KINGSTON, Pa. — The paint on the wall at the TK Tennis Academy isn't even dry. Starting from scratch during a pandemic can be challenging, but for Todd Kane, everything is a lesson.
"You're just taught as a tennis player when things aren't going your way, there's no time to sulk about it," Kane said. "It's like a rocking chair. It'll give you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere. So, I basically just said, 'What can we do to make this better?'"
So Kane moved his new school into the old Wyoming Valley Indoor Tennis Club in Kingston, but this is no after-school program. This is school: cyber school.
"(In the) tennis world, it's just a well-known fact that all the best tennis players are doing it," Kane said. "So, that was my main purpose of buying the club, was to have a place that I could start an academy, a true academy."
A one-stop-shop, for kids truly dedicated to the sport.
"Cyber school, it just enables me to have tennis, my tennis training and my tournaments as my first priority," defending state champion Karissa Ghigiarelli said.
"I get to hit for an hour and a half and then I do school work for two hours," Tristan Vivona added, a few weeks after winning the 12U Boys Level 3 National Championship. "The teaching is incredible. I'm still getting everything done, just like I would in school. So, it's awesome."
"What Todd has created here is incredible for kids that are gifted athletes and incredible students," added Kailey Morris, the Academy's cyber school teacher. "So, to be able to have everything in one spot is the best thing for the kids, for the parents, for everyone."
That system is already working. Kane has 14 kids enrolled. Nine of them are nationally ranked.
"I always thought that more kids should get into it, especially around here because we have so many kids who have done really amazing things in the last few months," Ghigiarelli said.
"You have to work hard in order to be good at something and everyone here is working hard and I'm really happy about that," Vivona added.
"I want my students when they're done, going 'Thank God I did that. Thank God I met him. Thank God I came to that club,' and just look at TK Tennis Academy as just the fondest memories they have of growing up," Kane said.
And once the paint dries, get started on the Wall of Fame.