US Open Dreams
Realized for "Dream Court" Kids
USTA Adaptive Tennis Committee | October 1, 2019
Dream Court, a program out of Montgomery, Ala., has served adaptive tennis sessions every spring, summer and fall since 2013.
Utilizing over 500 volunteers to serve more than 150 athletes on a tennis journey that began with simple ball contact, these athletes are now able to travel to out-of-state tournaments--and this summer brought their biggest travel opportunity yet.
Dream Court was selected by the USTA to showcase their skills at the US Open on Ashe Stadium during the Round of 16 on Sunday, Sept. 1, and they also were invited to participate in two coin-toss ceremonies with the biggest names in tennis: Roger Federer and David Goffin, and Serena Williams and Petra Martic.
“When I got the invitation email, I closed the computer saying, ‘It’s the most expensive city in the world, and it will be impossible to transport, lodge, and feed everybody there,’ but a small voice kept telling me I shouldn’t close the door," said Dream Court founder, Jessica Weyreuter.ADVERTISEMENT
"I personally love to travel, have a passion for tennis, and I strive for inclusion, but sharing this experience with my delegation and the world was what ultimately made this experience meaningful to me."
And so the fundraising began with the 24x3 Challenge: 24 tennis lessons were taught in 24 hours to raise money for 24 athletes.
From noon on Friday to noon on Saturday, individuals and groups from the community came out in record numbers to support this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Dream Court participants. Full sponsorships, lemonade stands, empty piggy banks. $20 here, $1 there. Every dime mattered.
The official delegation was 18 athletes, 12 volunteers, 18 parents, and two coaches. In addition, 19 fans and family members traveled and lodged separately to be part of the experience, which included a 25-hour bus ride and accommodations at the LaGuardia Plaza Hotel.
Stacey Moseley, mother to participating athlete Christian, said: “The athletes not only had the opportunity to explore a very different part of the country as a team, but were also afforded the opportunity to show the world their specialties and unique athletic abilities. A once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
You can't go to New York City without enjoying the sights and sounds of the city, right? That's exactly what the Dream Courters did. The day started off on a double-decker bus tour, followed by lunch at Central Park, and then the cherry on top for dessert: seeing the Broadway play, Aladdin, everyone’s favorite.
Weyreuter summarized: "Experiencing the energy-filled atmosphere of New York and share the US Open with my Dream Court family was beyond anything I had ever dreamed or imagined.”