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Seniority Rules

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My heart raced as i bounded across the tennis court, trying to keep a steady rhythm throughout my body. I reminded myself, left, right, left right, and heard the squeak of my tennis sneakers on the pavement. I was lost, not in the real world anymore. Non-tennis related thoughts rushed through my head, and it seemed as though i pushed them away. All i could think about was the game, the victory, and the reward.
As a mere freshman in high school, i prepared for this moment for weeks on end. I ate, slept, and drank tennis. My whole summer was dedicated to the sport, and nothing but the sport. Movies, visits with friends, and favorite foods were sacrificed for this opportunity, and in the end, i truly believed that i was ready. That first day of tryouts was the one where i realized, that if i wanted this badly enough, i had to give it 110 percent. And with my determination, i was positive that it would be a piece of cake.
My first match flew by. Considering i played someone older, my chances of winning were limited, and yet i ran until i could breathe no more, and waited for what seemed like a lifetime to hear the results of my tryout. She ended up winning, my opponent. But her victory was not easy, and even she, all 105 pounds of her, admitted that she saw good things in my future. So i took her advice, and off i went, not giving it a second thought.
The second match was one that i had looked forward to for very long. I knew who the opponent was, and i had studied the tactics i would use. I was reassured by the entire team that it would be an easy win, and that i shouldn’t be nervous. I approached the opponent, and it was time to begin. Seemingly, my opponent had advanced over night. Her serve went straight into the net, and i gave a small sigh of relief, and prayed for a double fault. Alas, my prayers were not answered, and the second ball flew straight into the service box. The rest of the match went by fast, a whirl of back, forth, thirty, forty. In the end, I experienced my first victory on the high school tennis courts, and looked to the coach's face for his approval. His expression was blank, and i realized that it would take more to impress him.
Match three came along in no time, and i was one of the only freshmen left trying out. All the rest had been eliminated, and i did not want my experience to end so shamefully.
Once again, i looked to the coach's face and saw nothing, and looked to the other coach's face, and saw him grin at me. I thought nothing of it, until the tryouts were over, and i realized that it was not what i had thought. He decided to pair me with a senior, for reasons which were unknown to me. Better yet, he paired me with a senior on varsity, the highest ranking, while i was trying out for the lowest level of junior varsity. By then, my fate had been determined, and i knew that i had no chance. As the final point of the match came along, and the ball sailed past me, and bounced in perfect motion, i knew that it was goodbye, and that i too, was going to be disqualified from the tryouts.
After that match, i was sent home, and told not to come back. I walked slowly down the concrete road leading to my house, lost in my thoughts. I looked down at my new tennis shoes and racquet, both bought just for the occasion, and realized that both items looked as worn and torn as i felt. Looking at the ground, i spotted a pebble, and kicked it with force into the nearest bush. When i got home that day, i collapsed onto my bed, and burst into tears. I lifted my exhausted self up, and glanced into the mirror. In the mirror, i saw that all my previous strength, and all my determination, was gone, as if it had been washed away, and i sighed, and sunk back down into the pillows.
My first day of school came around soon, and i refused to make eye contact with the coach when he walked down the halls. I realized that the whole tryout was a wasted effort, and my last match, a conspiracy to get rid of the last freshman eligible for the team. For a second, the coach's grin flashed through my mind, and i realized, that instead of a kind, reassuring grin, it had been a malicious grin, a sign that i wasn't going to make it. I realized that i wasn't the only upset freshman, and noticed that seniority had won again, granting the seniors and juniors the spots on the team. Every day as i walked past those wretched tennis courts after school, i remembered how much effort i had given, and my sadness at the end. I walked past those tennis courts with my head down, staring at the ground, with my best friends by my side. Those tennis courts haunted me for weeks, and i couldn't even look, afraid that i would begin to cry. But now, looking back at that moment, i realize that i do not regret what i did for tennis, and that in life, there is usually no happy ending. Sometimes, though, there are second chances, which is why next summer, i am determined to come back to those courts, look the coach in the eye, and dominate, to earn my position on the team.





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Meli14 said...
Oct. 1, 2010 at 9:23 pm
Wow i really felt like i was in your shoes. i really did. hope you make the best out of the next time! oh and please rate my work thanks so much.
 
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