Ten years of tennis with Mr. Heinrich


Kamille Jefferson, Staff Writer

Even though Brentwood High School has been around for more than 100 years (the school was founded in 1920!), this spring marks only the tenth year that Brentwood has had a tennis team. As the story goes, back in 2013, a group of juniors requested to start a tennis team. It was actually Mrs. Smoller’s son, Alex, who was the one to start the team along with his friend Noah Lee. “We talked to Ayotte about the budget, equipment, and where we could practice,” Alex said.

Dr. Ayotte remembers the process of adding the sport not being difficult. “You get feedback from the community then once you have enough interest, we look into being able to add something like tennis.” Adding sports and more programming is a part of his job as athletic directory that he really enjoys.  “I like seeing kids do what they want to do.”

“The hardest part of the process was having our first practices at McGrath, Alex Smoller added. “Afterward, Dr. Ayotte had to find tennis courts and reserve them for the team.”

After Alex and Noah had the foundations to start a team, they still needed a coach, and since Mr. Heinrich already had a history of coaching the sport, he stepped up to take on organizing the team. He had experience playing tennis plus he had already been a coach before; he had coached basketball and cross country at Oakville Middle School. This is how we have our tennis team today! 

Mr. Heinrich started playing tennis when he was thirteen. He continued to play the sport and was on the tennis team during his junior and senior years of high school. Mr. Heinrich believes that tennis is a great sport because it challenges you athletically in many different ways such as needing good hand-to-eye coordination as well as being in good shape to move laterally and vertically. In Mr. Heinrich’s opinion, it’s an easy sport to learn.

Interested in joining the team?

If you’ve never played tennis before you should play and try something new. Each season, the tennis team has around 20 to 24 players. For the goals of this upcoming season, Heinrich said, ¨The goal is not to win, but instead that every student and player improves at the end of the season and each game. Of course, we always want to be over .500.¨ 

Mr. Heinrich preparing to play tennis.

It’s Mr. Heinrich’s no-pressure attitude and the relaxing environment he has created which continues to attract new players every year. Junior Will Schuering is playing tennis for his second season this year. He started playing because he saw it as a laid-back sport and wanted to hang out with other friends. Schuering says he is excited to see more incoming players and make new friends.

Mr. Heinrich agrees – his favorite part about tennis is seeing how the players evolve and grow as they get older. He says to any new upcoming tennis players, ¨Comes with an open mind, a new attitude, and have fun!¨ Rohan Dixit is an incoming tennis player and has had no experience with the sport. He wanted to try something new and has done baseball for 2 ½ years. “Stick with the team, give it your best, and have fun! Dixit said.

 His attitude towards the game is to play to have fun and he thinks Tennis is a fun game. He is most excited about being with friends and spending more time with Mr. Heinrich. He wants to meet new people and end the year off strong with a fun experience. 

To anyone that is currently playing tennis or thinking about joining right now, Mr. Heinrich hopes one thing. “I hope they enjoy the game of tennis and become lifelong players.” He added, ¨You´re not gonna be playing football when you’re 50 years of age, but you can play tennis when you are 70 or 80 years of age!¨