I Dream a Dream
My life depended on this moment. This very moment, this little second in time, would predict my future from here on out. I squeezed my eyes tight and prayed with all my might that I would get this point.
“C’mon,” I said to myself, “You can do this! C’mon!” I knew that tennis was eighty-two percent mental. If you didn’t have a good head you didn’t have anything. I knew very well that my head was probably the reason I was standing here today in the finals of the French Open.
I was one of the only people to make the finals of a Grand Slam on a wild card and didn’t want my good fortune to end now. What would be the point of making it this far and ending it now? The ball boy handed me a ball and walked to base line. Bouncing the ball four times, I moved my feet a little and served the ball. I was hoping it would be an ace. It would have been a great way to end the match.
“Not just any match,” I reminded myself, “THE FRENCH OPEN!”
I sadly didn’t get an ace though; it was a good serve, one that put my opponent off balance, but not an ace. I split stepped and went back to the center. She hit a weak shot to my forehand and I hit a down the line shot to her backhand. My head was empty. I was completely in the zone. It was just me and the ball. She hit a good shot to my backhand this time and I went around it to hit a fore hand. She hit to my backhand, not my better shot, but it was right in my sweet spot so I had time to hit a screaming ball down the line to her forehand- that she couldn’t get…..I won. The words rang in my head like I loud bell.
My ears were filled with the screams of joy from the fans; they were always a fan of the underdog, which I very much was.
“The winner of the 2016 French Open, Tegan Savage!” The announcer screamed with glee. I smiled bigger than I thought physically possible as I walked up to my opponent to shake her hand. My opponent was Chrissie McHan who was number one in the world. That thought hit me like a ton of bricks and I became even more ecstatic than I was a moment ago. The emotions I was feeling were amazing. I was high on happiness and success and delight and-it was incredible! I fell on the clay court, like all Grand Slam champions do and wondered if this all a dream. If it was, I didn’t want to wake up.
It was all a dream. Every single breath taking moment was a dream. I closed my eyes and willed myself to go back to Dream Land where everything seemed to be possible. Turning on my stomach so my face was on my pillow, I groaned. It wasn’t very often that you got to experience winning the French Open, but it also wasn’t very often that you woke up after receiving the trophy. I thought about the dream I had the night before. It wasn’t about tennis, but about something just as magical. Skiing. In my dream, I had gotten a gold medal in the Olympics. Of course, before I could even say my speech my dear ten year old brother Colby woke me up. His reason? Because he had to go to soccer practice and he thought his shirt was put in my draw by accident. It turned out that it was in his draw and he just couldn’t find it. Thanks a lot Colby. With that thought I closed my eyes and started to slowly go back to sleep.
“Tegan…” a voice said. I groaned.
“Go ay,” I said, my voice muffled from the pillow.
“You have to get up Tegan, you have school,” The voice of my dad said. I pulled the covers over head. My breathing was limited, but at least he got the idea that today I was in no mood to experience learning. Figuring I would get up sooner or later, my dad walked away to go wake up Colby, my seven year old sister Lola…and my mom. I heard screaming coming from the next room which meant that my four year old brother Jake was awake. Then, screaming turned into barking which meant Jake was chasing my dog Cooper. Realizing I was going to get next no sleep, I took out my iPod. I was so involved in re watching the latest Glee episode, I didn’t even realize my dad had walked in until I looked up and saw him staring me.
“Ahhh!” I screamed, “Oh my god! At least tell me you’re in here. I’m pretty sure I had a tiny heart attack!”
“Did you download that off iTunes?” He asked looking at the paused Glee episode.
“No?” I lied. He shook his head. I already went way over my limit when it came to down loading stuff off of iTunes and T.V shows weren’t exactly cheep.
“Just get up. Don’t you have a test today?”
“Don’t you have to take it?”
“Why do you think I don’t want to get up?”
“Tegan,” he said sternly.
“Ok, ok, I’m up!” I threw the covers off of me walked downstairs to eat breakfast. I wasn’t that excited about going to school today. I was extremely tired, probably because I stayed up until 12:00 am writing a story, and I kind of blew off studying for my Spanish test. I was just so into the story I was writing. I want to be an author when I’m older. My plan is to go pro in either skiing or tennis and then write about the adventures that come with being a professional athlete. Of course, I would still write about other things besides sports, mostly fiction and fantasy.
“Tegan!!” Someone shouted, drawing me out of my day dream.
