Winner Wonderland: Tacoma

Coach Mueller has been an extraordinary tennis coach for the past three years at Pitts-Ashburton Elementary in Baltimore. Don't let his smile fool you, because Coach Mueller can get really competitive! He pushes our ACE-ers to be better, faster, and stronger athletes. Here is his Winner Wonderland story, “Time Out”:

“Toes on line one!” Coach Mueller says.  I get up and run to line one as fast as I can. “Jog to line three.” I start my warm up like I do every time I come to tennis.  Coach Mueller always ends the warm up with run as fast as you can.  I try my hardest to beat him, but he is always too fast.  As we sit in the circle in the middle of the gym, I learn about important skills that I can use while I play tennis and in my life outside the court.  Today’s word is perseverance.  Coach Susan is explaining how to use perseverance when times get tough. 

After the Coaches show us an example, we practice wall hits.  I drop the ball and hit the ball toward the wall.  I hit it too hard. The ball bounces away.  I go and get my ball from across the gym and come back to my spot. “This is hard, but I can do this!” I say to myself. I try again.  This time the ball bounces off the wall and I hit it back.  I hit the ball to the wall, let it bounce, and hit it again. I count seven times in a row before I miss again. 

Toward the end of practice, Coach Susan says that we are going to play time out. I love playing time out. It helps me use some of the skills I learned in practice. We get in two lines. Coach Mueller throws the ball across the net. I hit it. The ball hits the net. I am in time out. I have to go to the other side with Coach Mueller. If I catch someone’s ball I can go back over the other side. A few more students go and safely hit the ball on the other side without it being caught and some are in time out with me. Christian hits the ball and I catch it. I go back to the other side. I think to myself, this game is tough, but I am determined to win. It comes down to me. If I get it over the net without the ball being caught I will win. Coach Mueller tosses the ball and I hit it over the net. The crowd tries to catch it but the ball falls to the ground. I win! I kept trying even when tennis was tough. When I experience tough times, I will use perseverance that I learned by being a part of The ACE Project.

We love-love when our young ACE-ers are able to put the many lessons they learn through our programs directly into practice! You can help create more inspiring stories like this by contributing to our Winner Wonderland $16k campaign today. We appreciate your support!

Susan Klumpner