Asks Young's Field courts be fixed as tribute to Payne family

To the Editor:

In 1953, a child of modest means named Arthur Ashe was introduced to tennis on the public courts in Richmond, Virginia.

Perhaps one day, a youngster from New Milford may follow a similar path to success. If so, he or she might have Virginia Payne to thank.

Over the years, hundreds of local tennis players got their start on the public courts at Young's Field under Virginia's tutelage.

Because of her encouragement and infectious enthusiasm, many children discovered a lifelong passion, and plenty of adults rediscovered their love for a sport they hadn't played since they were kids.

Despite the loss of her daughter, Rebecca, in a senseless act of violence in Boston in 2008, Virginia continues teaching tennis at Young's Field.

But every year the tennis courts fall further into disrepair.

The asphalt playing surface, which should have been replaced years ago, is weed-covered and riven with deep cracks (see photo). It's more than an eyesore. It's dangerous.

As an expression of gratitude for all that Virginia has done for New Milford, we would like to suggest the town restore the playing surface on the Young's Field tennis courts and rededicate them to the memory of Rebecca Payne.

Tom and Cece O'Brien

New Milford