“What?” I said. Colby ran up to me and jumped in front of me holding a piece of poster board. His fourth grade class had to do an assignment on who their hero was and Colby chose me. My siblings and I were all three years apart, which made me, the oldest, and Jake, the youngest, nine years apart but besides the age difference we all got along really well. I was really flattered though when Colby chose me as his hero. Colby shoved the poster board in my face.
“Look!” he said smiling, “I got a 98 on my hero project!” I smiled at him and ruffled his dirty blond hair, even though I knew he hated that. My siblings and I had one thing in common when it came to looks: our dad’s big eyes that changed colors from blue to green to grey depending on what we wore or our moods. My mom was blond with green eyes and my dad had curly black hair. I was a brunette, Jake had dark hair like my dad, but straight instead of curly, Lola had blond hair like my mom, but curly like my dad. As I had said before, Colby had straight dirty blond hair.
“Don’t ruffle my hair!” Colby snapped. I laughed.
“Whatever,” I said, “But I know why you got such a great grade on your project.”
“Because you did it on such an amazingly accomplished person!”
“Right,” Colby said sarcastically, “Anyway, mom wants you, she said something about her beating Jill in a tennis tournament. Good Luck.” I wasn’t in any mood to listen to her go on about her tennis match, so I ate, got dressed, brushed my teeth, put my contacts on and then went to my parent’s room leaving my mom only about two minutes to explain her tennis match.
“Tegan,” she said happily when I walked in to her room. She was brushing her hair in front of the mirror while Jake was watching a rerun of Barney on her bed with Cooper on his lap.
“What’s up?” I asked.
“You are never going to guess what happened,” she gushed, “So I was playing a set with Jill when Gary came on the court. I was down 3-0, but just seeing Gary pumped me up, you know?”
I was suddenly really into this conversation. Talking about tennis was something me and my mom always did together. My whole family skied and played tennis but my mom and I were the most into it. Gary was the head of our tennis club and was an incredible coach, but he rarely came on the court.
“Yeah,” I said, nodding, “whenever he comes on the court I get pumped upped too. Like one time I was playing a match against Elle when-”
“Yeah tell me later,” she said cutting me off, “let’s talk about my match!
“So, as I was saying, I was down 3-0 when Gary came on the court. I got really pumped up and all of a sudden every shot I hit was a winner! Jill could barely get any of my shots!”
“That’s awesome mom,” I said. I looked at the clock on the T.V. It read 8:10.
“Mom,” mom I said, “I’m going to be late…”
“Ok, ok, wait didn’t even get to the best part!” I rolled my eyes and nodded my head to continue. She went on to talk about how she won that set 6-3 and won the second set 6-2. When she finished the story she looked at the clock and gasped.
“Tegan, you’re going to be late!” she said. I rolled my eyes and laughed.
“Really?” I said, “I didn’t know.” She practically pushed me out the door and into the car without another word.
We ended up leaving at 8:23 because Lola couldn’t find her backpack. For me, it was a pretty normal morning. Before I got out of the car, I heard Colby shout about how he would be at the Middle School next year like it was a good thing. Let him keep thinking that. I walked into the school just as first period began. I walked into the classroom, handed my teacher my late pass and sat down next to my friend Sarah. She smirked at me and I rolled my eyes.
“Why were you late?” She whispered. I shrugged.
“Do you really want to know?” I asked. She shook her head vigorously and shuddered.
“What goes on in your in your house in the morning is something the public should not have to witness.”
“Sarah, Tegan, is there something you would like to share with the class?” our math teacher, Mrs. Rogans said. I groaned. Mrs. Rogans wasn’t the type of teacher that was going to try to be best friends with her students. She had favorites, and unfortunately math wasn’t my subject, so naturally she decided that I didn’t try and I didn’t want to be here. Her new life goal was to make my life miserable. Isn’t she a sweetheart? I smiled sweetly and shook my head.
“I was just asking Sarah what she got for question seven on the homework. I didn’t really get that one.” Sarah nodded her head going along with me and showed Mrs. Rogans her homework.
“I got 1 ½, is that what you got T?” she asked.
“Yeah,” I said, “Thanks Sar.” Mrs. Rogans mumbled something under her breath then turned to me with stony eyes.
“Did you even do your homework, Tegan?” she asked.
“I did!” I said defending myself.
“I’m sure you did,” Mrs. Rogans said sarcastically. I huffed and listened to Mrs. Rogans explain the importance of the circumference of a circle. Yeah, like I’ll need that in life.
