Updated: May 12
Brenda, Monica, and I were fortunate enough to be invited to the dedication of the "Combaq Courts" at the Shaquille O'Neal Boys & Girls Club in McDonough. This multifaceted court complex includes a basketball court, a soccer field, hopscotch, four square, and .....a TENNIS COURT that is also lined for pickleball!!
Ebony McClendon, Executive Director of the Shaquille O'Neal Boys & Girls Club was the master of ceremonies that included speeches by President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta David Jernigan, McDonough Mayor Sandra Vincent, Sheriff Reginald Scandrett, and of course Shaquille O'Neal. Mr. Jernigan spoke about the importance of physical spaces and their impact and signaling that the kids matter, while Major. Vincent remarked on the importance of education, mentorship and a safe and nurturing environment. Sheriff Scandrett expressed the need to invest in our children consistently to influence them, mold them and great things can happen when we plant the right seed in the right soil.
Finally, it was Shaq's turn and he stated that he had sat in the very seat of the kids before him. "I was once you" he said. He said that the Combaq Court at this Club would be the 4th that he's provided. He then expressed how important it was for him growing up to listen to his mom and dad and counselors. He then asked who was the best basketball player at the Club and challenged them to make a 3 pointer and if successful, he would give every kid there an Apple MacPro laptop. He allowed three kids the opportunity...but it only took one, as the first boy absolutely nailed the three-pointer!! Nothing but NET!! Shaq then commenced to negotiating with the boy...if you make another one, I'll give you the MacBook and a pair to shoes...but if you miss, you get nothing! That was a no go. Then he offered to buy him a car next year if he made another shot...another no go. Finally, he offered $10K if he made another shot. The boy....and the rest of the kids were not having it. So Shaq then had to live up to his commitment to provide the computers!
After that, it was time for pictures and free play for the kids! Monica, Brenda, and I seized the opportunity to step foot on and then play on the new Tennis Court!! After a year of teaching tennis at the Club on the old Basketball court and then on the track around the football field, we can't wait until next Wednesday in which we will be able to teach our first lesson at The Shaquille O'Neal Boys & Girls Club on an actual tennis court!!
If you'd like to try tennis for yourself, RSVP for our upcoming FREE tennis Clinics at Richard Club Park or our Summer Apprentice Program at www.abovethenettennis.org/events