All Good Things Come To An End
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All Good Things Come To An End

It's been one hell of a ride.

12
All Good Things Come To An End
Hilary Walters-West's Photos

Today, my seventeen-and-a-half year tennis career came to an end. I am now a retired college athlete. After tons of junior tournaments, multiple coaches, two Zonals appearances, three years of high school tennis, four years of college tennis, two Big Sky Tournament appearances and 107 wins, my career is officially over. I am still letting that sink in.

I’ve reflected a lot about this journey over the past few months. It’s been a year full of highs, lows, and in-betweens. I have had both amazing wins and heartbreaking losses, but most importantly, I’ve had a lot of personal growth.

Tennis isn’t like many other sports. Sure, it’s physical, it’s challenging, and it’s competitive. But because it is a truly individual sport, it is a sport that defines and molds the people that play it. I hated tennis for most of my life. I genuinely felt like being a tennis player had taken up my whole life and had taken over my whole identity. I wanted to be my own person and live my own life, instead of being defined by a sport. But now that my tennis career is over, I feel like that identity is one of the best parts of who I am.

No matter how many trials and tribulations tennis threw at me, I didn't walk away. I'm not a quitter and I wasn't going to be defeated. Tennis taught me that I was better than that. I wasn't going to let anyone or anything get the best of me. The sport taught me about perseverance, confidence, fight, character, accountability and responsibility. It is because of this sport, the experiences from this sport, and the people I met through this sport, that I have molded into the person I am today. Four years of college tennis was no easy feat, but if I had to do it all over again, I would.

Thank you to my parents for giving me the opportunity to play. You funded an opportunity and worked so hard to provide the best life for Olivia and I. We got more than we could have ever asked for. You both supported and encouraged me all the way and always wanted the absolute best for me.

Thank you, Chad, for always going the extra mile for me. You always stayed on the court longer than you had to during our lessons and invested your energy into helping me be the best I could be. You always made me feel confident about my abilities and have been there for me throughout college whenever I needed you.

Thank you, Brenda, for giving me the chance to play college tennis. It’s been a ride full of ups and downs but this year was amazing for so many reasons. I’m glad we improved our relationship and ended on this note and I am proud that you trusted me to lead this team.

Thank you, Mandy, for always believing in me. I played some of my best matches with you on the court. You were always there to encourage me and still are. I have missed you these past two years but thank you for continually cheering me on at our matches.

Thank you, Brandon, for coaching me during my matches this year. I know you always wanted the best for me and wanted to see me succeed. You helped me in many of my matches this year.

Thank you to my team. Marissa, you and I have continued to grow closer over the years and I love bond we share. From our love of food, our constant laughter, our honestly and our singing, I am so grateful for you. Anna, you are my little sister and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you. You hold a special place in my heart and are truly a wonderful person with so many things to offer the world. Beth, you are my fighting sister on the court. I get so pumped up when I hear you shouting “C’mon.” You have so much talent – never doubt yourself. Remi, you are my sassy twin and I hope you carry it on after I leave. I see so much strength in you and I genuinely wish we had more years together. Courtney, you and I ended with an amazing weekend of doubles and I am so happy I got to play with you. I looked up to your ability in doubles and you motivated me to be better. I am proud of the person you are and always will be. Lily, where do I begin? From the beginning of the semester, I have loved your spunk and ability to laugh at yourself. I love the looks we give each other and that we are almost always on the same page about things. I’m also glad you confided in me when you needed someone. Lea, keep doing you, girl. I love that game of yours and your confident mentality. Continue to work hard and the rest will take care of itself.

Jeff, since senior year you have been my rock. God truly put you into my life for a reason at the right time because I couldn’t have done college without you (or Ranger) by my side. I'm happiest when I am with you and I am so glad we did college together!

It's been a hell of a ride. I couldn't have done it without you all, and I wouldn't have wanted to!


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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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