Final Season...Final Match

January 22, 2009
By Nithin Reddy, Terre Haute, IN

Preparing for the day, I sit there, lacing up my shoes, staying loose, thinking, waiting to walk with poise on to the court and assume my position along side my partner. As the racket spins, I can hear it slicing the air in its circular journey. As the match begins, my palms get sweaty, my heart beats faster, and the adrenaline starts rushing through my body. Bolting and scampering around the court, the rubber and the tape holding my shoes together begin to melt. Love, 15, 30, 40, The momentum swings as we trade points back and forth and as I send a screamer past my opponent over and over again I give him an array of war cries, “COME ON” or a “LETS GO” hoping to inspire my comrades in battle.
At times sacrifices must be made when the ball seems to be traveling in so slow that it drops just inches from the net. I leap, scratching, scaring, tearing up and sacrificing my knees to be able to reach out to this little lemon colored criminal trying to rob me of my tennis love. As time winds down, all things come to an end. I start a motion that I will soon remember forever. It began at a normal speed and then in my mind, I feel everything slow down. As if, life was coming to an end and I was able to take in every aspect of that moment. The sun shined across the courts, my teammates cheering in support, and friends and family of our opponents celebrating their victory all stood out to me as I direct that yellow villain in to the net. A strange feeling moved through my body as a lazily strolled to the net to congratulate the victors on their accomplishment. The red and black racket chucked from my hand like a discus, soared across the court before hitting the ground. I stumbled over to my bag where I crouched and took in all the memories that I would take with me.
After a bittersweet embracement with my closest friend for the past two and a half months, the tears had begun. I sluggishly collected my gear and dragged myself in a direction that I could not bear. As I walked off the courts, a tall husky figure approached me, my second father, my coach. With emotions running high, he embraced me and comforted me as released every last inch of sadness. The feeling was unbearable, unable to speak to anyone around me. I had no heart to make any of the screams I produced earlier. I placed myself against the fence and on the cold concrete ground, crying and crying until things began to rise again. Our fellow brother celebrated as we were able to outlast one of the opponent’s members and although we lost the war, we were able to accept defeat and congratulate the enemy.
We pack up, we prep ourselves for departure, we regroup after a loss, we bring out the sadness within and before we could actually leave the battle site, my beloved coach tries to wash away my unhappiness by emptying a cooler on me. Me and my suspicious I spotted the act and took off running. The wind hit me in the face and I could hear the laughing and cheering, from both the opponents and our team. I ran and ran and ran, until I realized I had been running down to a dead end. I suddenly feel the death grip of four of my teammates attach to different sections of my body. As I struggle, the coach and another one of my brother in arms, douse me with a waterfall of ice and water, washing away any emotion I had earlier and leaving only happiness and joy.
We cleaned up our mess and left the site, we celebrated because no one thought we could make it that far, and what do you know…we did. You could say I was the captain of the team but on the day my high school tennis career ended, I realized that in some eyes I was thought of as a brother, son, and a friend.

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