Callie Watford’s coaching story is a familiar one: A child wanted to play a sport and there were not enough adults to coach.
Recently, Watford was one of several volunteers recognized as Passionate Parents by the Charleston Tennis Initiative during the Family Circle Cup.
“It’s been cool to get back in it. My boys wanted to play. They had a tennis team and too many players, so I started helping out,” said Watford, the mother of four boys with strong ties to Drayton Hall Elementary. She grew up in a tennis-playing family but elected to play golf at the College of Charleston.
Her mother, Carolyn Sanders, taught at Drayton Hall for a number of years when it was a middle school.
Watford said Drayton Hall has four teams this year, two that play in the younger division and two that play in the older division.
She said the school has been very successful in the tennis league, winning trophies each of the last three years.
“We’ve had three or four matches going a week,” she added, noting that on a recent day all four teams were playing at the same time at different locations.
“We play all over the tri-county area. Fortunately, we have a lot of parents that volunteer. We have a parent for every court during the matches, helping keep score and calling the lines.”
Watford said half of the kids who come out for tennis have never played the game, but they pick it up quickly.
“We start practicing in January (twice a week) and our first matches are the beginning of March. Just in that amount of time they learn to score and learn how to call the lines,” Watford said, adding that once matches begin, they practice only once a week.
“They run, they exercise, they play matches in practices. It’s amazing to see them.”
Grayson Clontz (right) watches as Drayton Hall Elementary School tennis teammate Parker Watford participates in a relay race at the Family Circle Cup’s Kids Day.×
Parker Watford (left) of the Drayton Hall Elementary tennis team passes the racquet to teammate Grayson Clontz during a Kids Day activity at the Family Circle Cup.×
Robert Hart hits a shot during the event.×