It is hard to believe that only 3 months ago I played my last tennis match. I have so many amazing memories from tennis and it is something that I will cherish forever. High school tennis taught me so much about being on a team and about life in general. To my senior mustangs, take this advice and make this year the best one yet. XOXO
1. Coach can be your best friend or worst enemy
My coach is incredible and we have an amazing relationship. Even though we have a great relationship, that doesn’t mean we always get along during matches. I will never forget the time my coach pulled me off the court due to an injury. I was determined to finish the match, but he called a forfeit and made us stop the match. I was furious and would barely talk to him for a week. As I look back now, I realize he wasn't trying to be mean. He was trying to do what was in the best interest of my health and well being. Sometimes it is hard to agree with your coaches decisions, but they do it in the best interest of you and the team. While you might not understand their reasoning or decision in that moment, trust that they are doing it in the interest of you and their team.
2. Don’t take any moment for granted
Looking back, my most memorable moments did not happen on the tennis court. Whether it be late night cheese dip runs at our favorite Mexican restaurant or mini bus karaoke, these are memories that I will always carry with me. It didn’t really matter where we are, my team and I could make any situation fun. My favorite moment with my team over the past 4 years had to be when we qualified for state. It was the first time in our school’s history that the tennis team had qualified and we were over the moon. Every time I think about that memory, it brings a huge smile to my face because I know where ever we all end up and where ever our lives take us we will always be able to share that moment. That being said, take advantage of the years you get to spend on the team. If your team invites you out after the match, GO. I know you might be tired but you will be so glad you went and that you can now have that memory to cherish forever.
3. Your attitude on the court can determine your outcome
I can’t count the number of times that I got frustrated with myself on the court. One shot into the net or a missed overhead would sometimes be all it took for me to get upset with myself and to start questioning my abilities as a player. More often than not, those matches would usually end up as a loss on my end. It is very easy to become upset when you are down a couple games or a set. Remember that every point, every game is a new start. The match is not over until you shake hands with the other opponent and you are in control.
4. Hard work leads to success
Yes. I know this is super cheesy and that you have probably heard it a thousand times, but it is true. When you are on a team, you will usually have one or two star players who are thought to carry the team. While they may have an influence, there is no “I” in team. No matter how many matches they win, they need you to help get the overall win. Just because you are not the star player doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put in your best effort. Regardless of the results, you will have a confidence about yourself knowing you put in everything you had. In the end, when your teammates and coach look back on you, they won’t remember how many games you won, but they will remember your work ethic and the love you had for the game.
5. Say thank you to your biggest fans
Say Thank you to your parents. Your parents have sat in hours of traffic and driven hundreds of miles over your four years to see you play. They have sat in 100 degree heat waves and in sleet and hail to watch you play. They have brought you various pieces of your uniform just minutes before the bus left. They have left work early and skipped many a meeting to be there cheering you on. Say thank you to your coach. Your coach has devoted countless hours to helping you succeed. He or she has spent many a Saturday organizing the lineup or shopping at sports authority for new equipment. They have spent many hours away from their spouse or family to be with you to help you improve your game. They have made numerous phone calls to set up matches or cancel them when the weather doesn’t cooperate. While you have a tough job of playing, these key people also dedicate part of their lives to help you do what you love. Remember to thank them.
If you take away one thing from this letter let it be this, high school goes by very quickly and sports seasons go by even faster. Cherish every moment and enjoy these four years. In the end, you won't remember how many wins or losses you had in a season, but you will remember the memories and friends you made along the way.
A Former High School Tennis Player