The school day went on to be pretty normal. I got caught chewing gum in third period, my friend Tami and I accidently blew up a cookie in the microwave during lunch, and then my friend Emma and I broke into song about the Constitution during eighth period. Welcome to my life. After school I had tennis for 2 ½ hours. I usually didn’t get to hang out with my friends because of tennis, and during the winters skiing also conflicted, but I didn’t really mind. I was dedicated and that was the price I had to pay.
“Hi Grandma,” I said into my cell phone as I walked out of the school.
“Hi Tegan, do you need me to pick you up?” she asked.
“No, I’ll just walk to your house if your home. I have tennis at five thirty so you can help me with my math homework until then. We’re doing fractions. Ugh.” My grandma laughed.
“Your favorite thing,” she said sarcastically, “ok, you can just walk to my house. I’m at home.”
“Ok! See ya,” I said. My grandmother used to be a teacher so she usually helped with my math and trust me; I needed a lot of help. I started walking to my Grandma’s house, thinking about tennis. I had a tennis match in couple of weeks and I really needed to do well. Gary was looking to see which players he could move to the better group during the summer and I had my heart set on being one of those players.
I walked into my grandma’s house and immediately started my homework. The thing was that if I didn’t finish my homework I wasn’t allowed to go to tennis, which for me was like taking away air.
“Hey, Te,” my aunt Linda said as she walked in the room. My grandma lived with my aunt, uncle, and older cousin. My aunt Linda was an amazing cook unlike my mom.
“Hi Lin,” I said, “Is grandma here?”
“Yeah, she’s in her room, I’ll get her.” My aunt left and I went back to doing my Social Studies homework. I was still thinking about tennis the whole time though. I had a weird feeling about my lesson today and when I had weird feelings they were usually right.
“SAVAGE! WHY ARE YOU LATE?” my coach, Esteban, bellowed. I squeezed my eyes shut and sighed.
“Sorry, Esteban. I was leaving for tennis on time but when I opened the door my dog ran outside. He wouldn’t go back in so it kind of took a while…” I explained. I heard my friends Izzy, Elle and Jordan start laughing hysterically. They were used to my ridiculous excuses by now, of course they didn’t hear them a lot because I was hardly ever late, but when I was I had some overly exciting excuse. Like one time around Christmas my mom was putting up our tree when it fell on her. It was a huge ordeal and I ended up being fifteen minutes late for tennis. Esteban sighed.
“Just go warm up with Philly,” he said. I nodded and started to warm up with him. Philly was only ten years old but he was pretty good. We had some pretty good matches, but I usually won.
“Tegan,” I heard my friend Jordan whisper from the court next to mine. She was a short sixth grader with long red hair and freckles splattered across her face. She was probably one of my best friends from my tennis group.
“Yeah,” I whispered back. She looked at me hesitantly, like she wasn’t sure whether she wanted to tell me or not. She took a deep breath and sighed.
“Gary was here,” she said, “he left right before you showed up. He said something about you, Elle, and John to Coach Santos. I think you guys are moving up to the House of Tennis in the summer.”
My jaw dropped. The House of Tennis? Me? No way. The House of Tennis was like tennis royalty at our club. You had to be really good to be there. Of course, my group was only two groups below them, but still, if you got moved to the Field House it was a big honor. Why me though? I wasn’t complaining of course. I was just kind of shocked. I had been busting my butt to try to get there for the past the past seven months. This was kind of like a dream come true. V6The Field House was actually our tennis coach’s house. It had several acres. People as famous as Chef Boyardee rented houses on his property. There were four tennis courts; one hard indoor, one red clay, one hard outdoor, and one green clay. There was an indoor pool, an outdoor pool and two fitness rooms. So, as you can probably see, going to the House of Tennis was like going to heaven.
“Are you serious?” I asked. She shrugged.
“That’s what I thought he said, but I could be wrong,” she paused, “Now that I think about it I usually am wrong. So, maybe you shouldn’t listen to me.” I shrugged and looked around at our group. We were the B Group or as I had began to call it, the B Plus Group. Our group had started out as Izzy, Elle, a boy Andrew who hardly ever talks, and me. Then Jordan moved to our group. After that, John and Philly moved up. Then came Greg, Jenny, and Emma. Emma and Jenny were two twins who didn’t even look related. They seemed more like best friends than sisters. Soon after they came, the A group started practicing in our group. According to my coach Owen, a lot of the kids in our group were catching up to them and it just made sense to combine the groups. They were still the A Group though and we were still the B Group. In my eyes though, we were better than B… more like B Plus. Our little village of four had expanded to an entire city and if that wasn’t enough three more people decided to join. They were Sophie and two brothers named Cameron and Darien. I would be lying if I said that Cameron and Darien weren’t insanely good looking. So, you can imagine how surprised I was when I, out of all of these people, was chosen to play at the Field House. I was snapped out of my thoughts when Santos yelled for everyone to pick up the balls. After we picked them up, we went over to Santos and he put everyone in there groups.
