LEE, MA - Baseball's loss, it turns out, has been tennis' gain.
Prior to the start of his freshman year at Lee High School, Wilson Chang opted to hang up his glove.
"I decided to stop playing baseball, so I needed something else to do," Chang said. "So, I thought I'd give tennis a try."
That decision began what has become a passion for Chang.
Since he first stepped on the court, Chang became a successful high school player, a member of the Wheelock College tennis team and now, he is giving back to the game as a coach for Lee's 14 and under intermediate Jr. Team Tennis.
"It's a lot of fun coaching the kids, and I'm sure it's going to be something I'll be back doing next year and after that," Chang said during a break in the action at the Western Mass. Jr. Team Tennis State Championships. "I remember what is was like learning the game, so I have the patience to keep it fun for kids who are 5, 6 or 7 years old."
Chang's team had an impressive showing during the regular season, considering the players had very little experience.
"Before this JTT season, we only had one kid - a 7-year-old - who had ever played in an actual match," said the 23-year-old Chang who is pursuing a master's degree in social work at Wheelock. "But, the more they played, the more comfortable they've all become."
Chang was introduced to coaching by a person he considers a mentor, Lee CTA's Bunnie Lahey.
"I did some training and started out as a site supervisor for LEE CTA programs in Stockbridge and Lenox," he said. "I played Jr. Team Tennis, so I thought I'd be able to a good job coaching it."
Chang would like to see more young people involved in coaching.
"I think that high school kids would are ideally suitable to teach some of the younger kids, and I think that (high school kids) would really get a lot out of it," Chang said.