On Tuesday, we introduced the first phase of Jake Agna’s ambitious and admirable project in Cuba—resurfacing dilapidated tennis courts at the country’s National Tennis Center.
That phase has been completed, and this week, Tennis Channel is on the ground in Havana to document all that Agna’s team has accomplished so far. All ten of the courts at the National Tennis Center in Havana are complete—and they’re beautiful.
This 10-minute video shows how a court is reborn. It’s an exhaustive and laborious process that takes time, resources and plenty of hard work:
But it is not the only phase of Agna's project. The second phase calls for rebuilding the facilities at the National Tennis Center, which have also suffered from years of neglect:
The phase with the greatest longterm impact, however, is the third and final one: developing an exchange program between kids in the United States and Cuba. Considering what has been already been achieved by Agna’s periodic travels, it stands to reason that a formal exchange program would lead to an even greater sharing of ideas, culture and tennis knowledge, leading to relationships that bridge the gap between Cuba and the United States.
The courts are already in use by hundreds of Cubans, including the kids and coaches Agna met on during his first trip to Havana, and the dozens more he met on multiple return visits to keep this project on track. This work will continue as Jake and his team in the U.S. and Havana develop a sustainable Kids on the Ball program at the National Tennis Center.
The goal is not to create world-class athletes. It’s to engage kids and coaches and reinforce Kids on the Ball (and life) lessons: Show up. Just hit the next ball. It’s OK to miss. Try your best.
Agna needs additional help to see his vision of finalizing this project. Through the efforts of Kids onthe Ball, the Impossible has become possible. You can contribute to the project at kidsontheball.com/donate.