The Opponent This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   He sauntered onto the court with graceful arrogance. His Vuarnet sunglasses shielded his eyes so I could not read his true emotions. His racket gleamed in the sunlight. It was a turbo Wimbledon FX2 light-weight pro-athlete racket, the kind I'd always wanted. The fierce sun beat down on my head and I felt beads of sweat emerging from the pores of my skin. My opponent looked very calm and sweatless. I took a deep breath - this was it - win or die. I was to serve first. My heart pounding loudly, I grasped a ball with my trembling fingers and threw it into the air. Thwack. Into the net. Thwock! Out of the court. Great, a double fault. Nice way to start the game.

I took another deep breath and began to feel woozy. I glanced over and saw my opponent smirking. My heart sinking, I said a silent prayer and picked up another ball. I hit it ... into the net. Darn! The score was Love-30 and my opponent hadn't even touched the ball. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my opponent twirling his racket nonchalantly. He looked like the Clint Eastwood of tennis. I might as well forget about winning this game, I thought. I'll never beat this guy. I decided to serve a lob and get it over with. Boing! The ball shot into the air and seemed to hang in the sky for eternity. It finally sailed over to the other side and - yes, it actually landed in his court! I got ready to cringe, waiting for the 90 mile-an-hour ace return I was sure would follow. Now this is the part that will forever be etched in my brain: it was an easy return shot - the ball was heading straight toward his racket - but to my surprise and delight - he missed the ball completely! My opponent's facade crumbled and I was now facing a vulnerable wimp instead of a formidable Ben Hur. This time I picked up my ball with confidence and followed through with an ace. With not much effort I creamed my opponent with a final score of 6-1. The moral: Don't judge a tennis player by his racket. He may be a wimp. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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