Aron Pilbart had the time of his life during a two-week California tennis trip.
Pilbart, 10, joined Tennis B.C. as they went to Beverley Hills and San Diego for tournaments in the summer.
The Penticton Tennis Club member soaked up the opportunity of being without his parents.
“When he was offered to go to California, that was his only wish, he wanted to go alone,” said Pilbart’s mother Reka, who had no problems with her son being on his own. “He just hoped another boy would go without his parents. They shared a room.”
“How to be yourself without parents, it was very cool,” said Aron, who never got homesick under the supervision of Tennis B.C. coaches “It was fun being alone.
“I just really liked the independence,” continued Aron, who earned his way to California by being among the top three B.C. players for his age group. “I enjoyed learning to manage money. Do things by myself.”
Aron discovered the weather and beaches were hotter compared to Penticton. The waves were also bigger.
On the court, Aron was exposed to new competition. In Beverley Hills, he won the under-10 singles and U12 doubles event with West Vancouver’s Conor Robertson.
“It was not that high of competition, but it was still high,” he said. “I won it so I was very happy.”
At the Little Mo international held July 2-7 in San Diego, Aron lost in the second round to the top seed and defending champ. Despite losing, Aron said the tournament featured strong players. One of the things he learned was to not give up on plays and to be more consistent. He also learned from playing against international players from 16 countries.
The tournament was named Little Mo after Maureen Connolly, who in 1953, won the grand slam of tennis, the first woman to do that when she captured the Australian Championship, the French Championship, Wimbledon and the U.S. Championship.
“I’m just used to playing all B.C. players,” said Aron.
“When I heard the news I was really excited,” said Aron, who loves Roger Federer because of his playing style. “It just feels nice to be at the top.”
Selected to the Tennis B.C. provincial training program at age nine, Aron dreams of playing on the Association of Tennis Professionals tour.
Aron was able to make the trip with the help of fundraising efforts by the Penticton Tennis Club, the South Okanagan General Hospital in Oliver, special events, silent auctions, 50/50 draw and a raffle from a Kate Kimberley painting. Of the $2,500 it cost for him to go, $2,300 was raised. In a letter to the club with updates on Aron’s trip, the Pilbart’s expressed their thanks to everyone for their support.