Forbes, McCallie named to USTA
Junior Leadership Team
May 1, 2017
Abigail Forbes and Paul McCallie have been named to the second USTA Junior Leadership Team, which recognizes the finest U.S. junior tennis players who exhibit leadership, sportsmanship and character on and off the court.
Forbes and McCallie are among 32 players nationwide named to the USTA Junior Leadership Team. Each player was nominated by his or her USTA section for excellence in tennis and in the community.
“These players truly are role models who exhibit character well beyond their years, both on the tennis court and in the community,” said Bill Mountford, the USTA’s Director of Junior Tournaments. “We’re happy to have a way to give them some of the recognition they truly deserve with the USTA Junior Leadership Team.”
Forbes, 16, a resident of Raleigh, N.C., is one of the top-ranked 18-and-under players in the USTA National Standings, having been ranked in the Top 10 in the nation and the USTA Southern rankings. ADVERTISEMENT She was a singles finalist at last December’s USTA Girls’ 18s Winter National Championships and has won two sportsmanship awards at national USTA tournaments.
McCallie, 18, from Norcross, Ga., is one of the Top 150 recruits nationally in the Class of 2018, according to TennisRecruiting.net. He has been a recipient of the USTA Team Spirit Award at the USTA National Spring Team Championships.
Each year, more than 120,000 players compete in USTA junior tournaments. Players compete in levels of competition through earned advancement in the 10s, 12s, 14s, 16s and 18s age divisions. USTA junior tournaments help kids take their game as far as they want – high school, college or pros – or just have fun competing.
In their own words...
Abigail Forbes: Tennis is my identity. It’s how I describe myself as a person. The drive and hunger to become better than my peers is what keeps me going throughout training and even in tournaments. To me, competing is simply showing your best effort in the best way you can. Sportsmanship shows your level of professionalism both on and off the court. It resembles your character and your personality. This is something very important to me because I am not only representing myself but my family, city, state and country.
Back in September 2015, I went to practice one afternoon, and the beginners were having a clinic when I got there. One of them wasn’t understanding the instruction like the others were, so I asked the coach if I could help out. He said yes, so I went over to the boy and asked him what his name was. He said, “My name is Thavish,” kind of timidly. I introduced myself with a big smile to make sure he was comfortable. He was struggling with the toss on his serve. I told him to think of it as though there is a shelf in front of you, giving him a visual. He tried it, and after a couple of times, he understood and smiled. He said, “Thank you, Coach Abbey,” and it made my day. Seeing him understand the concept and feel accomplished was the best part. I loved every minute of that 15-minute mini-lesson.
Tennis has taught me that every moment in life counts, and there’s no time to waste. It gives me my space, on my time, to think and be myself. Just me on my side of the court. That’s how I know tennis is the sport for me.
Paul McCallie: The years I’ve spent on the court have been pivotal in the creation of who I am. It has given me determination, dexterity, discernment and durability. The abilities I have gained from the hard work and practice have gone hand-in-hand with building friendships. I started formalized training with group tennis lessons in Dubai, when my family lived there. Tennis became more than a sport but a means to develop close friendships with kids from many countries. I continued my tennis development with private lessons in Bangkok and made the junior varsity team when in the fifth grade. Through tennis, I discovered a way to enjoy cross-cultural relationships and those special moments between players. Tennis has been more than just a sports area – it is the place that helped me grow up. It prompted the transformation of a young boy who was uncertain of himself into someone who observes and enjoys all that life has to offer. You grow up quickly when playing No. 1 for a high school team when only in the seventh grade, as I did when living in Minnesota.
The tennis court also taught me the importance of sportsmanship and being a better person, in general. On the court, I put into practice what I have learned from my parents, teachers and mentors. It has improved the quality of my matches. Whether it be bad calls, rude opponents or poor weather, I no longer let these things affect my mood or temperament. I work hard at getting along better with everyone, including the opponent. I try to take the perspective that there is a bigger picture of life than competition on the court. Sportsmanship, though, can take you far in life. Somewhere along the line, I began to realize that success and winning wasn’t what defined me and certainly isn’t what makes one great. I came to terms with this concept once I realized that, at the end of the day, someone will win and someone will lose, and the person who is able to deal with the difficult loss or victory is the person who truly won the battle, which is far more important than the outcome of any match.