Yesterday we shared another USTA Play Day with the kids of OKC First Serve at the Oklahoma City Tennis Center. It was a fun afternoon watching our kids play matches and get some awesome coaching. It was also an opportunity for our kids to wish Coach Jessica Reineke “Happy Birthday!” The kids signed a huge tennis ball, passed out hugs, and ate cookies in her honor. Needless to say, it was a great day!
Jessica’s life and love for our kids is such a beautiful illustration of the difference one life can make in the lives of others. A couple of years ago Steve Porter and I were taking our kids to the courts a couple of Sundays a month. It was fun, Steve’s heart for the kids is bigger than Texas, but when it came to coaching tennis…the two of us could only do so much.
Then, along came Jessica. Her enthusiasm, dedication, and the experience she gained playing all-star level tennis at the University of Oklahoma was exactly what we needed for our program. God provided exactly what we needed to be able to do more than simply have fun with the kids. Since Jessica joined our team we’ve seen our kids and our program grow in so many ways. We have five “Cheetahs,” our 6-8 year olds, taking lessons each Tuesday afternoon with Brad Lund and Rob Braver, two of our other excellent coaches. We have five older kids, ages 11-14, taking lessons each Saturday with Elna Wilson, a standout tennis player from Mississippi State whose love for our kids is even greater than her tennis abilities! We now have three of our kids, Evonne Henderson, Kennedy Luther, and Tokara Henderson taking lessons at the Greens Country Club four days a week!
At the heart of the BCC Tennis Academy is a heart to minister to kids. With Jessica and our other coach’s dedication and love we are developing championship tennis players that you will hear about in years to come, but even more importantly, we are using tennis as a vehicle to plant God’s Word deep in their hearts. On Sunday, once we finished our time on the court, we had the “Word for the Day,” our time in God’s Word. I shared with the kids from 1 Timothy 4:12, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” We talked about how our coaches set an example for the kids on the court and now they have the opportunity to set an example for others at school, at home, and everywhere else they go during the week. I love sharing God’s Word with our kids!!
Steve and I never dreamed that one day our Sunday afternoon trips to the tennis courts would evolve into what we are seeing unfold before our eyes. We are so grateful for the Lord sending us Jessica who has put together such an incredible team of phenomenal coaches to work with our kids. Jessica, Elna, Rob, Brad, Henry, and Steve are more than great coaches…they love our kids and pour their hearts and souls into them each and every week. Can one person make a difference? Just ask one of our kids and you’ll find out!!
Happy Birthday Coach Jessica!