Darren Emerick Impacts Nebraska Youth
To honor their 100th anniversary in 2020, the USTA Missouri Valley is recognizing 100 deserving recipients with the Gold Star Award. This award recognizes contributions that recipients have made in growing the game of tennis in their community.
Darren Emerick truly believes that playing tennis translates to solid life skills and a successful mindset. In addition, the mental challenge, fitness and agility make it even more special. Emerick lives in Bridgeport, NE, and is one of the USTA Missouri Valley's Gold Star recipients in Nebraska.
“There is no sport like tennis,” Emerick said. “My philosophy is you don’t play for me, I coach for you.”
Emerick coaches kids of all ages in Bridgeport and is the boys and girls coach at Scottsbluff High School. He loves introducing kids and adults to the sport of tennis, and maintains long-term relationships with them afterward.
“Nothing would make me happier than to see a kid that I introduced to red-ball tennis out on a court with his own kids someday, or even better - coaching a team,” he added. “Mostly I love seeing previously empty courts now being used more often than not.”
Emerick first became interested in tennis as a kid growing up in southern California. There was a country club behind his house, and when tennis balls would come over the fence, he and his brother would throw them back for a quarter. That’s when he asked his parents for lessons.
“Watching them play got me intrigued. I asked my parents for parks and rec lessons because I wanted to be like Bjorn Borg,” Emerick remembered.
When he became semi-retired, that is when he renewed his passion in tennis and was motivated to start coaching. His new passion even took him to Arthur Ashe Kids Day, which is held before the U.S. Open starts. He often brings local kids where they can get a taste of tennis at the highest level.
“I have a lot of amazing memories. I started bringing junior players to the U.S. Open and they would spend a few days in a combination of sight-seeing, stalking the practice courts, and watching pros playing live for their first time.”
When he’s not playing or coaching tennis, Emerick spends time on his organic farm. He grows mixed greens, heirloom tomatoes, artichokes, purple potatoes and much more. He also has animals on the farm like llamas, goats, dogs, barn cats, chickens and turkeys.
In the meantime, his goals for the future are to keep developing players, and hopefully strengthen the relationship between high schools, teaching pros and clubs.
“I have had the same three basic goals since the beginning: Help kids discover and love tennis, grow our local tennis community at every possible level, and to help grow a generation of new coaches and leaders,” he said.
The recipients of the Gold Star Award will receive personal items to keep, a plaque and a special gift. Congratulations to all of the Gold Star Award recipients.
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