MAST meets Miami Open

With the anticipated start of spring comes an exciting time for tennis lovers: the Miami Open.
Previously known as the Sony Ericsson, the Miami Open attracts over 300,000 spectators and tennis enthusiasts every year ,as well as many professional players from around the globe.
This exciting tennis competition has undergone a variety of changes over the years but the one thing that has stayed the same is the nationally recognized ball person program that takes place at the tournament every year during spring break.
Due to the tournament’ s close proximity to MAST Academy, many of the school’s students participate in the ball person program and it is no surprise why.
Not only do participating students earn a minimum of 60 community service hours for working the tournament, but they also receive an impressive uniform sponsored by Lacoste that consists of a jacket, two shirts, two pants (or skirts for girls), two pairs of socks, and a pair of tennis shoes which they get to keep after the event.
They also receive a tournament credential which they can use any day of the event.
However, in order to get these perks, one must be willing to work extremely hard and give up a few Saturdays to train for the tournament.
A few weeks before the tournament there is a meeting in which all people looking to participate must attend. After that, they must also attend three more meetings to qualify for the position.
“It was the most rigorous experience of my life…presenting the balls to the players was difficult and so was enduring the screams from trainers,” sophomore and first year ball person Danielle Peraza said of working at the Miami Open.
Being a ball person takes skill and patience but if you work hard enough and push yourself you will earn an unforgettable experience and some pretty cool gear.
It truly pays off to participate in the ball person program for an extended period of time, as proven by sophomore Sevann Bignon’s experiences.
This year was Bignon’s third year participating in the ball person program and he does not plan on stopping anytime soon.
“It was a better experience this year because I got better courts and got to enjoy the games more without the worry of messing up,” Bignon said, who got to meet famous players such as Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and others.
Veterans receive better courts where more prestigious players compete and require less training time than first year volunteers.
“I only had to go to one training because I am a veteran but first and second year volunteers have to go to four training sessions,” Bignon said.
All in all, the ball person program takes a large amount of hard work but is an incredible and fulfilling experience that MAST students should try.
“It’s definitely an unforgettable experience and I will apply again next year,” Peraza said.

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