BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — Blue Springs South High School’s Sean Nguyen was like any other senior that missed out the final season of his high school career.
“Mentally, that feeling of knowing that, ‘Oh, I don’t have that last shot to be with my team,'” Nguyen said. “Some people think it’s just a game, but just playing tennis for a while, especially at that high level, it’s part of your blood.”
He qualified for state last year, but with no opportunity this year, he decided this wouldn’t be the end. Instead, he created his own tournament along with the help of Mason Gates of Staley HS.
After contacting nearly 50 tournament directors, one in Columbia got back to him. He has also contacted state qualifiers in Missouri and hopes to have a 16-player single and doubles tournament. He’s reached half of his allotment and hopes to get more.
“I know that I’m not the only one that’s just wanting a state tournament. And I can’t give the season back to everyone but at least I can give them just a little bit of that silver lining.”
But this isn’t the first tournament Nguyen’s tried to put on. It’s actually his third. He is calling it the Forty Love Tournament.
The tournament serves to raise awareness and proceeds to Uplift, a foundation helping the homeless. He volunteers at homeless shelters; helping them is a cause he’s passionate about even more than tennis because of his father.
“He was captured as a prisoner of war in the Vietnam War and then he escaped and then he fled to the United States, and for about 3 years, he was homeless in KC,” Nguyen said. “I just wanted to use something that I really love, the game of tennis, to benefit.”
Nguyen says there’s still time to sign-up for tournament scheduled for July 31st. You can sign up on Eventbrite.