“Izzy, Jordan, Elle, and…Tegan. You guys are on court number five with Coach Leo,” he said. Jordan smiled at me and smiled back. We always ended up together. I was usually pretty focused on tennis but it was always fun hitting with Jordan.
“Ugh, I’m hitting with Tegan…again,” Izzy said. She looked at me and laughed, “JK Te! You know I love you!” I laughed along with her but it didn’t really seem like she was joking. I mean, I knew she was, but she and Elle have been acting like they were literally the Queens of the Court, especially Elle. Izzy had always had a somewhat sarcastic and sometimes annoying domineer, so it didn’t bother me as much when she taunted me. Elle and I however had a confusing friendship to begin with. We were the best friends off the court, but once we were in a match it was war. We were the best ones in the group so we were always fighting for the spotlight. We didn’t mind it though, tennis was a battle and during a match all friendships were put on hold. That was until Elle started becoming a so called ‘tennis brat.’ She started getting cocky on the court and even her dad had started bragging about her game. She was having tons of private lessons and her dad was signing her up for millions of tournaments. Gary and Santos had started paying extra special attention to her game and it didn’t take a genius to figure out that she was practically drowning in all of the exceptional tips she was getting from them. So, Elle and I had a somewhat silent battle raging on and off the court. We didn’t say it out loud, but we both wanted to be the best and the only thing standing in the way of that happening was each other. Even I’ll admit it though. Elle was winning the battle and so far, at least in my eyes, it seemed like she was cheating.
After we practiced for about an hour, our group played tie breakers up to ten. Of course, with my luck, I was playing Elle. I was serving first. I bounced the ball four times and served. Net. I bounced my ball and served again. Out. I sighed and moved to the other side of the court. Elle was now serving. She served the ball and it landed in the middle of the service box. Elle didn’t have the strongest of all serves so I put her ball away easily. One all. Elle served again and this time her serve was a little harder. I hit a deep shot back to her and she hit a shot to my backhand. I got set up and hit a cross court shot to her forehand. She hit a short ball back and I went to the net. I volleyed a ball to her forehand, but by this point I had her struggling in the middle of the court, so she had no choice but to come to net. She sent a lob to my backhand and I didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t really sure if it was going to land in the alley but I didn’t really want to take the chance. I stuck my racquet up and hit a back hand over head. The ball went right past her. Yes! I won the next three points with ease and truthfully I had never been more in the zone. Elle was missing my shots and I won the more exhilarating points. I had never seen Elle more frazzled. She looked like she was going to give up, something she rarely did. She looked at her dad with an exasperated expression and threw her hands up in the air. I looked up at her dad. He was looking at Elle like he wanted to go onto the court himself and pound some court sense into her. I smiled. The fact that Elle was frustrated was extremely encouraging. I took a deep breath. I only needed five more points to win…I could do this. To say that I was anxious would be an understatement. I usually never wanted a match to end. Whether I was winning 6-0 or losing 0-6, I always wanted to continue playing. But this match was different. I really wanted to win, more than anything in the entire world. But, I was just so nervous that I wanted it to be over. I calmed myself down and walked to the base line to get ready for the next serve. She served and I hit a shot to her back hand. She missed easily and I couldn’t help but think that maybe, just maybe, things would go my way for once. How wrong I was.
I won. The God of Tennis finally decided to be nice to me and I won. I tried to prevent a smile from spreading across my face but I couldn’t help it. I walked up to the net, shook Elle’s hand and smiled.
“You won last time we played, right?” I asked her. She nodded and smiled slightly, but to me it looked more like a grimace.
“I guess we always go back and forth,” I said, “You’ll win next time…I guess.” Elle nodded and started picking up balls.
“Yeah,” I thought to myself, “we go back forth, but every time we do the matches are always close. It’s never 10-3!”
I had never felt so accomplished as I did at that moment. I should’ve savored that moment because that would be the last time I felt that way in a long time, of course, I didn’t know that.