This June 22nd, 2018, a very special day will be celebrated here at the Sánchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona. A fresh new group of students will graduate, after 12 intense academic years, and it will be time for them to face the next stage in their lives. It is both a happy and a sad day as we say goodbye to people who have become part of our family.
In a few months, Laura López, who started tennis training in the after-school program ten years ago, will achieve her dream of attending Boston College to play college level tennis while working towards a university degree. We had time to talk to her and hear her story; a story that she is happy to share with our current student-athletes, and anyone out there who might have the same dreams.
ASC player Ramkumar Ramanathan is one to watch at the Miami Open 2018. Last year the Indian player jumped 143 spots in the Singles ranking and is now ranked world N135. Also, worth mentioning is his victory over world N6 Dominic Thiem at the Antalya Open in June 2017 (where he reached the quarterfinals), his first main draw qualification of a Masters 1000 tournament at Cincinnati Masters in August 2017, or his role as a N1 player at the India Davis Cup Team. However, the 23-year old player is now facing one of his long time aspired career goals: to compete in the Miami Open.
I have two teenage kids who play sports. Both of them compete in the sport they chose, both of them study languages and, of course, as an absolute priority, both of them go to school and attend to their academic obligations. All of these activities will reap their benefits, not only now, but also in their future, and I am convinced that it is the best training at all levels that I can provide for them. However, it can be tough for them to keep up, as they often do not have time for anything else, and sometimes I wonder if it is all too much.
If I had to choose a metaphor for the university placement process, it would be a puzzle. Over the course of high school and a junior tennis career, many pieces fit together finally resulting in a complete picture.
Many students’ lives today are filled with technology which gives them infinite access to information and resources, enabling them to pursue their interests in their own way and at their own pace. The opportunities are limitless.
Everything that happens has a reason: some people call it ‘destiny’, others ‘energy’, some people call it ‘luck’, and others, ‘bad luck’. I think I’m fortunate to live life how I choose. I carry with me my principles and values, and I am that way partly thanks to my parents, thanks to the education they provided me, some key people that became role models in my life but mainly thanks to tennis, which shaped my character and made me resilient to adversity.
Sánchez-Casal Academy is more than a high-performance center; it’s a place full of stories and dreams. It is the starting point for young tennis players and students who dream of a brighter future ahead.
The education of our young athletes goes beyond just sports technique. Having good values is equally as important, so we must teach respect, cooperation, self-discipline, and humility, among others. Teachers, coaches and, above all, parents have a great responsibility to provide this education in values.
It’s August. 6am in the morning in Naples, Florida. Alarms start to go off in the players’ dorms. Sleepy faces emerge, excited about starting a new day of their new life at the Academy. There’s lots of emotions, worries and news… They are also excited about this new stage of their lives. A stage which, for almost every athlete at the Sanchez-Casal Academy, is hugely influential on their development as a person.