Raymond Dawes, originally from Jamaica, West Indies, didn’t indulge in any sports at an early age. But later on when he came to the United States he tried some activities.
When Raymond was seven years of age, he and his family moved to St. Albans, New York. He took up football and played on the junior varsity team for two years at Andrew Jackson High School.
“Since I didn’t have the size (at the time) to continue football, I gave it up,” he remembered.
Now Raymond doesn’t remember that much about life and sports down in Jamaica. “It (the weather) was warm,” he recently said.
He let sports belong to his son, Walter Dawes, who took up tennis. The ‘tennis’ school here in Queens for him was Cardozo, located in Bayside. And now Walter’s goal is to help to lead Cardozo to the Public Schools Athletic League championship and then the playoff one.
Over the years, Cardozo produced numerous championships.
Walter is playing second doubles. He recently teamed with a less experienced freshman in Jun Yuminbja to capture the second doubles match of the season opener, 10-2, over Townsend Harris.
Dawes, whose both parents come from Jamaica, is, somewhat new to the sport. Raymond introduced Walter to many different sports when the latter was at a young age. The sport of tennis seemed to be a lot of work but fun.
“During middle school school-public school – Intermediate School 124 – I tried to find a sport to play,” he recalled after his doubles match at the indoor courts of the Cunningham Park Tennis Center. “One day I was driving by and saw (some) tennis courts. I tried that out.
“When I found a ‘knack’ for it, I caught on a little bit quickly. I entered into tennis programs and basically worked my way up. When I got to Cardozo High School, I wanted to be on the team and focus my tennis on improvement. Now I’m in my fourth year on the team, starting and playing second doubles. I can also play singles but I prefer doubles.”
“Tennis is something that Walter got me into,” noted his father, “I tried all the other sports with him. He didn’t really want to play them. We introduced him to tennis and he has been playing it ever since.”
He went to Cardozo because it has been and still is a good school, individually and has al the top teams, including basketball. He learned a lot under Coach Howie Arons. “He works with our teammates and makes sure we are hitting the shots that we should be.
“My baseline game is the best part of my game,” Walte added. “I have a good forehand and I enjoy volleying a lot but still I’m working on my (total) game.
Walter who lives with his parents is fortunate to have both parents as classroom teachers at Cardozo High School.
The student athlete, and resident of South Ozone Park, used to participate in USTA (United States Tennis Association sanctioned) tournaments but dropped it for a while, because he had trouble finding a doubles partner and he wasn’t doing that well in singles tournaments. He still is a member of Youth and Tennis, Inc., a private organization, in Queens, and is a member of the New York Junior Tennis League, as well.
“Being a member of these organizations is the best way of playing tennis without paying a lot for it,” Raymond said. “We’re finishing up with them, for he’ll be 18 and be graduating from high school.
He is concentrating on doubles at Cardozo and on academics. He wants to further his academics and tennis in college. The senior is looking at State University of New York at New Paltz. Now he has to make some decisions about the next level.
“It all takes teamwork and focus to win the PSAL title,” he summed up. “With determination and a lot of talent we should be able to go all the way.”.
“His coach (Arons) is great, for he’s doing a nice job, trying to keep him working, progressing and making recommendations,” added Raymond.