Tennis, House Hunters, and Net Generation
June 25, 2019
Tennis Teacher Spotlight: Matt Farina
Tennis Teacher Spotlight: Matt Farina
Matt Farina is adding lines to his personal resume.
Proud father and husband. Physical education teacher. Community leader.
And... Television star?
Farina, a physical education teacher at Mount Pleasant Elementary School in Delaware, was featured earlier this year on the popular T.V. series House Hunters. He first shared the news on his personal Facebook account, getting close to 1,000 likes — many of which were followed by texts, calls, emails and, of course, views.
As a teacher, Farina is one of the many to have taken advantage of the USTA's Net Generation tennis brand offerings. He now runs tennis programming in his class after working closely with local Tennis Service Representative Kelly Rasero, who trained the Brandywine School District's physical educators on teaching tennis in their classrooms.
School teachers that take advantage of Net Generation benefit from free curriculum guides, equipment and local support.
The equipment includes a roller bag, youth racquets, balls, chalk, tape and more.
We talked with Farina about teaching tennis and his experience on House Hunters.
Read Below ~ A Conversation with Matt Farina ~
A Conversation with Matt Farina
How are you currently involved with tennis inside and outside of school? How has tennis gone in your PE Class?
Last year our entire PE department of the Brandywine School District was afforded the opportunity to take a tennis training provided by Kelly Rasero of the USTA. To say it was a “game changer” would be an understatement. We were introduced to not only games and activities, but given ideas and techniques to introduce the sport to students of all ages. The training allowed us to see the game through the eyes of the professionals but also gave us an inside look on what our students would be learning.
We were given specific skill related techniques that would provide the students of all levels a comfort about learning a new sport. From that training, we have integrated tennis into our 2019 curriculum and it has been an absolute homerun. The kids are loving their opportunity to handle the racquets. To watch as they successfully master a technique has been such an incredible concept to witness.
Students that have never seen or even heard of the game of tennis are thoroughly enjoying the lessons and their excitement and willingness to learn has been great for our program. Now that we have introduced the components of the game, we look to expand our introductory lessons in our next school year.
Outside of school, we host an annual event called the Brandywine School District Elementary Fitness Festival, which is now approaching its seventh year in existence. What started as an idea in my physical education office has turned into a whole community event that provides opportunities for all the students in our area. The event will allow all K-5 elementary students from our area to sign up for activities, learn fitness opportunities, engage in play, be introduced to community programs and even learn specific sports related skills and concepts. Tennis has been a mainstay at the annual event and always a crowd favorite. We have taken pride in introducing the game to our community and the feedback from the introduction has been incredible.
The USTA as well as Rodney Street Tennis and Tutoring have representation annually, and they provide the attendees information, opportunities to get involved, equipment, gear, and the chance to learn the game. We have watched and witnessed students over the years pick up a racquet for the first time at our event and later down the road have been informed that those same tiny athletes have made their high school or intramural tennis teams. We are very proud of what we have created and the amount of opportunities our area has to offer for the game of Tennis.
What do your students enjoy the most about competing in tennis?
I think that my students are really enjoying the freedom of playing the game. A lot of activities and games that we play in physical education is cooperative and involving of other students. While my students are great at cooperation, the need for solo activities is evident by how well we integrated the game. Students are enjoying the fun, but also enjoying how much they are improving. To watch a student not be able to hit the ball over our nets and then within a few minutes be able to not only hit over the net — but to now volley — is pretty incredible.
They are taking pride in learning something new and it has been fun to watch how they have evolved in their growth. The specifics that they have enjoyed has been the volleying, the relay races, and concentrating to hit the ball in specific places. To watch them try and hit a target and to see the smile on their face when they finally become successful is pretty unexplainable. These kids have adapted well to the new activity and it has been fun to watch their growth.
What was the house hunters experience like?
House Hunters was an amazing opportunity and a journey into the world of reality television. To document our home buying process and allow not only our community, but our entire country, to come along for the ride was incredible. We viewed the show as a means of sharing our relationship, our marriage, our family, and our story with people that could relate to just a fun-loving, “happily ever after” couple with two really great kids.
Although the days were very long and the process was very tedious, the attention and feedback we have received from the show has been extraordinary. We live in a very small close-knit community and to be recognized throughout our daily endeavors has been fun. Watching the show with our friends and family and sharing in the show with so many people really made us appreciate the amazing people we have in our lives.
All in all it was great, once in a lifetime experience that we will forever be grateful for the selection. We look forward to having the keepsake in our family, and several years down the road looking back at our journey to finding our forever home.