Palmetto High School junior Danny Trainor recently returned from the Florida state tennis championship where he cheered on his teammates who had qualified for the tournament. Trainor was an alternate this year since he was seeded second in both singles and doubles.
“The boys went up there as individuals and the girls went as a team,” Trainor says. “As an individual, you have to win your district. To get there as a team you have to win the regional.”
While he would have preferred playing in the tournament, Trainor says he still enjoyed the weekend watching his friends play.
“It’s really impressive to watch some of those guys,” he says.
Next year, the Palmetto boys may be good enough to return to the championship tournament as a team. Trainor says the team has the potential to be competitive, especially since they will not lose anyone through graduation.
“I can move up if I train hard enough this summer,” he says.
“I have to win enough matches when the trials come. We’re all friends and teammates, so there’s no pressure.”
Trainor is just getting back into the groove of the sport he played as a child. In middle school, he dropped tennis for basketball. In fact, he even played junior varsity basketball as a freshman at Palmetto and then switched back to tennis when he entered the 10th grade.
“I started fairly early; I had a racket in my hand when I was three,” he says. “I started playing seriously when I was eight.”
When he returned to tennis, he trained for a while and then entered tournaments outside of school. He says he had mixed results, mainly because playing tennis and keeping up with his rigorous academic schedule wasn’t easy.
“I think I won one tournament and got to the finals of another one,” he says.
Trainor says it’s hard to compete in tournaments during the school year because the traveling is so time consuming.
“It’s hard to study and be a crazy tournament player at the same time,” Trainor says.
However, he hopes to get back into tournament play this summer. He also hopes to play tennis in college, preferably at a school with good academics and a good tennis team. “I haven’t contacted any coaches yet, but I’ll work at that this summer,” he says. “I’m thinking about maybe being a walk-on player, maybe at an Ivy League school. I’m thinking about a Division III school and Brown is my favorite.”
Before college, he has another summer of tennis play and of volunteering with inner city kids at Miami’s Moore Park.
“My coach (Don Petrine) was giving lessons there and I asked if I could join him and run clinics,” Trainor says. “For about eight weeks, I went to the park two or three times a week. I plan on continuing that program this summer.”
Trainor says he worked with a small group of children 10-14 years old who were attending summer camp at Moore Park.
“They all were very enthusiastic about tennis,” he says. “For some of them, tennis wasn’t their main sport, but a couple of them could be tournament players.”
At Palmetto High, Trainor is in Mu Alpha Theta, the math honor society. He has competed in a couple of math competitions this year and, while he did not qualify as a finalist, he had fun participating.
“Once I get into college, I think I’m going to be a math major,” he says. “I also like physics.”
By the time Trainor gets to college, his life may be a bit more settled. He and his family have been living in temporary quarters while decisions are made in the aftermath of a fire that destroyed the family home more than a year ago.
By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld