leave a lasting positive impact on anyone interested in tennis.