Tennis added to Western Branch movie night

Published 8:43 pm Monday, September 21, 2015

Children join a conga line around an inflatable pirate ship at a previous Chesapeake Parks and Recreation “Movies and More” event. This Saturday’s event will include tennis led by two people with connections to Suffolk.

Children join a conga line around an inflatable pirate ship at a previous Chesapeake Parks and Recreation “Movies and More” event. This Saturday’s event will include tennis led by two people with connections to Suffolk.

Tennis is the newest addition to Chesapeake Parks and Recreation’s “Movies and More” series, with the next event taking place on Sept. 26.

“It’s great exercise, it’s great character building,” said Thomas Anderson III, coach of the Western Branch High School boys’ tennis team. “I’ve never cut a player, and I don’t plan to.”

Anderson will be on hand at the Movies and More event this Saturday to facilitate the games, along with Jan Talian, the director of tennis at Cedar Point Country Club.

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Seven years ago, Anderson was asked to coach the Western Branch team. Many of his players are honor students, and they are well disciplined, he said. Along with a number of other achievements, the team reached the state semifinals a couple of years ago.

At one point, Anderson even got professional tennis player Mats Wilander to come play tennis with the kids on his team while he was in the area, he said.

“I was a tennis player myself, as a kid,” Anderson said. Throughout his childhood, he traveled to Virginia Beach for tennis lessons. His children play tennis, too, and he has seen the benefits of the game in his own children, he said. The United States Tennis Association named Anderson’s family “Tennis Family of the Year” in the Mid-Atlantic region, he said.

Now, he said, there are more, higher quality lessons being taught closer to the area. At the event, there will be information regarding local tennis lessons and clinics the children can get involved with should they find they enjoy the game, Anderson said.

Tennis and the “tennis-themed activities” are open to children ages 5 to 14 at the event. Participants can play using the provided balls and rackets.

Along with tennis, the event will hold a showing of the film “Despicable Me 2.” The minion-themed evening will also include face painting, a DJ, an inflatable maze, photo opportunities with a life-sized minion, and a separate play area for kids ages 3 and under, said Monica Christiansen of Chesapeake Parks and Recreation.

This is the first time this event will be held at Western Branch Park, located in Chesapeake at 4437 Portsmouth Blvd. The event will be held from 5 to 10 p.m., and tennis will be available from 5 to 7 p.m.