Ned Eames said tennis is a sport that you can play for a lifetime. The CEO of the renowned Tenacity program, Eames was a standout player at Doherty High School when he advanced to the state finals to compete against Tim Mayotte, who went on to become a top-10 professional player in the world.
Eames came to Voke Park Aug. 13 for the Tenacity Summer Tennis and Reading Program’s season-ending awards celebration and luncheon for Chelsea youths who were given the opportunity to learn how to play tennis this summer in the Tenacity program.
Tenacity started in Boston 22 years ago. The program expanded to Worcester before Chelsea became the third community in Massachusetts to be honored with its presence.
“We had a very motivating, energizing, joyful program – tennis and reading – for the kids every morning of the week,” said Eames.
Tenacity, which is a non-profit charity, collaborated on its summer program with the Chelsea Recreation and Cultural Affairs Division which is under the direction of Bea Cravatta.
“Working with Bea has been an absolute delight,” said Eames. “Tenacity really prides itself and loves to work as a public-private partnership. It’s been a joy to partner with Bea and the City of Chelsea to provide this program for Chelsea kids this summer.”
Eames, who played Division 1 college tennis at San Diego State, said he continues to enjoy the sport as a player.
“I’m now in my early 60s and I play 4-5 times a week in the summer and love it,” relates Eames. “Tennis is a sport of a lifetime and that’s one of the beauties of this summer site for the players. They’re getting introduced to a sport that can be a sport for a lifetime.”
Eames grew up in Worcester’s Plumley Village housing project, where he was first introduced to tennis. “Tennis became the activity I really loved as a teenager and helped me navigate those difficult teen years. I know what tennis and other sports and activities can do for young kids.”
Looking back to his state championship match against Mayotte, Eames said, “Not surprisingly, Tim won, 7-5, 6-2.” But in the long run, Chelsea has won by having Tenacity here in the city