The summer sun beats down around me as I stand with my partner on the smooth stone surface. My sunglasses on my head as a makeshift headband, I wait poised like a cheetah ready to strike. The score, “Zero, zero: love all!” is shouted akin to a unique rap and the nearly radiant ball comes soaring toward me. As I wind up to swing, the energy within me is set like a young runner poised to begin her first Olympic relay sprint. The moment before the ball is struck is filled with anticipation and pure adrenaline. The rap of my racket, returning the ball, ripples through the air on a successful hit, challenging our opponents and confirming the beginning of a new and potentially successful point.
The tennis court has been near and dear to my heart since the first moment I stepped onto one in the summer prior to my junior year. Before that moment, I had never anticipated tennis as a sport that would bring me such happiness. I was always somewhat shy and I used to hold back my emotions to the point where I didn’t really know what I wanted. I felt unsuccessful in my soccer career and was unreasonably stressed by the upcoming varsity season. I decided to change my tune and focus my efforts on something different; I needed a new start. I did not know much about tennis, but I decided that it could be that fresh air that I desired. What it became for me was more than I ever thought it could be: a lifelong passion for a sport I now love.
Right from the start, tennis has been such a positive experience for me. Every day I look forward to practice and matches with so much enthusiasm. I love the positive environment that I get to contribute to and the support I give to, and receive from my teammates. So much of tennis is goal-oriented. A player must always be vigilant of her opponent and self-aware of her own positioning and mindset. I always make it my goal to stay positive and focused during matches so that I may improve. The reason I love tennis so much is the chance to do better with each game and the love I feel from my fellow players. If I were to disrespect myself or my partner with a negative outlook, there would be no fun and no chance for improvement.
Tennis has done so much for me. I love that I get to go to practice after school each day during the season and learn more about the game. The lasting effect that it has had on me though, has been my increased confidence and the lifelong friends that I have made through the sport. This is why I feel so comfortable and at home there. I learn more about the game, my teammates, and myself with each practice, and I have fun doing it. Having a healthy hobby that I can continue for the rest of my life is not a bad perk either. With all the love and personal growth that I have experienced during my short time in the tennis program, I am so thankful that I have been given this opportunity. Who could have known that such a spontaneous decision could make such a difference?