As promised, this blog will keep you updated on Mikayla and Alycia Parks, the 9- and 10-year-old tennis phenoms who relocated from Henry County to South Florida two months ago. I have been in constant contact with their father, who tells me that the girls are enjoying the move. The opportunity to train with some of the nation’s top tennis coaches is truly a dream come true. It didn’t take long for word to get around the tennis camps in that area, and whenever Alycia and Mikayla hit the courts it just seems like other folks drift over to that court to watch them hit the ball. Remember, they started playing tennis in June of 2008, less than two years ago. They have spent a great deal of time with Rodney Harmon, who has led the USTA training center, and has consistently said he has “never seen anything like them before.” Off the court, the girls are continuing to excel with their school work. For those who don’t know, Alycia and Mikayla received their first tennis racquets for bringing home straight “A’s.” They also love riding their scooters, as the warm Florida climate has allowed them to play outside, while we were all bundled up here in Atlanta. One of the most important things about the move to Florida is all of the great players who live and train there. The girls have met and taken pictures with Hall of Famer Chris Evert, whose family runs a training center nearby. They attended professional tournaments at Del Ray Beach and Key Biscayne and were introduced to a number of the players. These are exciting times for the Parks family. It’s a treat to speak with their father, Michael Parks, and hear the pride in his voice. Michael Parks has a right to be proud; he and his wife Erica are raising two girls who have a chance to touch the entire world through their incredible gift. A basketball star in his native North Carolina, Mr. Parks knows a thing or two about athletics–and about who has that special something when it’s time to compete.The thing I hear in his voice is constant amazement. He knew his girls had something special, but is amazed at how they have taken to tennis and their determination to achieve a little bit more each day. He described to me Alycia using the overhead serving motion to hit a ball off of a wall with alternating hands without letting the ball hit the floor–nothing that he had to remind her to do, or even encourage her to do. The Parks sisters look for ways to make the game a challenge and fun, and are the ultimate self-starters.
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