My Last Match of the Season

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I have a story to tell. It is a story of overcoming nerves, and being triumphant: triumph born of hard work, determination, and perseverance. It’s Monday, November 3rd. I walk out onto the tennis court to play my last tennis match of the season, the most important match of the season, the Long Island Championship match against Port Washington. I look toward my doubles partner, Allie, and hope that she can’t see me shaking. She looks calm and collected, and I don’t want her to know that I’m nervous. We’re warming up and she turns to look at me and says, “Come on, Sam, we’ve got this!”

I was excited. I got to leave school early to cheer on my teammates. No pressure…that’s what I thought. But soon the bus ride became chaotic. We were playing the same team as last year, and we knew that they were better than us. We didn’t think that singles could win, so we had to rely on doubles. No one on the team knew what to do, but we did know that the lineup needed to change, or we’d lose. I listened to what was going on, but I just sat back and relaxed. All of this didn’t apply to me; I was exhibition. I wasn’t going to play anyway; I didn’t need to stress; until Coach Ski said to me, “Sam, you’re going to play third doubles today with Allie.”

I was nervous and excited. Ski knew that we weren’t going to win at singles; so winning doubles was very crucial. Ski put me for third doubles, a freshman, over all of the upperclassmen. I couldn’t let him down. I needed to win, but they were the best team. At the same time I was also excited because I was going to play. Out of the whole season, I had only played five times before. Ski put me in to play today because he believed in me to win.

When we got to the tennis courts I warmed up with my partner, Allie. I was shaking, and I couldn’t stop. I tried to calm myself by taking deep breaths, but there was nothing I could do to calm my nerves.

I didn’t stop shaking until we won the first set. We won in a tiebreaker, so it was very close. But, I felt more comfortable. Then, in the second set, it was our match point. We were the last people on the court, everyone else was done, and they were all watching us. There was so much pressure. The other girl served to me, and I hit it back. We both just kept hitting it back and forth, terrified to miss. We both wanted that point so much, neither one of us was willing to give it up, until Allie, who is very tall, stepped in at net and smashed one of the girl’s shots. It was amazing, a great way to end the match, and her high school season, because she was a senior. Once she hit that shot, I felt so relieved. A weight was lifted off of my shoulders. We did it. We had succeeded.
When the team piled onto the bus, I was overjoyed. But then I found out that overall, our team had lost 2-5. The only other people from our team who had won were first doubles. The bus ride was quiet. That was our first loss of the season. Our team wasn’t used to losing, and we weren’t sure how to react. I was probably the happiest person on the bus. Even though our team lost overall and Port Washington won for the best team on Long Island, I could still technically say that Allie and I were the best third doubles team on Long Island. But most importantly, I felt victorious because I knew that I had personally stepped up to the occasion, and that’s all that mattered to me. I overcame my nerves, which was the biggest challenge of all. That match was the highlight of my tennis career.





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