If you think Sean Nguyen is special when he’s dominating opponents on tennis courts around the metro area, just wait until you find out what The Examiner’s reigning Tennis Player of the Year does in his free time.
The Blue Springs South High School senior is hosting his second annual Forty Love doubles tennis tournament from noon to 4 p.m., Aug. 11 on the Wilbur Young courts, just north of Blue Springs South High School.
Last year, the first-time event raised $1,500, with the proceeds going to Uplift (www.uplift.org), a homeless outreach program that helps individuals in the metro area.
The cost to enter is $40 per team, with awards going to the first-, second- and third- place teams. There will also be awards for displaying good sportsmanship. T-shirts and water bottles will also be available, with all proceeds going to Uplift.
“When I was 12, I was volunteering at a homeless shelter, and I will never forget this little girl who had this ragged doll. She wanted a new doll, and I wanted to help her so much — but I was just 12,” Nguyen said, in a voice just above a whisper.
“So, when I was 16, I was thinking about a way I could help people. I volunteer at Centerpoint Medical Center, where I work in the emergency room. When you see the looks on individuals’ faces, you just want to do something to help — get them a snack, a cup of water, maybe a blanket if they are cold.
“Then I remembered that little girl from the homeless shelter, and I thought there has to be a way to help homeless people.”
The honor roll student, who hopes to enter the UMKC medical program after he graduates from Blue Springs South in the spring of 2020, also recalled about some of the stories his father told him.
Nguyen’s father escaped from Vietnam during the war years and found his way to the United States.
“My dad was homeless for awhile, and I still think about that little homeless girl, so I talked to some people at Uplift, which is this great organization that helps homeless individuals,” Nguyen said. “They were really excited about the tournament last year, and this year, we want to make it even bigger.”
Nguyen has made a strong effort to recruit tennis players to his tournament.
“I am talking to every coach I know, everyone I know who plays tennis — adults and kids — the club coaches, if you play tennis, you’re going to hear from me,” he said. “And doubles are so much fun.
“So this is a great chance to come out and have some fun and help people who really need help.”
Nguyen stressed that even if you’re not a tennis player, come to the event to make a donation.
“We had a family make a big donation last year,” he said, grinning, “and that was so cool. The more money we raise, the more people we can help.”
The deadline to enter is Aug. 9. For more information contact Nguyen at firstname.lastname@example.org.