The positive impact of sports on youth was something on everyone’s lips right after Trinidad and Tobago’s successful campaign at the Olympics. However, what are often overlooked are the unending hurdles one must leap over to truly become a competitive sport person, especially if you are still in school juggling an academic and social life. Fifteen-year-old Ethan Ammon started (and coached), the St. Mary’s College Tennis Club over the past year, noting, “If you really want something, you have to be prepared for the sacrifices and be ready to commit. You have to love it.” It is wonderful to celebrate success, but as Ammon stated, one must be prepared for the commitment and sacrifices. It is no secret that sport brings golden opportunities, but this does not come without dedication. Ammon, no novice to the game of tennis, has been in training since he was eight. His advice to budding tennis players is to have “Focus, consistency and drive.” Already a victor in the International Tennis Federation Under-14 tournament in Barbados, Ammon still sees big challenges ahead, acknowledging that having balance and discipline are vital to his upcoming competitions. His love for the sport is something truly admirable. Described by his peers as energetic, he is an exemplar to upcoming young sport stars as his worth is not only centred on his achievements, but the work he has put into being a top tennis player.
When asked what he ultimately hopes to achieve in his field, the youngster answered, “To do something no one has done before.” Ammon added that his immediate goal was to break into the Top 500 of the International Tennis Federation. He also set himself to eventually join the ranks of the Association of Tennis Professionals. Already admired by his colleagues locally, Ammon frequents international events, recently competing in the Junior International Tennis Championships in El Salvador. Taking the positive traits of role model tennis players, such as the “just do it” attitude of Rafael Nadal, Ammon has equipped himself with not only tennis gear, but the essential self-motivation, which is the key to being a winner both on and off the court. It would be a great victory for this tennis player when he achieves his goals. Still, as we have done with our Olympic athletes, we should praise Ammon’s continued ‘focus, consistency and drive’.