Every Wednesday this spring, a couple hours after the final bell echoes through JSerra High’s hallways, the chairs and the rackets come out at the tennis courts.
Keith and Kirk Orahood, twin brothers who’ve coached tennis at JSerra for more than a decade, have come to know the group well. Miles, with the smile. Nellie, the giggly 10-year-old. Gianna, who has a prosthetic leg and is labeled the best athlete in her family.
All have disabilities, impairing their ability to walk. None had played tennis before attending an after-school camp held by the Orahoods. Yet at the end of each half-hour session, they wheel into a circle and hold out their rackets, lifting them to the sky after a chant of “1-2-3, tennis!”
“There’s a little bit of heaven going on on these courts,” Keith Orahood said.
The first step in an initiative to build a multi-sport adaptive athletics program at JSerra, the Orahoods have been running this wheelchair tennis clinic since April 13. The plan, they say, is to turn the school into a “mecca” for adaptive sports in the area.