The Cantine Family – Larry and Loretta, along with sons Kevin, Greg and Scott- have been named a United States Tennis Association (USTA) Local Hero.
The Cantines were one of just 17 heros selected out of the hundreds of thousands of people in the United States involved with the USTA.”The family’s tireless work revolving around tennis in the Milbank community has helped promote, develop and grow the game of tennis where it counts the most – at the grassroots,” stated USTA representative Tamarah Strauss.
Larry’s love for the sport of tennis began in elementary school. “When I was in fifth grade, the classroom in my school was on the third floor of the school house. I would look out the window and watch the upperclassmen in their all white uniforms practice tennis. That’s when the game of tennis sparked my interest.” His first racket currently hangs in his store, Valley Office Products, on Main Street in Milbank.
Larry can still be seen playing tennis on Cantine Courts, which is named after his family. “Tennis is an enjoyable sport that anyone can play until they are quite old. I enjoy every sport, but tennis has always been special to Loretta and me and our family.”
When Larry and his sons are not on the tennis court, they are watching the big name tournaments on television. “We enjoy watching the Wimbledon, French Open and US Open. My favorite players to watch are Roger Federer, James Blake and Serena Williams. Those top players don’t just get to the top by luck, they have worked hard at their game and pushed through the pressure to succeed.”
Last summer, the family organized the first-ever Level 8 tournament and USTA Play Day to introduce juniors to the sport. Their son, Kevin, ran the summer program aimed at kids ages 12-16, teaching them the fundamentals of tennis. Kevin is the president of the Milbank Area Community Tennis Association (MACTA) after taking over from his father, Larry, who ran the association for 40 years.
“The family fundraises year-round to keep tennis vibrant and top-of-mind in the community. They support the high school teams, junior team tennis, camps and the list goes on and on,” said Strauss.
The family was named the Northern United States Tennis Association’s 2015 Family of the Year. “We do whatever we can to promote the sport for the Milbank community,” stated Larry.