I look back at tennis as a very memorable and important part of my life. Being on a team is something that everyone should experience at least once; you will not get far in life if you cannot manage to work on a team. Working together to achieve a common goal is an important part of society itself. How would we be able to build hospitals and schools if people didn’t know how to properly work on a team? I’d say the first important step in my path as a tennis player is joining the team in the 10th grade. The second step would be my return to the tennis team the next year with a brand new coach. My last phase is my entrance to college and my attempt to return to tennis after about 3 years of not playing at all. These are very important stages in my life that I will carry on with me for a very long time and the decisions that I have made based on my experiences during them.
I’m known for being a very competitive person and if I recall correctly, it’s what got me into tennis. When I was younger I use to play Mario Tennis a lot with my best friend on the Nintendo 64. I always loved Mario Tennis and it also gave me an interest in actually playing tennis, especially since I had tennis rackets and balls in my house at the time. My mom randomly bought them a few years ago on a whim and we never used them, so I took them. When I joined the tennis team in 10th grade I tried to get my best friend to join. I would have had a lot more fun if he was there and it would take our competition to a whole new level, but when it came time to actually do it he didn’t go through with it. I stuck with it and years later I am very happy that I did. Tennis will give me memories that will last, if not a lifetime, a very long time. Fortunately the team didn’t do cuts so even though I was a beginner I didn’t have to stress over being one because either way I was going to be able to play for the team; I played through the whole season through the very, very, very, very cold weather because of the season starting in March when it isn’t warm yet. Luckily we got a sweater and very warm sweatpants so it wasn’t too bad especially since we were playing tennis which involves a lot of running obviously. It was a very life changing experience I’d say because it gave me thoughts of pursuing the sport professionally, which I still think about today. Thinking of playing tennis for a living is a big reason why I feel that joining the tennis team was a very important part of my path as a tennis player.
When I came back to the tennis team for my 11th year in high school and soon to be 2nd year on the team, I was told we would have a different coach. This is a pretty big deal, and it’s something that I think needs to be experienced to realize the effect it has on you. I spent all that time with my with coach Jackson and now someone new who doesn’t even know my abilities or any of the abilities of the team members is coming out of nowhere. I felt like the new coach underestimated me greatly; I was put behind new players who just joined the team while I was someone who played in the previous year, and had much more experience. There were many factors, but I blame myself because soon enough I wasn’t able to beat either of them in a tennis match. This was very discouraging for someone as competitive as me. I couldn’t beat the two of the new players after they learned to play the game, and they took the 1st and 2nd singles spots. It hit me hard because it’s like saying that I haven’t progressed at all in the time I have spent on the team. I have always been around 1st or 2nd doubles and I stayed there the next year because of that. The 3rd singles is a spot I definitely could have taken though; while I can’t remember the person who had the spot I do know that I could beat them in a match. I wasn’t upset for very long at the fact that 2 new people got the 1st and 2nd singles spots because if I practiced harder and I was able to beat them in matches then I would have taken one of those spots. It was a long and fun tennis season and I made a lot of new friends during the time I spent on the team; I wish it had lasted a lot longer.
I have gone through my past with tennis, but now I’m in the present wondering where I will go with tennis from now on. I have started my first semester in college and ever since the start I have been wondering if there was a tennis team and when they would start recruiting. I asked anyone that I thought would have even the slightest idea about it at all; there was a guy in my class who played baseball so I asked him where the sports teams go for practice. He didn’t know where the teams practiced at; towards the end of February I had finally found a flyer for the team. I was so happy I even took a picture of the flyer so that I could make sure I didn’t forget the date, the time, or the place; so I now realize that the seasons are the same at least between my high school and this college, so it starts in March and most likely will end around the time school ends which is in May. The meeting was on Thursday and the following week on Friday is when tryouts have been placed. During the meeting I realized that there were a lot of people who wanted to play with not many spots open. There are 6 singles spots, which was completely new to me and there are about 2 or 3 doubles spots. Also the players from singles will play doubles sometimes, so this will be a brand new experience to me. This team won nationals last year, so I have to try my absolute hardest to be a part of this team. The person who played 2nd singles on my high school team is even on the team which was an amazing coincidence. I saw him the same day I saw the flyer for the tennis team. It’s almost as if this was fate, we were good friends, but only while we played tennis; We talked for a while as he told me about the team and how fun it was; he was on the team when they won nationals and has a ring to prove it; A really, really, really nice ring which makes me extremely jealous and excited. I would be absolutely ecstatic if I could be play well enough to say that I won nationals for a sport, but I realized that it won’t be easy and there are a lot of obstacles for me to overcome before I can even feel ready for such a feat. After the meeting I had to figure out how I was going to get to the tennis tryouts; the coach said that the team usually practiced at Eisenhower Park, which is hard to get to unless you have a car. So I asked the friend that I knew from my previous tennis team. His name is Donnell, I got his number previously so I texted him in hopes of being able to carpool which was encouraged by the coach. Luckily I live 2 blocks away from him so I met him at his house and we went off to the tryouts; turns out I wasn’t the only one that was getting a ride with him. We picked up 3 other people and because of the bad weather the tryouts were held in a tennis building in Bethpage. After a getting a little lost and a long drive we arrived to the tryouts; staring at this building filled me with delight, tension, and eagerness. I then proceeded down a flight of stairs in the building, and onto the tennis courts for my moment of truth. I had never been in an actual indoor tennis court so I was filled with excitement. The coach started us off with just some light hitting back and forth with 4 people on my court. Sadly I didn’t think I would play as bad as I did; I remembered how to hold my racket, but I couldn’t remember how to hit the ball correctly, and that led to it going out most of the time. I was doing decent against the other players who were new but not very good. All of the veterans who played against me completely demolished me. It wasn’t just my skills but they were getting shots that I doubted they could return and hitting them back extremely fast; it wasn’t much of a problem in high school but I soon realized that my speed was definitely a problem when it came to playing at a college level. The ball was touching my side of the court before I even moved; I felt so useless, but that didn’t stop me from trying my absolute best. In one of my matches I attempted to play at the net which lead to my opponent hitting it very high, also known as a lob. In this case the only solution is to run back as fast as you can and hit the ball back to the other side; I ran back as fast as I could, but it lead to me tripping and falling quite hard. I couldn’t move my foot left or right for maybe a minute or to, but I was still very determined to play. My foot hurt for the rest of the practice, but I fought through it; after losing a set against another newcomer my fate with the team was decided. The coach told me to take tennis 1 and 2 for the next semester because I was lacking when it came to basics. She also said that I could go to camps over the summer time which I plan to do; she mentioned cheap camps for about 35$ a month which is great. I wasn’t let on the team but she gave me a grip for my tennis racket; It goes around the handle of the racket so that you can hold it correctly. I was also given some good advice for hopes of me coming back next year. All I could do was wish the person who beat me good luck and not show the huge disappointment on my face. I don’t want this to be the end of tennis for me at all, but I do realize that if I want to get anywhere I will have to be vast changes to my life to get where I want to be.
During my time in high school I took an interest in tennis, and it became the most memorable moments of my high school career which has carried on with me to college. I haven’t put as much time and effort into it but I think the time for that to change has finally come; I have often felt like nothing in my life has fully motivated me to throw every ounce of my soul into it; but it’s something I want to change about myself, and I think tennis is the one activity that will be able to change that. I have nothing but good hopes for my future as a tennis player and the memories to come.