The Hawaii Pacific 14 Advanced team and their banner.
© Jennifer Pottheiser
The Midwest 14 Advanced team and their banner.
© Jennifer Pottheiser
by Sarah Houseknecht, Special to USTA.com
Cayce, S.C -- For the past five years, teams that qualify for the JTT National Championships have been asked to create a team banner that represents their team, hometown and anything else they would like to share with the other 63 teams at Nationals in Cayce, S.C.
All of the teams carried their banners proudly in the Opening Ceremony Thursday night at Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center. Now hanging around the grounds, the JTT staff has until Sunday’s award ceremony to admire the artwork and decide which teams will be named this year’s Advanced and Intermediate Banner Award Winners.
All 64 banners show off the personality of the players and coaches that created them. Let’s take a look at a few…
Midwest 14 – Advanced
The Midwest 14 – Advanced team turned its banner into an American flag. The players proudly displayed their USTA section title reading, "2012 Midwest Champions." The traditional flag stars were replaced with tennis balls, each showing a player’s name.
Team New England 14 – Intermediate
In addition to its skilled tennis players, Team New England must have a masterful artist on its roster! This banner is a detailed sketch of Connecticut, pin pointing their hometown, Old Saybrook, Conn., covered with giant tennis balls each displaying a team-member’s name.
Delaware Nightmare 14 – Advanced
The Delaware Nightmare squad perfectly portrayed its team theme. The banner shows two tennis racquets being shredded by one terror of a tennis ball! The Nightmare is hoping this visual translates to its on-court action at Nationals against a tough pool of opponents.
NM 10S 14 – Intermediate
The Lobos from New Mexico spiced it up by incorporating lights in the banner. As they carried the banner around center court Thursday evening, it was shinning bright for all of the competition and spectators to see; reading, "Go Lobos."
Hawaii Pacific 14 – Intermediate
Hawaii Pacific went above and beyond the call of duty; this artwork had true meaning behind it! Each player and coach was portrayed as a different character. The banner showed the team spirit of aloha (meaning hello, goodbye, and love).
With thought and detail, the banner displays Hawaiian field mice, lizards, mongoose and sea horses, in addition to the Hawaii Pacific team-members, described below by the team themselves.
Coach Albert – The Lifeguard: "Saves lives by making tennis the model of how the team tries to live: with spirit, camaraderie, personal effort, and integrity."
Assistant Coach Sam – The Tiki God of Volcanoes: An introspective and knowledgeable source of power for team Hawaii Pacific. "His reliable and mature leadership helps us play with honesty, all-out effort, and responsibility."
Maia – The Heart of the Hibiscus: The youngest member of the team who represents the Hawaii state flower, the hibiscus. Beautiful and delicate in appearance, but strong and hardy enough to withstand torrential hurricane forces, the hibiscus and Maia bloom wherever planted.
Matthew - The Mischievous Menehune: Legendary in his magical abilities to disarm opponents with his deceptively radiant smile, powerful endurance, and ability to conjure up mystical athletic maneuvers.
Evan – The Honu Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle: "Reminds us that a fearless spirit and boundless energy can overcome overwhelming odds.Though the Honu is on the endangered species list, Evan is the danger on the courts."
Eileen – The Dolphin Rider: "Combines the moves of a ballet dancer with athletic prowess to skillfully ride the waves!"
Todd – The Surfing Dude: "Gives us the ‘Shaka!’ sign, the friendly hand greeting Hawaiians give to each other to say, ‘hi.’"
Hailey – The Windsurfer: Quiet dignity, gentle cooperation, and thoughtful consideration for the rest of the human race. "Hailey negotiates the challenges on the courts with the same patience."
Cambrie – The Hula Dancer: Poetry in motion, whose grace, charm, and engaging smile mask incredible athletic ability.
Christopher – The Mano, Tiger Shark: Has an insatiable appetite for eating and is an ominous force of power… when fed.
Sammy – The He'e, Hawaiian Octopus: Master at multi-tasking and adapting himself to any environment. "His large brain to body ratio, problem-solving skills, and multiple defense mechanisms make Sammy a sought-after doubles partner as well as an awesome singles player."
Check back Sunday to see which banner wins the JTT Advanced and Intermediate Banner Awards.